From cartwheel to cybernetics -- from the tinkerings and inspirations of Archimedes to the wizards of the transistor and solar energy-spreads the history of technological advances. Here, laced together in a credible semblance of narrative, are the significant dates, names, sites, theories, problems, hunches, experiments, replete with enough biographic information to make it all human and affecting. The author has concentrated upon the various-forms of power, communication, transport, scanting the better mousetrap type of inventor and in general the commodity-minded patent seekers. This loss is incidental -- but a serious loss lies in the failure to pinpoint the meaning and spirit of invention itself. Why-after all- are men bidden to improve and improvise, to control and search out the secrets of nature? What special faculties do such men possess? How do they effect and reflect the social pattern of which they are part? If abundant facts, with their connections and continuities ably worked out, are the purpose of this work, they seem to have gone almost too far, leaving no room for and indeed obscuring deeper, subtler considerations of what invention and the inventor signify. This limits the market, perhaps, to the literal minded.