Icons of Invention

The Makers of the Modern World from Gutenberg to Gates

by John W. Klooster


We live in a world powered by technology. It informs the way we work and play, the way we travel, the way we get our information. In ways too numerous to count, inventions have defined the modern age. Those from whose fertile brains these marvels have sprung have altered the destiny of humankind.

Print Flyer
Cover image for Icons of Invention

July 2009


Pages 653
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics World History/Science and Technology

These two volumes provide in-depth coverage of 24 of history's most important inventors and their inventions.

Who invented the sewing machine, the telephone, the internal combustion engine? Who pioneered vaccination? Who gave the world television, nylon, the nuclear reactor? The answers to some of these questions are straightforward, the answers to others much less so. All of them are explored in the fascinating Icons of Invention: The Makers of the Modern World from Gutenberg to Gates.

This in-depth resource tells the stories of 24 of the most influential and well-known inventions of the modern age—and of the individuals most responsible for their development. Presented in chronological order, the entries provide background on the lives and work of inventors such as Thomas Edison, Alexander Fleming, and Tim Berners-Lee. At the same time, the set profiles their competitors and details the sometimes-controversial, often-mistake-plagued routes almost all of them took to their most famous creations.


  • 24 illustrations show each of the major inventions discussed
  • Sidebars covering related inventions are included with many of the entries
  • A list of works for further reading encourages students to learn more
  • In-depth biographies provide students with material for classroom assignments and reports
  • The set supports both National Science Education Guidelines on Science and Technology (Content Standard E) and Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (Theme VIII - Science, Technology, and Society)


  • Illuminates one of the most high-powered competitions in the history of invention, that between the direct current favored by of Thomas Edison and the alternating current championed by Nikola Tesla
  • Covers Isaac Howe and Elias Singer and the debate over credit for the sewing machine
  • Takes the reader to the early days of television and the battles between inventor Philo Farnsworth and David Sarnoff's RCA
  • Explores the creation of the Internet, an achievement that resulted from technical and political advances made by numerous visionaries
Author Info

John W. Klooster is a retired attorney-at-law who specialized in intellectual property law.



"Intended as a reference for students in high school and up, this two-volume set considers 24 important inventions and their inventors over the past 600 years."SciTech Book News

"The prose is clear. . . This title is most likely useful for public libraries and high school collections. . ."ARBAonline

"The entries are well researched and provide resources for further information. A general bibliography leads the researcher to additional material. A comprehensive index encourages fast location of specific information, while the entries themselves are written with subheadings to ease browsing. This is a valuable addition to any library where patrons are interested in the history and impact of inventions, both old and new. The content is appropriate not only for high-school students but also for college students seeking knowledge about inventions, inventors, and the impact of inventions on society."Booklist

"The author does an especially thorough job of exploring the business side of invention. . . this set offers depth and detail not seen in most reference works on the subjects."School Library Journal

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