One Good Turn Witold Rybcynski

One Good Turn

A Natural History of the Screwdriver and Screw
173 pages

Review by Bruce "Atli" Blackistone

Rybczynski traces this rather commonplace but useful artifacts from the modern tool box back to late medieval firearms and armor. He then traces the concept back to the Greeks and Romans. He tends to wander a bit, poking at the puzzle from different angles, and the text reads somewhat like a long conversation with an old friend at a good bar. In the end, however, he nails down the origins and evolution to my satisfaction. Indeed, his work pretty much confirms some of my own research, so I think heís done a good job. The only blatant error that stayed on my mind was a wheel lock mechanism mislabeled as a matchlock.

Itís a small book and a quick read, and an enjoyable way for the mechanically and historically inclined to spend a rainy afternoon.

On writing the book - Publishers Site

Scribner 2000
A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
New York, NY

Price: $22.00
LoC 00-036988,
ISBN 0-684-86729-X
Copyright © 2001 by Jock Dempsey, DEMPSEY'S FORGE
Webmaster email:
GSC - anvil, anvils, blacksmith, blacksmiths, blacksmithing, book reviews, do-it-yourself, metal, metalwork