Power, Speed, and Form: Engineers and the Making of the Twentieth Century

Princeton University Press
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Power, Speed, and Form is the first accessible account of the engineering behind eight breakthrough innovations that transformed American life from 1876 to 1939--the telephone, electric power, oil refining, the automobile, the airplane, radio, the long-span steel bridge, and building with reinforced concrete. Beginning with Thomas Edison's system to generate and distribute electric power, the authors explain the Bell telephone, the oil refining processes of William Burton and Eugene Houdry, Henry Ford's Model T car and the response by General Motors, the Wright brothers' airplane, radio innovations from Marconi to Armstrong, Othmar Ammann's George Washington Bridge, the reinforced concrete structures of John Eastwood and Anton Tedesko, and in the 1930s, the Chrysler Airflow car and the Douglas DC-3 airplane.

These innovations used simple numerical ideas, which the Billingtons integrate with short narrative accounts of each breakthrough--a unique and effective way to introduce engineering and how engineers think. The book shows how the best engineering exemplifies efficiency, economy and, where possible, elegance. With Power, Speed, and Form, educators, first-year engineering students, liberal arts students, and general readers now have, for the first time in one volume, an accessible and readable history of engineering achievements that were vital to America's development and that are still the foundations of modern life.

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About the author

David P. Billington is Gordon Y. S. Wu Professor of Engineering at Princeton University. His books include The Innovators; Robert Maillart: Designer, Builder, Artist; and The Tower and the Bridge (Princeton). David P. Billington Jr. holds a Ph.D. in modern history from the University of Texas and is an independent scholar.
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Additional Information

Princeton University Press
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Published on
Aug 7, 2013
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Science / General
Science / History
Technology & Engineering / Engineering (General)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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"This is teaching at its best!"

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In den USA lï¿1⁄2ngst zum Klassiker avanciert, erscheint "The Tower and the Bridge" nun endlich in deutscher ï¿1⁄2bersetzung. In seinem Geleitwort zur deutschen Ausgabe schreibt Jï¿1⁄2rg Schlaich: "Dieses Buch ist 'Pflichtlektï¿1⁄2re' und Hochgenuss fï¿1⁄2r den 'Ingenieurbaukï¿1⁄2nstler', bei dessen Bauten der Zusammenhang von Form und Kraftfluss ablesbar ist und die sich durch die Ideale Effizienz, Wirtschaftlichkeit und Eleganz auszeichnen."
Billington begrï¿1⁄2ndet in diesem Buch die neue, eigenstï¿1⁄2ndige Kunstform Ingenieurbau (Structural Art), die er als gleichberechtigt neben der Architektur stehend proklamiert. Nicht zufï¿1⁄2llig nennt der Titel die klassischen Domï¿1⁄2nen des Bauingenieurs, wobei sich Billington auf die epochalen Bauwerke Eiffelturm und Brooklyn Bridge bezieht.
Billington stellt in leicht lesbarem Stil und auf unterhaltsame Weise die Ideale, Prinzipien und Methoden der Kunst des Ingenieurbaus in ihrer historischen Entwicklung anhand der Bauwerke herausragender Ingenieure (z. B. Telford, Maillart, Freyssinet, Menn) dar.
Mit der Etablierung des Ingenieurbaus als Kunstform und der Explikation der inhï¿1⁄2renten Prinzipien gibt Billington dem Leser gut begrï¿1⁄2ndete Argumente fï¿1⁄2r eine ï¿1⁄2sthetische Diskussion im Bereich der Ingenieurbauwerke an die Hand. Damit wird gleichzeitig eine Grundlage fï¿1⁄2r die Kritik zur neuen Kunst geschaffen: die schon lange geforderte Konstruktionskritik. So hat dieses zeitlose Buch das Potenzial, der Debatte um Baukultur und insbesondere um gestalterische Aspekte im Ingenieurbau im deutschsprachigen Raum neue Impulse zu verleihen.
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