If He Builds It, Will They Come
The article "If He Builds It, Will They Come" appeared in the September/October 1999 issue of Gear Technology.
Richard Spens has been rebuilding antique machine tools for nearly a decade. He is drawn to the ornate architecture and fascinated by the open design that allows you to see inside a machine as it operates. "Working with machines has been a lifelong thing with me," said Spens, now a design engineer. "I started building steam engines when I was 10 years old." What he's working on now, however, is bigger than any steam engine or machine tool. In rural Livonia, Michigan, Spens is converting an old dairy barn into an accurate recreation of a turn-of-the-century, belt driven gear shop. It's an outgrowth of his interest in antique machine tools and, he feels, a way to stem the tide that is costing America so many manufacturing and skilled trade jobs.
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