Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I didn't know about the Whitworth 3 plates method and enjoyed reading about it a lot. It answers a question that's been on my mind since I was a child. Thank you for posting.

Simon Winchester wrote an enjoyable book about the history of precision that starts with Wilkinson’s boring of steam cylinders to improve upon the efficiency of the first steam engines and rifles, through engineering history to ASML’s nano-level IC fab machines.

In America, it's called The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World. Elsewhere, the title of the same book is Exactly.


I wasn't a fan. It was a bunch of disjointed essays rather than a real history. The later parts really deviated from the promise.

Some reviewers said that. I didn't feel that way, or notice a lack of continuity, possibly because I enjoyed each chapter on its own merits. For example, I didn't know about ASML at all, even though I've been in the computer and software business fora. long time, so I was just fascinated to learn details about something I'd taken for granted, but which is clearly a peak achievement in the history of human precision manufacturing.

Right!? He discusses flatness, but not planarity, or levelness. Not even a glimmer of an attempt to describe the bootstrapping to precision. What’s weird is he starts talking about electronics when he gets to the 20th c., yet the 20th c. is perhaps the century where good old fashioned precision has improved the most!

A complete dodge & waste of money.

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact