Archives:IEEE History Center Book Publishing

Current Books

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As part of its mission to bring the history of technology to a wide audience, the IEEE History Center has been busy with a number of publishing initiatives. If you are interested in being one of our authors, please see Author Submission Guidelines

Sprague Electric: An Electronics Giant's Rise, Fall, and Life after Death

NEW! -- Sprague Electric: An Electronic Giant's Rise, Fall, and Life after Death by John L. Sprague. The rise of the Sprague Electric Company from a kitchen-table high-tech startup is representative of much of the U.S. electronics industry. Sprague Electric Company rose to become a thriving manufacturer employing thousands of workers, and building a broad product line with international sales and a reputation for the highest quality. It then declined, went through a series of acquisitions, and eventually dissolved. Yet today, many former Sprague Electric business units thrive as successful parts of other corporations.

Sprague Electric's business and technological history serves as a lens for thousands of companies all over the world. It is the story of corporate success...and a tale of what to avoid. Told by company insider John Sprague, it gives the reader a front-row seat.

The Birth of Electric Traction: The Extraordinary Life of Inventor Frank Julian Sprague by Frank Rowsome Jr., available in paperback and Kindle® editions.

Frank Julian Sprague has often been called the inventor of public transportation. In addition to his developments in electric traction, Sprague made enormous contributions in the areas of control and safety, without which mass transit would not be possible. Sprague developed automatic signal and brake control for railroads, and an auxiliary train control to take charge if the driver made a mistake. He was active in the planning and construction of New York City’s subway system, and in the electrification of Grand Central Terminal.

Sprague believed that “Transportation is the key of civilization…for without it our existing social structure would collapse.” Among Sprague's other achievements are the introduction of electric elevators and of electric power units suitable for machine tools, printing presses, dentist's drills, and labor-saving conveniences in the home.

Rowsome’s engaging and colorful biography not only gives a detailed view of Sprague as a person, but also Sprague’s approach to design and problem-solving. Numerous personal, and sometimes quite humorous, anecdotes bring Sprague, his assistants, and the early history of electric railroads to life.

Frank Rowsome Jr. is probably now most famous for The Verse by the Side of the Road (1966), but he was also managing editor of Popular Science Monthly and later became NASA’s chief of technical publications.

ISBN 9 7181490955346

The IEEE History Center Press, New York Power by Joseph J. Cunningham, available in paperback and Kindle® editions.

New York City’s density placed unique constraints on its electric light and power supply. Electrification began during the 1880s, but many innovations were required to supply urban service at a cost that would make possible large-scale consumption. New York Power tells the story of the electrification of the one of the densest electrical load areas in the world, it was also where alternating current challenged and then ultimately vanquished the original direct-current system. Author Joseph J. Cunningham has consulted a variety of historical sources to bring us the story of the massive and sustained effort to develop New York City’s electric utility system. He has researched and authored numerous articles and books on topics such as industrial electrification and electric rail transportation, and has taught widely on the history of electric power systems and consulted on numerous electro-technology projects and television productions. Lionel Trains has consulted him for the historical details of its model trains.

Bell Labs Memoirs: Voices of Innovation, edited by A. Michael Noll and Michael Geselowitz is now available in paperback and Kindle® editions.

The innovative spirit and creative energy of Bell Labs during the directorship of William Baker are described by twelve people who worked there. The culture of Bell Labs comes to life through the first-hand accounts of John Pierce, father of communications satellites; Manfred Schroeder, speech encoding pioneer; Walter Brown, developer of silicon semiconductors; Carol Maclennan, expert in spacecraft communications and data analysis; Alan Chynoweth, materials research authority; David Dorsi, expert glassblower; Edward Zajac, submarine cables and economics research; Edwin Chandross, optical memories and organic materials (inventor of the now ubiquitous light stick); Italo Quinto, chauffeur to William Baker; Mohan Sondhi, inventor of the adaptive echo canceller; William Keefauver, Bell Labs’ general patent attorney; and lastly, William Baker himself.

The research done at Bell Labs led to many devices and techniques that helped build our present world. Acoustic cameras, adaptive predictive coding, block diagram compilers, cryptography, diamond crystal research, digital communication, echo research, inverse filtering, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), magnetic bubble memories, microwaves, organic field effect transistors, pulse code modulation, synthetic speech, transistors, traveling-wave tubes, and vocoders are among the topics recalled by the contributors to this book. Available now.

The IEEE History is also pleased to remind readers of the availability of two previous e-publications, produced in partnership with IEEE-USA E-Books:

a) The US Federal Government and Innovation - A Brief History - This book briefly outlines, for engineers and policymakers, the history of U.S. government involvement in technological innovation, from Morse's telegraph and radio to transistors, computing, and lithium batteries.

Member Price: $4.79, Non-member Price: $5.99

b) History of Telecommunications - Telecommunications has been one of the most influential technologies in human history. As the speed and volume of the transmission of messages increased, history itself has been made and altered. Telecommunications has not only influenced history, it has also allowed us to share and participate in historical events. This book is a collection of articles written by the staff of the IEEE History Center highlighting some of the many triumphs in the world of telecommunications.

Member Price: $4.79, Non-member Price: $5.99

The book publishing program is made possible in large part by donations. If you have enjoyed our books, please consider supporting the IEEE History Center’s work by making a donation to IEEE Foundation - History Center Fund