Lifelong Dewey

Reading through every Dewey Decimal section.

Category: 670s

679: The Good Cigar by Jeffers and Gordon

DDC_679

679.72: Jeffers, H. Paul & Kevin Gordon. The Good Cigar: A Celebration of the Art of Cigar Smoking. New York: Broadway, 1997. 193 pp. ISBN 0-7679-0036-7.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 670: Manufacturing
  • 679: Other products of specific kinds of materials
  • 679.7: Products of tobacco
  • 679.72: Cigars

The cigar is almost as old as Columbus’s landing in the Americas. Indigenous peoples would smoke the dried leaves of the tobacco plant in clay pipes and every European explorer to reach the Americas brought some back with them. Modern cigars have been around since the early 19th century and come in many different varieties, shapes, and qualities. H. Paul Jeffers’s and Kevin Gordon’s The Good Cigar is an ode to the cigar aficionado that explores the history, manufacture, and personalities surrounding the classic cigar.

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677: String by Adam Hart-Davis

DDC_677

677.71. Hart-Davis, Adam. String: Unraveling the History of a Twisted Piece of Twine. Pleasantville, NY: Reader’s Digest, 2009. 187 pp. ISBN 978-1-60652-024-6.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 670: Manufacturing
  • 677: Textiles
  • 677.7: Cordage, trimmings, and allied products
  • 677.71: Ropes, twines, and strings

Somebody has written a book on the manufacture and uses of string and twine throughout history. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and so it has. Adam Hart-Davis’s String looks at not only the history of string and twine, but the intricate ways that humanity has engineered it to fit its needs. From the oldest cotton strings to modern polymerized nylon, string exists in our collective history as a largely unrecognized product, but Hart-Davis does his best to bring it to the light.

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676: Papermaking by Dard Hunter

DDC_676

676: Hunter, Dard. Papermaking: The History and Technique of an Ancient Craft. New York: Dover Publications, 1974. 584 pp. ISBN 0-486-23619-6.

Dewey Breakdown:
• 600: Technology
• 670: Manufacturing
• 676: Pulp and paper technology

Dard Hunter’s Papermaking is the landmark text on the practice and history of turning wood pulp into a woven, writable surface. He traces the history of paper from its invention by the Chinese eunuch Ts’ai Lun in 105 CE to the current industry of worldwide production and consumption. Hunter is probably the only person to make a career out of hunting every available source on the history of paper and this book represents the culmination of all that research. He covers the science of choosing the right plant material, the history of printing presses and their use of paper materials, and the progression of industrial machines used in the making of paper products. Also included is the history of paper watermarking and its role in company identification, forgeries, and counterfeiting. While the text can be a little dry and tedious, there are plenty of illustrations to move the reader through the history. If you ever had a question about the world history of papermaking, this book will answer them without fail.

674: The Pencil by Henry Petroski

DDC_674

674.88: Petroski, Henry. The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance. New York: Knopf, 2010. 354 pp. ISBN 0-679-73415-5.

Dewey Breakdown:

  • 600: Technology
  • 670: Manufacturing
  • 674: Lumber processing, wood products, and cork
  • 674.8: Wood products
  • 674.88: Other products

I’m quite convinced that Henry Petroski could write about the engineering or manufacturing of anything and it would an order of magnitude better than expected. He’s authored books about bookshelves, the toothpick, and engineering projects that I would have expected to be ho-hum or dryasdust, but he always surprises me. In The Pencil, he takes on the titular subject and discusses not only the history of the object, but the mindset, engineering, and technology involved in crafting such a simple tool.

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670: Howard Hughes by James Phelan

670.92: Phelan, James. Howard Hughes: The Hidden Years. New York: Warner Books, 1977. 299 pp. ISBN 0-446-89521-0.

Dewey Construction:

  • 600: Technology
  • 670: Manufacturing
  • +092: Biography

James Phelan does what Clifford Irving couldn’t: he wrote a respectable biography of the final years of the great Howard Hughes. In the cultural landscape, there are two Hugheses—the monolithic business genius who amassed great wealth through his ingenuity in aircraft and tool manufacturing and the eccentric almost xenophobic shell of a man he became in his last years. Everyone knows the first half of the story, but only a select few got live access to the latter.

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