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Doubleday chronicles the history of everyday inventions that form the foundation of technology now common through the world. While some of the inventions are no longer used, each example shows how inventors contributed to technology through perseverance, inspiration and clever observations. In each chapter, he gives a clear, understandable background of the technology.Many of the now outdated inventions may have inspired later inventions by meeting emerging demands. For example, Edison's filament bulb is now being phased out by more efficient CFL's, but Edison's contribution to indoor lighting likewise removed the need for inefficient gas-burning lamps. While trains for carrying mail and freight have largely been replaced by more nimble semi trailers, one example shows how technology can translate from ground to air travel. Trains with curved pipes that scooped water to refill reservoirs could be controlled from the train engine-cab without stopping, and mirrors the in-flight refueling systems that keep aircraft flying without the need to land. Although computers have replaced typewriters, word processing programs and web browsers justify text with similar algorithms.
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