How It Works

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The television series is about how such things as how a water faucet works, how soy sauce is made, the way mountain bikes are built and how a piano is built. These are only a few things that the show describes the production of, which people use. The series explains the way things are assembled, the technology involved and the way products are mass produced.

In episode one of the first season, the series tells how wine glasses are made and why different types of wine require different types of glasses. Red wine has an ingredient in it which is bitter and needs to mix with air so that the wine has a mellow flavor. However, white wine has a subtle aroma and will lose the flavor if it is poured into the wrong type of glass. The glass used for red wine is designed with a wide bowl where as white wine glasses are designed to be narrow thus allowing less air to mix with it.

The production of a wine glass begins with a prototype being hand made to determine the correct shape for the type of wine the glass is to be used for. After the prototype is approved, the materials needed to produce it are assembled. The materials required consist of sand, soda, lime and a couple of other ingredients. These materials are heated until they form a consistency that is similar to warm gum.

Episode two describes how socks are made in mass production, the science involved with freeze drying and how cork is manufactured. In other episodes of the series there is information about how a house can be built in 16 hours.

The series is produced by Phil Ward and written by Robert Cromwell and Toby Stoker.

Monday 9:00 PM et/pt on How It Works
1 Season, 60 Episodes
January 31, 2007
Documentary & Biography, History
Cast: Mark Miodownik
How It Works

How It Works Full Episode Guide

  • Chemistry is how science investigates what makes the world around us.

  • We've all seen it on television, the glamorous forensic scientists solving case after case thanks to the incredible almost magic abilities of forensic investigation.

  • This episode is all about the unsung hero of the science world, "Mathematics" which is the drive behind the engineering that makes the world tick.

  • The fascinating world of the honey bee, John finds out what makes the common honey bee tick and why their time may be running out.

  • It's the very life force that powers the planet, water, and kiwis can sometimes take this commodity for granted and assume that there's plenty to go round.

  • DNA, the little molecules inside ever cell that keep us alive and growing, some could say the fundamental building blocks of life.

  • It makes up two thirds of the planet we live on but how much do we really know about our Oceans and their inhabitants?

  • How do you make a more effective, less toxic anti cancer drug?

  • How virtual worlds being created by our kiwi scientists are helping in our real world by revolutionising entertainment, medical research and sports?

  • The human brain, it may feel like tofu and look a lot like a walnut but ultimately it's what's responsible for keeping us alive and functioning.

  • This week we tackle the pressing issue of what we can do to break away from our dependence on imported liquid transport fuels.

  • This week we're heading underground to discover what part paleontology and archeology play in understanding just who we are as a country and where we might be heading in the future.

  • In this weeks enlightening episode we uncover the impact that humankind and industrialization are having on our earth's atmosphere.

  • In this weeks explosive episode we're looking upwards, way, way up, beyond the clouds, the stars and our very own galaxy.

  • Through a series of insightful interviews and cleverly constructed field trials our country leading experts reveal just what the latest advances in science and technology are doing to aid and abet our burgeoning fashion and textile industries.

  • In this episode host John Watt discovers just what the latest advances in science and technology are doing to assist the unwell and infirm citizens of our Nation.

  • In this episode host John Watt tackles the titans of Mother Nature: the earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes that have shaped the very bedrock of New Zealand.

  • In this episode we take you behind the scenes to look at what kiwi science is doing to tackle air pollution and the effects it is having on our health.

  • In this episode we are looking at how science is changing the way we look at physical endurance, and the discoveries that could change our future for the better.

  • First in the show we take a look at what goes into making the useful pepper mill. Then we reveal the ancient art of Japanese drum making. Finally a look at how the ever handy kitchen item, cling film, is made.

  • In this show, How It Works looks at how designers study each new race car to create the ever popular scalectrix models. Find out how fine olive oil is produced. Finally we reveal how pyrex glass can stand the heat when other glass would shatter.

  • In today's episode How It Works takes a look at how the technical ice hockey skate is made. We also follow the production of stripey toothpaste. Plus we see how favorite sweet snack, chocolate, is made.

  • In today's episode, How It Works takes a look at how an ordinary mirror is made. Find out how violin strings are made out of lamb's intestines and what exactly goes into making a delicious piece of shortbread.

  • Find out how bullet-proof vests are made. We also look at how the all important steel safety barriers are put together to keep us safe on the motorway. Plus a look at how chewing gum can help prevent cavities, and see how the handy bicycle pump is made.

  • We take a close look at the manufacture of the seat belt and how it saves lives. Next, a look at the scented bowling ball. We explain what goes into that melt in your mouth pastry, the croissant. Plus a look at how an all-natural hair brush is made.

  • First in this show, find out that vital tool the shopping trolley is put together. Then it's time to take a look at how the modern chain saw developed and is manufactured. Discover the benefits of Britain's favourite berry, the strawberry.

  • First in this show we take a look at how cannula are made. Cannula are a type of needle used to administer drugs or IV drips to patients.

  • Discover how fluorescent light bulbs are made. Then we take a look at how a modern shovel is put together. Plus we reveal how toxic by-products are stored to keep us all safe, and exactly what goes in to making a baby's disposable nappy.

  • In this episode, How It Works finds out exactly how secure our bikes are, with a look a heavy-duty steel bike lock being produced. Also, it's time to shine a light on the mass manufacture of tea-candles.

  • In this show, see how a team of skilled glassblowers and amazing robots make glassware for science labs around the world. Then find out how a factory that makes flat pack shelves makes sure that they all fit together perfectly.

  • In this episode of How It Works we take a look at how a regular car is converted into a stretched limousine; How high tech hiking boots are made from scratch. And we explain the production process behind the toughest grip, the humble wall plug.

  • In this show, see the making of world famous electric guitars. Find out how tampons are actually made and go behind the scenes at a radiator factory. Plus visit a farm and see the growth cycle of asparagus.

  • Today's episode takes a look at paper recycling. Everything from padded envelopes to glossy magazines are sent to be recycled. The various types of paper must be sorted.

  • First in this show is the complicated process of refrigeration. Then we take you on a journey looking at the design and manufacture involved in putting together a bobsleigh. Plus a look at how the humble Wellington boot and everyday rubbish bin are made.

  • In today's episode, How It Works gets its leathers on as we look at how Harley Davidson's are made, and we look at how the luxury leather chair goes from drawing board to your living room.

  • In today's episode, How It Works finds out how both German beer and Brooks saddles are made, along with the high-tech world of DVD and Tupperware production.

  • In today's show, How It Works looks at the radical transformation from coconut husk to doormat and also we take a look at environmental ways of saving money on petrol and putting old tires to use.

  • In today's episode, How It Works takes a gamble and discovers how fruit machines are made. Also, a look at how a basic block of ice can be transformed into a striking sculpture.

  • In this first episode, How It Works looks at the design and manufacture of bicycle helmets and the iconic Zippo lighter. Plus a look at tailor made suits and the modern production of a delicious...

  • In the twentieth episode, How It Works discovers the amazing processes involved with turning milk into the world famous Parmesan cheese, and learns more about the sophisticated, anti-fraud technology hidden within the 2 Euro coin.

  • In the nineteenth episode, How It Works follows the dedicated efforts of a group of car restorers as they rebuild a classic 1970's Jaguar Coupe.

  • In the eighteenth episode, How It Works finds out how supermarkets can transport bananas all around the world, but still get them onto the supermarket shelves just when they ripen.

  • In the seventeenth episode, How It Works discover the secrets behind the everyday AA battery and how it works. And we learn how maple syrup is made from the sap of thousands of Canadian maple trees.

  • In the sixteenth episode, How It Works watches the in-depth cooking process involved in making tasty Tortilla chips, and we learn about the fascinating processes involved in making a genuine cowboy hat.

  • In this, the fifteenth episode of How It Works we take a closer look at the handmade spring roll from China and we follow the high-tech construction processes involved in the development and construction of a brand new design of ski goggles.

  • First in this show, find out how a diamond drill cuts out a contact lens to fit a patient's eye to perfection, and then see how a team of workers race against the clock to resurface the tarmac on an airport runway.

  • First in this show, we see the state of the art production line which churns out mobile phones. Then, discover how scaffolders in Hong Kong build colossal towers - out of bamboo and plastic straps!

  • First in this show is an amazing machine which harvests dead trees from the bottom of lakes and reservoirs. Then we go to India to discover the secrets of making the right blend for a perfect cup of tea.

  • First in this show is the complicated process of building a simple but sturdy object, the padlock. Then we take the plunge to show you how the largest mobile log flume in the world is built.

  • Today's episode begins by looking at the single-unit production of pool tables. The first stage is the sawing of the plywood side panels, followed by the construction of the frame and the fitting of the rubber cushions.

  • Today's episode begins with the manufacture of corkscrews. The parts are all made separately, starting with the bell which is made from zinc and ground by a finishing machine.

  • In today's episode, How It Works looks at the creation of toilets: a process that starts with the soft mineral gypsum, which is used to make the molds themselves.

  • Today's episode looks at the tall task of constructing a skyscraper. Steel struts form the frame of the building and are surrounded by enormous steel towers, crossbars are then fitted, and the process is repeated level by level and welded into place.

  • In today's episode, How It Works looks at the birth of a book. This frantic process begins with a CD-ROM of the book that is then transferred to a chrome printing plate onto which the letters of the text are imprinted in copper.

  • This episode of How It Works looks at the economical process of making bikinis. The first stages are a computer design and the testing of both the potential fabrics and the fasteners.

  • In today's episode, How It Works looks at the production of charcoal. 25 tons of wood is dried in a huge silo and then heated in an alembic until it becomes carbonized.

  • Today's episode starts with a peek behind the scenes of the fashion industry. In a designer jeans factory a cutting pattern is plotted out on a computer and then up to 20 layers of denim are cut out with an electric saw.

  • This episode starts with the story of how a pile of aluminum tubes is handcrafted into a customized mountain bike.

  • This first episode begins with a close look at the design, manufacture and mass production of a wine glass.