Wondrous Contrivances: Technology at the Threshold
By Merritt Ierley
Clarkson Potter, 2002
320 pages, $21
With technological advances seemingly coming daily, perspective is hard to come by. So it's worthwhile to look at how other technological deviceseverything from the typewriter to televisionwere introduced into, and received by, American society. Historian Ierley does a good job putting each invention into context, with what preceded it and what it replaced. For instance, although we think of the copying machine as a 20th century invention, primitive versions were in place since the 1800sand the early ads for the machines are fascinating.