William Gurstelle

William Gurstelle (born March 29, 1956) is an American nonfiction author, magazine writer, and inventor. He is a feature columnist for Make magazine and a columnist and contributing editor at Popular Science magazine. Previously, he was the Pyrotechnics and Ballistics Editor at Popular Mechanics magazine.

William Gurstelle
William Gurstelle 2009.jpg
William Gurstelle at Kinnernet, May 9, 2009
EducationUniversity of Minnesota
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin
EmployerMake magazine

He is also the author of several science “how-to” books published by Crown Books/Random House and Chicago Review Press.

His best known work is Backyard Ballistics, which according to Newsweek magazine, has sold hundreds of thousands of copies.[1] Other popular titles are Absinthe and Flamethrowers, and The Art of the Catapult. In 2011, Publishers Weekly stated Gurstelle had sold more than 300,000 of his books.[2]

According to James A. Buczynski in Library Journal, Gurstelle's writing "balances scientific explanations of the technologies with profiles of the people who [explore] them."

Selected bibliographyEdit

  • Gurstelle, William (2001). Backyard Ballistics : build potato cannons, paper match rockets, Cincinnati fire kites, tennis ball mortars, and more dynamite devices. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-55652-375-5. OCLC 45861947.
  • Gurstelle, William (2003). Building bots : designing and building warrior robots. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-55652-459-2. OCLC 301058633.
  • Gurstelle, William (2004). The art of the catapult : build Greek ballistae, Roman onagers, English trebuchets, and more ancient artillery. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-55652-526-1. OCLC 54529037. ISBN 1-55652-526-5. ISBN 978-1-4176-4323-3. ISBN 1-4176-4323-4.
  • Gurstelle, William (2006). Adventures from the technology underground : catapults, pulsejets, rail guns, flamethrowers, tesla coils, air cannons and the garage warriors who love them. New York: Clarkson Potter. ISBN 978-1-4000-5082-6. OCLC 61115533.
  • Gurstelle, William (2007). Whoosh boom splat : the garage warrior's guide to building projectile shooters from potato cannons to pulsejets and beyond. New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-307-33948-5. OCLC 70054192.
  • Gurstelle, William (2009). Absinthe & flamethrowers : projects and ruminations on the art of living dangerously. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-55652-822-4. OCLC 273817829. ISBN 1-55652-822-1.
  • Gurstelle, William (2011). The Practical Pyromaniac. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 978-1-56976-710-8. OCLC 690086844. ISBN 1-56976-710-6.


  1. ^ Levy, Steven (February 13, 2006). "If Martha Stewart Were a Geek". Newsweek. Archived from the original (on-line reprint) on January 29, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2009. Killing a thousand aliens in some pixilated corner of cyberspace can never duplicate the satisfying phoomph that comes from shooting a potato out of a homemade PVC-pipe cannon.
  2. ^ Kirch, Claire (April 11, 2011). "Great Balls of Fire!" (on-line reprint). Publishers Weekly. Retrieved October 26, 2011. Gurstelle's publications mash up science, history, and DIY.

External linksEdit