I am not much of a professional basketball fan; to me the college game is more interesting than the NBA. The NCAA men’s basketball tournament may be the perfect sporting event that doesn’t involve internal combustion engines. Recently there has been a lot of chatter about an NBA Mount Rushmore and which faces should be on it; certainly a worthy topic to debate at the local sports bar.
What about a Mount Rushmore for the gear business? My last posting talked about finding a book by Professor Faydor L. Litvin in my electronic files. In the preface to the book, professor Litvin laments that many of the personages he wrote about were not recognized for their contributions during their lifetimes. Some of them remained unknown long after their deaths. We still don’t know who first accomplished many important feats in our trade.
Those who wrote books, filed for patents, taught at prominent universities, or founded companies have a better chance of being remembered. But how would you rank achievers in a field with a history going back several thousand years? Does an innovator, inventor, and founder of several still existing companies like George Grant get more consideration than an Iron Age mill builder?
The same problem exists in the NBA Mount Rushmore debate. For some talking heads the “history” begins when they were personally able to watch the nominees for immortality. For them Bob Cousy, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Oscar Robertson, George Mikan and dozens of other stars are lost in pre-history.
So who goes on a gear industry Mount Rushmore? I can’t imagine cutting the list of nominees anywhere near four or five but would enjoy hearing your thoughts on the subject.