Edison’s Concrete Piano highlights the careers of famous inventors — revealing the lesser-known and most fascinating facts about their careers, their wackier hobbies, and especially their big flops and great successes. Take Thomas Edison for example, who revolutionized our world with the light bulb, the phonograph, and the forerunner to the movie camera. He also created a concrete piano, a non-operational helicopter made from box kites and piano wire, and a machine to speak to the dead. Edison was not the only one to engineer a complete flop now and again; in fact, failure amid greatness is the norm — not the exception.
Did you know that Henry Ford followed his Model T success with a tractor that was famous for killing its customers? Ever heard of a flying tank? Can you imagine why physics genius Albert Einstein created a refrigerator that howled like a banshee? Or what Nikola Tesla was thinking when he tested his earthquake machine — in crowded Manhattan? And how did Alexander Graham Bell, after inventing the phone, pass the time on his sheep farm in Nova Scotia?
From whole scale improvements, like the assembly line, to robots made from paint cans, Edison’s Concrete Piano covers it all. Written snapshots of inventors through the ages to the current day are accompanied by photographs and illustrations of their lives and their inventions. Read about Edison, Tesla, DaVinci, Fuller, and Alexander Graham Bell, alongside the inventors you’ve never considered — the people who are dreaming up many of the products you’ll use every day.
From Alexander Graham Bell’s six-nippled sheep to Leonardo da Vinci’s walk-on-water shoes, these ludicrous ideas and faulty designs will leave you with a smile on your face, and a new perspective on the meaning of success.
Judy Wearing is an award-winning educator and author with a PhD in biology from Oxford University. She works as a science education consultant and develops activities and books for children. This is her first popular science book. She lives in Newburgh, Ontario.
Published: October 2009
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.
"This book sparkles with heaps of ideas, some plain bonkers, others, like the car, more pedestrian. . . . this book is fun and full of quirks . . . a fine yarn."— The Waikato Times
"The popular science is fun and easily accessible, and there's more to the inventors experiments than the title can contain."— Los Angeles Times