The Roots of Progress

The Heroic Age of American Invention

L. Sprague de Camp

A survey of major inventions in the US from the 1830s until World War I, telling the stories of the inventors and what they created. Covers many famous stories such as Edison, Goodyear, Bell, and the Wright brothers, as well as less well-known ones such as Christopher Sholes (the typewriter), Elihu Thompson (electrical transformer), and Samuel Langley (a pioneer of flight before the Wrights).

I’ve only skimmed this book so far but I’d like to go back and read it through at some point.

Relevant posts: How early American inventors funded their ventures

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