• Available
  • Our Retail Price: $29.95

Things Come Apart

A Teardown Manual for Modern Living

Todd McLellan (Author)

Logo markA Thames & Hudson book


Inspiring and unique photographs capture mechanical and electronic objects of past and present in a dismantled, meticulously arranged form

Welcome to Todd McLellan’s unique photographic vision of the material world: fifty design classics—arranged first by size and then by intricacy—are beautifully displayed, piece by piece, exploding in midair and dissected in real-time, frame-by-frame video stills.

This book makes visible the inner workings of some of the world’s most iconic designs. From SLR camera to mantel clock to espresso machine, from iPad to bicycle to grand piano, every single component of each object is revealed. These disassembled objects show that even the most intricate of modern technologies can be broken down and understood, while beautifully illustrating the quality and elegance of older designs. Stunning photography is interspersed with essays by notable figures from the worlds of restoration, DIY, and design innovation who discuss historical examples of teardowns, disassembly, and reverse-engineering.

Each photograph is itself a work of art and offers a reinterpretation of our familiar world. They connect people with the child-like joy of taking something apart to see how it works and will appeal to anyone with a curiosity about the material world.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • May 2013
  • ISBN 978-0-500-51676-8
  • 9.8 × 13.7 in / 128 pages
  • Sales Territory: USA and Dependencies, Philippines and Canada.

Endorsements & Reviews

“A new book full of gorgeous and meticulously organized photographs of old school and modern tech broken down and laid bare.” — The Huffington Post

“The photos are enjoyable as pure eye candy, but they also illustrate the history of modern manufacturing.” — Wired.com

“McLellan’s photographs seek to challenge our disposable culture by making transparent all the things that we regularly throw away.” — NPR Picture Show

“A geeky adoration of design, disassembly, and tinkering.” — Publishers Weekly

“. . . 50 disassembled classics of mechanical and electronic design, with the components first arrayed in formal order and then in midair freefall.” — The New York Times Book Review

“Fifty objects and 21,959 components later, Mr. McLellan is still disassembling objects.” — Florida Weekly

“This fascinating book showcases unique photos of 50 design classics in a dismantled, meticulously rearranged form—including an iPad, grand piano and an espresso machine.” — FrontiersLA.com

“Truly unique.” — Woman Around Town

Also by Todd McLellan All

  1. Book CoverThings Come Apart: A Teardown Manual for Modern Living