Housing ingenuity

17th November 2000 at 00:00

This enchanting house has five rooms full of human ingenuity. There are doors to prise open, rugs to raise, and panels to slide or peek under. You are rewarded with a fact telling you who made the prototype or pioneered the process.

It is a lived-in house. There's a bra on the floor and cola in the cupboard. Pick them up andread about who developed them. Clothes spin in the washing machine (patented in 1907) and the flushing toilet (invented in 1589) leads to a sewer pipe (first known in northern India 4,000 years ago).

A time-line tells us how things that keep us warm, clean, dry, fed, amused and in touch with each other have histories from Neolithic times. The book's attractiveness reflects the inventiveness it celebrates.

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