This book caught my eye with its unusual title: One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw. I have never really thought about screws. Not unless I need one!
Read more after the jump!
So here's some interesting information on page 56:
Firing an arquebus was tricky. After loading the gun by the muzzle, the gunner had to balance the heavy weapon with one hand while holding a smoldering match to the touchhole or firing pan with the other. Even when a forked rest or tripod was used, it was difficult to aim properly. In addition, bringing one's hand close to the priming powder was dangerous since there was always the risk of a premature explosion. Groups of arquebusiers waving burning matches while pouring gunpowder on their priming pans were likely to cause as much damage to themselves as the enemy.
I'm not exactly sure what an arquebus has to do with a screw, but I am sure there is a fascinating connection. I actually won this book at a recent Christmas party! Here's a quick summary:
The Best Tool of the Millennium The seeds of Rybczynski's elegant and illuminating new book were sown by The New York Times, whose editors asked him to write an essay identifying "the best tool of the millennium." An award-winning author who once built a house using only hand tools, Rybczynski has intimate knowledge of the toolbox -- both its contents and its history -- which serves him beautifully on his quest.
One Good Turn is a story starring Archimedes, who invented the water screw and introduced the helix, and Leonardo, who sketched a machine for carving wood screws. It is a story of mechanical discovery and genius that takes readers from ancient Greece to car design in the age of American industry.
Rybczynski writes an ode to the screw, without which there would be no telescope, no microscope -- in short, no enlightenment science. One of our finest cultural and architectural historians, Rybczynski renders a graceful, original, and engaging portrait of the tool that changed the course of civilization.
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