This dazzling account looks, for example, at the phenomenon of “ringing for servants” and what it tells us about “the relationship between button pushers and those individuals made to heed their call”. It also shows how and why buttons, for more than a century, have “crystallize[d] enduring social hopes and fears about ‘easy’ technological solutions.—Times Higher Education—
Push buttons pop up on everything from blenders to aeroplanes. Yet, as Rachel Plotnick reveals in this unusual technological history, the mechanism had an explosive impact on culture from its debut in the 1880s to the 1920s and beyond.
Thought provoking, not least for engineers who employ them as the main point of relationship between the output of their work and the ultimate user.
—Engineering & Technology
An engrossing cultural history.
—London Review of Books
Loaded with sharp observations and prescient pronouncements about how pushing (and clicking, tapping, and swiping) became our way of life.
—Los Angeles Review of Books
This volume is a valuable contribution to our understanding of technology, interface design, and the history of science… Highly recommended.