Harley Gee's Reviews > The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry, and Invention

The Most Powerful Idea in the World by William Rosen
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M 50x66
's review
Dec 18, 2010

liked it
Read in December, 2010

It was a bit of a slog but worth it. Lots of detail about the myriad of developments and individuals that created and perfected the steam engine - the main tool of the industrial revolution. Was it patent law, an anglophone advantage, something special about late 17th and 18th century Britain - it's coal, it's size, it's deluded inventor/tinkers, it's competitive environment? All are examined. I liked the comparison to China based on Joseph Needham's observations. The book end's with A. Lincoln's ringing endorsement of patent law as the critical factor.

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