Description : This book explores the US patent system, which helped practical minded innovators establish intellectual property rights and fulfill the need for achievement that motivates inventors and scholars alike. In this sense, the patent system was a parallel literature: a vetting institution similar to the conventional academic-scientific-technical journal insofar as the patent examiner was both editor and peer reviewer, while the patent attorney was a co-author or ghost writer. In probing evolving notions of novelty, non-obviousness, and cumulative innovation, Mark Monmonier examines rural address guides, folding schemes, world map projections, diverse improvements of the terrestrial globe, mechanical route-following machines that anticipated the GPS navigator, and the early electrical you-are-here mall map, which opened the way for digital cartography and provided fodder for patent trolls, who treat the patent largely as a license to litigate.
Description : A striking and inventive social history of the role of clothing in the making of modern Americans. While fashions of the rich and famous have been lushly chronicled, little attention has been paid to the meaning of clothes for everyone else. Yet between 1890 and the outbreak of World War II, as ready-to-wear came into its own, the clothes of ordinary Americans claimed the nation's attention. Allied with civic virtue, fashion now played an increasingly important role in shaping the national character. Drawing on a wealth of sources -- from advertisements, trade journals, and health manuals to sermons, science, and songs -- acclaimed historian Jenna Weissman Joselit shows how the length of a woman's skirt, the shape of a man's hat, and the height of a pair of heels enabled Americans of every faith, color, and class to feel part of the modern nation. As moral arbiters warned that extravagant attire might undermine equality, and gentlemen worried that wearing colored shirts reared them less manly, the newly arrived and newly emancipated -- immigrants and African-Americans -- wondered just how much jewelry was appropriate to their new status as citizens. Engaging, imaginative, and original, A Perfect Fit uncovers a time in American history when getting dressed was more about fitting in than standing out and vividly shows how clothes expressed the spirit of democracy and the promise of America.