He was one of America's greatest innovators, but his plan to build a production city in the Amazon ultimately ended in disaster.
Having given slavery a new lease on life, he then made Northern triumph inevitable
The telegraph was an even more dramatic innovation in its day than the Internet
The single best-selling American car isn’t a car at all. It’s a pickup truck. Here’s how it rose from farm hand to fashion accessory.
In a nation of inventors it has always been the single most invented thing. At this very moment hundreds of Americans are busy obeying Emerson’s famous dictum—even though the machine he exhorted them to build has existed in near-transcendental perfection for almost a century.
Though it appears to have sprung up overnight, the inspiration of free-spirited hackers, it in fact was born in Defense Department Cold War projects of the 1950s
You’ve probably never heard of them, but these ten people changed your life. Each of them is a big reason why your world today is so different from anyone’s world in 1954
America looked good to a high school senior then, and that year looks wonderfully safe to us now, but it was a time of tumult for all that, and there were plenty of shadows along with the sunshine
For two hundred years the United States patent system has defined what is an invention and protected, enriched, and befuddled inventors. As a tool of corporate growth in a global economy, it is now more important than ever.
In 1820 their daily existence was practically medieval; thirty years later many of them were living the modern life
The urge to move documents as fast as possible has always been a national pre-occupation, because it has always been a necessity. Fax and Federal Express are just the latest among many innovations for getting the message across.
A man who has spent his life helping transform old photos from agreeable curiosities into a vital historical tool explains their magical power to bring the past into the present
You Asked for It
American medicine in a crucial era was at once surprisingly similar and shockingly different from what we know today. You could get aspirin at the drugstore, and anesthesia during surgery. But you could also buy opium over the counter, and the surgery would be more likely to be performed in your kitchen than in a hospital.
For years it was seen as the worst of times: bloated, crass, witlessly extravagant. But now scholars are beginning to find some of the era’s unexpected virtues.
The story of how a blast of cool, dry air changed America
On November 18, 1883, the nation finally settled on the method of synchronizing all clocks that we call standard time. Why did it take so long to figure that one out?
How the novelty item of 1920 became the world-straddling colossus of 1940
“A wound in the heart is mortal,” Hippocrates said two thousand years ago. Until very recently he was right.
THE BIRTH OF THE RAND CORPORATION During World War II, America discovered that scientists were needed to win it—and to win any future war. That’s why RAND came into being, the first think tank and the model for all the rest.
The decline and fall of the lamppost
Once you’ve discovered fire, you have to keep it from burning you. This is how it was managed before the safety match.
The Ordeal of Robert Hutchings Goddard
Lighting Up America
The Messiah of Time and Motion