Cover image for House of invention : the secret life of everyday products
House of invention : the secret life of everyday products
Lindsay, David, 1957-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Lyons Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xi, 179 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
T19 .L56 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
T19 .L56 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Freelance writer Lindsay shares stories from the history of invention. Proceeding room-by-room (from bathroom to garage), he emphasizes the personalities responsible for 21 everyday objects--from Madame C.J. Walker's hair straightener to breakfast cereal (a result of Kellogg sibling rivalry) to the invention alleged to have been devised by the mythical Dr. Condom. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Talk about a book with all the right attributes! Lindsay not only recounts the improbable origins of many most-used gadgets but also expounds on the occasionally wacky, always interesting individuals who came up with inventions so marvelous that they became ubiquitous. He glides over some details, such as the sequence of events that led Clarence Birdseye to invent fast freezing and ultimately give America the TV dinner. But the range of inventors and products Lindsay sketches compensate for such historical breeziness. Many readers will be familiar with how the Kellogg brothers of Battle Creek (as the jingle went) perfected breakfast cereal, but fewer are likely to know the success story of Madame C. J. Walker, who started with hair straightener and eventually became the wealthy purveyor of beauty products for African Americans and both "the first black woman to earn more than a million dollars" and "the first woman millionaire, period." Other profiled inventions, along with their makers, include the pencil, the blender, Vaseline, and Muzak. --Mike Tribby

Table of Contents

Introduction: Ghosts in the Housep. 1
1 The Bathroom
The Disposable Razorp. 9
Vaselinep. 17
Hair Straightenerp. 23
2 The Kitchen
Frozen Foodp. 31
The Blenderp. 39
Breakfast Cerealp. 45
3 The Foyer
The Intercomp. 57
Bank Notesp. 63
Locks and Keysp. 71
4 The Office
Muzakp. 83
The Pencilp. 93
The Electrical Outletp. 99
5 The Garage
The Intermittent Windshield Wiperp. 111
The Standard Screw Threadp. 117
The Flat-Bottomed Paper Bagp. 125
6 The Family Room
Televisionp. 133
The Exercise Machinep. 143
Solitairep. 149
7 The Bedroom
The Brassierep. 157
Shatterproof Glassesp. 163
The Condomp. 171
Suggested Readingp. 177