Cleveland has always seemed a rather odd location for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hollywood, on the other hand, is the logical place for that Walk of Fame with a multitude of “stars” honoring the famous and semi-famous who have made contributions to tabloid sales.
I am not clear on how people get awarded those “stars,” and realize that the “voting” for other Halls of Fame can be quite controversial. AGMA occasionally gives out lifetime achievement awards, but those honors are connected to the standards writing work of the organization, not necessarily the technical contributions of the honoree.
Any discussion of this type can devolve into a “Mount Rushmore” argument, i.e. — the pointless ranking of one nominee’s achievements versus another’s. People have been working on the “problem” of gears for thousands of years; it is silly to think you can compare Leonardo DiVinci’s contributions to those of Euclid’s, or those of the unknown designer of the South Pointing Chariot. In many situations we have multiple claims for a certain breakthrough — or no claims at all.
One of my early pro bono consulting assignments involved writing some articles for an online encyclopedia on gears. The style sheet called for a minimum number of “names” so there was no provision for bolstering the claims of one party or another for “inventing” something.
A logical follow-up to our origin story program is the establishment of a “Hall of Fame” for the gear trade. What are your thoughts on a virtual “hall” where important contributors could be remembered for as long as the Internet lasts?