Who Invented What When - David Ellyard

Who Invented What When

Inventions are the stuff of dreams, quickly gaining widespread use, becoming central to our culture, and changing our lives.

Combining curious and colourful anecdotes with intricate research, Who Invented What When introduces you to the technologies, inventions and innovations that have changed our lives in the last 500 years.

Arranged chronologically, the book places key inventions and inventors in a context of time, place and circumstances. You meet the people involved, discover their ingenuity and share, their triumphs and tragedies.

With encyclopedic breadth, the book follows a diverse list of inventions, from the earliest to the most current, whilst also revealing how some of the greatest inventions came about by accident or chance. Often overlooked inventors are discussed; controversies regarding attribution are exposed and explored.

While many inventors, perhaps most, gained reward from their 'inspiration plus perspiration' in terms of money or recognition (Joseph Glidden, the inventor of barbed wire, was one of the richest men in America), some were cheated, a few died in poverty and obscurity.

It is fascinating to think about how people saw the world before much of modern science existed. More fascinating still is the inability of humans to foresee what amazing inventions and discoveries are yet to occur.

This concise and consistently organized book tells us a great deal about man's restless quest for laws, theories, and tools to master this universe.

You will want to keep this book as a permanent reference for yourself and for your children at home and as a thought provoking professional tool at your work place.


David Ellyard has been a researcher, teacher and policy adviser and, for more than 30 years, a science communicator working in radio, television and print. He is currently Treasurer of the Australian Science Communicators. His previous publication include the price-winning biography of Sir Mark Oliphant and Who Discovered What When.

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