Inventing the 19th Century: 100 Inventions that Shaped the Victorian Age from Aspirin to the Zeppelin

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NYU Press, 2001 - History - 218 pages
2 Reviews

Dishwashers, electric light bulbs, gramophones, motion picture cameras, radios, roller skates, typewriters. While these inventions seem to speak of the 20th century, they all in fact date from the 19th century.

The Victorian age (1837-1901) was a period of enormous technological progress in communications, transport, and many other areas of life. Illustrated by the original patent drawings from The British Library's extensive collection, this attractive book chronicles the history of the one hundred most important, innovative, and memorable inventions of the 19th century. The vivid picture of the Victorian age unfolds as inventions from the ground-breaking—such as aspirin, dynamite, and the telephone—to the everyday—like blue jeans and tiddlywinks—are revealed decade by decade. Together they provide a vivid picture of Victorian life.

This follow-up volume to Stephen van Dulken’s acclaimed Inventing the 20th Century will be compelling reading to anyone interested in inventors and the “age of machines.” From the cash register to the safety pin, from the machine gun to the pocket protector, and from lawn tennis to the light bulb, Inventing the 19th Century is a fascinating, illustrative window into the Victorian Age.


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As a student working on a large project, this book is somewhat of a godsend. I found this piece incredibly informative as well as fun to read. The stories behind each invention were masterfully researched and pieced together, and I learned something - that I didn't forget right away - on each page. 

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

The author, Stephen Van Dulken, has republished without reference or acknowledgment or prior approval of our substantial research regarding the origins and history of tiddlywinks performed in many prior years by me and Fred Shapiro. He has used our research without any reference or attribution. Our research has been published, with copyrights, on since 1997, and in printed materials before then, also copyrighted, Steve Van Dulken has inappropriately used our copyrighted research in this book without approval or attribution. His use of these materials in this book is not approved or accepted and is in violation of our copyrighted materials. 

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About the author (2001)

The author of Inventing the 20th Century: 100 Inventions that Shaped the World and American Inventions: A History of Curious, Extraordinary, and Just Plain Useful Patents (both available through NYU Press), Stephen Van Dulken is an expert curator in the Patents Information Service of The British Library.

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