The Heroic Age of American Invention

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The Heroic Age of American Invention
Heroic Age of American Invention.jpg
Author L. Sprague de Camp
Cover artist Robert Flynn
Country United States
Language English
Subject American history
Publisher Doubleday
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 290 pp

The Heroic Age of American Invention is a 1961 science book for children by L. Sprague de Camp, published by Doubleday. It was reprinted in 1993 by Barnes & Noble under the title Heroes of American Invention.


By "heroic age" the author means the era of American history in which individual initiative and enterprise constituted the primary thread in technical innovation, roughly from the early 19th century until mass production and corporate enterprise outpaced that of the individual around the time of World War I. The story of innovation is told through the biographies and inventions of thirty-two key inventors of the United States' industrial revolution, whom de Camp feels were pivotal in converting the country from an agrarian nation to an industrial one.

Some of the inventors spotlighted include Robert L. Stevens, George Westinghouse, Samuel Morse, Samuel Colt, Cyrus McCormick, Alexander Graham Bell, and Thomas Edison.


  • I. Invention Comes to America
  • II. The Heroic Age Begins
  • III. The Stevenses and Railroading
  • IV. Henry, Morse, and the Telegraph
  • V. Colt and Other Gunmakers
  • VI. McCormick and Farm Machinery
  • VII. Ericsson and the Modern Warship
  • VIII. Kelly and Steel Refining
  • IX. Mergenthaler, Sholes, and Writing Machines
  • X. Bell and the Telephone
  • XI. Edison and the Electric Light
  • XII. Thomson and Alternating-Current Power
  • XIII. Selden and the Automobile
  • XIV. Langley, The Wrights, and Flying
  • XV. Fessenden, De Forest, and Radio
  • XVI. The End of the Heroic Age
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index


  • Laughlin, Charlotte; Daniel J. H. Levack (1983). De Camp: An L. Sprague de Camp Bibliography. San Francisco: Underwood/Miller. p. 66.