Exactly: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World

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Precision is the key to everything. The items we value in our daily lives – a camera, phone, computer, bicycle, car, a dishwasher perhaps – all have components that fit together with precision and operate with near perfection.

We also assume that the more precise a device the better it is. And yet whilst we live lives peppered with precision, we are not, when we come to think about it, entirely sure what precision is, or what it means. How and when did it begin to build the modern world?

Simon Winchester seeks to answer these questions through stories of precision’s pioneers. Exactly takes us back to the origins of the Industrial Age, to Britain where he introduces the scientific minds that helped usher in modern production: John ‘Iron-Mad’ Wilkinson, Henry Maudslay, Joseph Bramah, Jesse Ramsden, and Joseph Whitworth. 

As he introduces the minds and methods that have changed the modern world, Winchester explores fundamental questions. Why is precision important? Has the pursuit of the ultra-precise in so many facets of human life blinded us to other things of equal value? Are we missing something that reflects the world as it is, rather than the world as we think we would wish it to be? And can the precise and the natural co-exist in society?

Paperback

416 pages

Publisher: William Collins

ISBN: 978-0008241780