My comrade John at Pencil Revolution has posted a review of Henry Petroski’s "The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance":
"The text is extremely engaging, even though we non-engineers might
be tempted to be wary of reading a book about engineering. In my own
field (philosophy), I can certainly spot a boring book. But take my word for it: this is an exciting book
for anyone who uses, likes or admires pencils. Far from being boring,
it reads like an epic novel, with the protagonist and hero being the
pencil, with other heroes that help the pencil along the way.
While it seems that pencils are simple objects at first glance, Professor Petroski shows that they are anything but simple,
as he details the technological advances and engineering geniuses who
have brought us our wooden warrior. Do you know why, for instance, Incense Cedar
is the preferred wood for making quality pencils? Do you know what
people used for erasers prior to rubber ones? Or just how long it took
for sharpeners (as we know them) to appear on the scene? If you give The Pencil a good read, you will know all this and more.."