An encyclopedia of how keys, scissors, pianos, telescopes, self-winding watches, and hundreds of other things work


It’s charming to see the floppy disk drive as an example, but today’s youth might not even know what that is. Are there other pages with things that the kids of today would recognize?

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In my day, we had eight-inch floppies, five-and-a-quarter-inch minifloppies, and three-and-a-half-inch microfloppies. And we had to walk to the computer center to use them. Ten miles! In the snow! Uphill! Both ways! And we loved it!

(In before my fellow crotchety old guy starts in with the IBM 029 keypunch machine.)

I love David Macaulay. I was delighted to learn that he’s working on a book about the S.S. United States. Through an accident of history, the Big U has for some years been moored in my home town (though it should really be on display in New York City, which was always its home port). It is almost certainly not here to say, but it’s an honored guest. We enjoy its visit while it lasts, and certainly wish the best of luck to the conservancy that is trying to save this historic ship (the flagship of the U.S. passenger fleet and the fastest ocean liner that was ever built, and likely ever will be) from the scrappers.

…and in after cassette-tape storage!

We need an updated version!

I had the original book as a kid, and I blame it partly for losing the years 2004-2008 to do a PhD. Books like that should have a warning on them.

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