About a year ago, Henry Petroski, the Aleksandar S. Vesic Professor in the department of civil and environmental engineering at Duke University in Durham, N.C., wrote a book called “The Toothpick: Technology and Culture.” This year, the esteemed professor of engineering history has published “Small Things Considered: Why There Is No Perfect Design.” Both books extol in part three unsung, technological marvels the restaurant industry could not thrive without: the toothpick, the pizza saver ...

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