Here are two dozen tales in the grand adventure of engineering from the Henry Petroski, who has been called America’s poet laureate of technology. Pushing the Limits celebrates some of the largest things we have created–bridges, dams, buildings--and provides a startling new vision of engineering’s past, its present, and its future. Along the way it highlights our greatest successes, like London’s Tower Bridge; our most ambitious projects, like China’s Three Gorges Dam; our most embarrassing moments, like the wobbly Millennium Bridge in London; and our greatest failures, like the collapse of the twin towers on September 11. Throughout, Petroski provides fascinating and provocative insights into the world of technology with his trademark erudition and enthusiasm for the subject.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of Technology eBook: Pushing the Limits|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
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|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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|Parent title||Pushing the Limits|
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Pushing the Limits
Art in Iron and Steel
Works of engineering and technology are sometimes viewed as the antitheses of art and humanity. Think of the connotations of assembly lines, robots, and computers. Any positive values there might be in such creations of the mind and human industry can be overwhelmed by the associated negative images of repetitive, stressful, and threatened jobs. Such images fuel the arguments of critics of technology even as they may drive powerful cars and use the Internet to protest what they see as the artless and dehumanizing aspects of living in an industrialized and digitized society. At the same time, landmark megastructures such as the Brooklyn and Golden Gate bridges are almost universally hailed as majestic human achievements as well as great engineering monuments that have come to embody the spirits of their respective cities. The relationship between art and engineering has seldom been easy or consistent.
Arguably, the assembly-line process associated with Henry Ford made workers tools of the system, but Ford also wanted to produce automobiles that were affordable to working people, and he paid his own workers sufficiently well that they could save to buy the cars they made. The human worker may have appeared to be but a cog in the wheel of industry, yet photographers could reveal the beauty of line and composition in a worker doing something as common as using a wrench to turn a bolt. When Ford's enormous River Rouge plant opened in 1927 to produce the Model A, the painter/photographer Charles Sheeler was chosen to photograph it. The world's largest car factory captured the imagination of Sheeler, who described it as the most thrilling s