This curmudgeon recently got a good lesson on how the Internet has changed the world. My adult children have been trying to get me to understand that you are only as good as your content says you are. The two of them built a nice website for me when I started consulting eight years ago and it has served me well. I suspect they were motivated by fears of their old man asking for hand outs if he couldn’t get enough engineering work but sometimes, according to their mother, the website works too well.
We were waiting outside at the North Park Boathouse in Allegheny County Pennsylvania on the Friday after Thanksgiving for the restaurant to call us that our table was ready. When everyone in the family is on a different diet there are only a few establishments that agreeable to all so a thirty minute wait was reasonable. I did not check the caller ID when it range but it was not about our reservation. A gear shop in Ontario Canada found my number and decided to “ring me up” about how they could make a replacement gear for a double enveloping worm set on their hobbing equipment.
Mama Schultz was not pleased that gears were once again intruding on family time but Canadians are not the only nationality that values politeness, especially when the caller selected you because “according to your website you know everything about gears.” Who can turn down a challenge like that?
After assuring the gentleman that the meter was not running on his question, he went on at length about his customer only wanting to buy the gear because the hourglass worm was still in great shape. He was not happy when told him he needed to measure the center distance on the set and then consult Cone Drive’s on=line catalog. If it was not a Cone Drive set, I warned, it would be very difficult to track down the original supplier and to secure a new gear set.
And why was a so sure of that, he asked. Because I once worked at Cone Drive and was very well acquainted with the other US supplier of hourglass worm gear sets. A short tutorial on the process needed to make these specialized “worms and wheels” finally convinced him to check the Cone Drive web site since our entire country was off for the holiday weekend.
Well, everyone but me. It is always a good time to talk about gears. Even when the meter isn’t running. Another resource that never takes a day off is the Gear Technology web site and archive. Our data base is fully searchable by key word so our Canadian colleague could have found everything we have ever published on double enveloping or hourglass or Cone or Hindley worm gears.