The Beginning of Wisdom

Aphorisms, pithy statements of fact, are a favorite of mine. They appeal because when you need to remember things you cannot always count on the WiFi working. One of the first I committed to memory was “the beginning of wisdom is calling things by their proper name.” Attributed to Confucius, it reminds us of how we first learned language and were able to communicate without screaming and crying.

In the gear trade we have many names for the parts of gears, machines, materials, process, and related items. Unlike some countries, the United States does not have a “common core” for gears, and people learn the terminology on the job. This can cause confusion and misunderstandings that occasionally approach the “screaming and crying” level.

The American Gear Manufacturers’ Association [AGMA] has a Nomenclature Committee tasked with sorting this situation out. This committee is being reconvened after a short hiatus and will be undertaking a review of its fundamental documents [AGMA 933-B03 Basic Gear Geometry and ANSI/AGMA 1012-G05 Gear Nomenclature, Definitions of Terms with Symbols] following a major revision to ANSI/AGMA 1010-F14, Appearance of Gear Teeth – Terminology of Wear and Failure. A secondary objective of this work is to close the gap between these national standards and their international counterparts. We take a great deal of pride in the user-friendly nature of AGMA standards in contrast to the more academic tone of the ISO versions.

This is an excellent moment for new members to join the committee. If you have an interest in how future generations learn about gears, I encourage you to contact AGMA headquarters and offer your services. Most of the committees conduct their business over the Internet with e-mail and Web Ex teleconferences, so travel is not required. AGMA’s web address is Feel free to tell them I sent you.

About Charles D. Schultz 678 Articles
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.