Nuts and Bolts

Seven Small Inventions That Changed the World in a Big Way

English language

Published May 19, 2023 by Norton & Company, Incorporated, W. W..

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4 stars (1 review)

A structural engineer examines the seven most basic building blocks of engineering that have shaped the modern world.

Some of humanity's mightiest engineering achievements are small in scale—and, without them, the complex machinery on which our modern world runs would not exist. In Nuts and Bolts, structural engineer Roma Agrawal examines seven of these extraordinary elements: the nail, the wheel, the spring, the magnet, the lens, the string, and the pump.

Tracing the evolution from Egyptian nails to modern skyscrapers, and Neanderthal string to musical instruments, Agrawal shows us how even our most sophisticated items are built on the foundations of these ancient and fundamental breakthroughs. She explores an array of intricate technologies—dishwashers, spacesuits, microscopes, suspension bridges, breast pumps—making surprising connections, explaining how they work, and using her own hand-drawn illustrations to bring complex principles to life.

Alongside deeply personal experiences, she recounts the stories of remarkable—and often uncredited—scientists, engineers, …

4 editions

A look at seven common items and how they changed the world

4 stars

An interesting book about seven items we often see in the modern world: the nail, wheel, spring, magnet, lens, string and pump.

Each chapter in the book looks at one of the items, covering their history, variations on the item, how they were used and what they are used for nowadays, from everyday items to some of the largest structures in the world. The author also puts in some personal anecdotes on making and using the items and some social commentary on how the inventions have been put to use for creating empires and subjugating others, showing that how the inventions are used brings benefits and drawbacks to the world at large.

This is a book to read if you have an interest in engineering and how nuts and bolts (and other items) are used in various way.