"In 1990 Routledge published An Encyclopaedia of the History of Technology, edited by my good friend and fellow editor of the present work, Ian McNeil. The Encyclopaedia told the story of the inventiveness of human beings in applying their knowledge of the physical world to rendering their material circumstances less inconvenient and uncomfortable. Throughout the thousand and more pages of the Encyclopaedia, hundreds of characters flitted in and out, making tantalizingly brief appearances, before receding into the shadows. It is the aim of this biographical dictionary to bring these characters into the light of day, so we can see the background that produced them, the development of their inventions or discoveries and their significance in the area of technology concerned. We have selected almost 1,300 names of those whom we judge to have made a significant contribution, in one way or another, to the advance of technology."