Who Taught You About Gears?


“The beginning of wisdom is calling things by their proper name” — Chinese proverb

Who taught you about gears? I was blessed with some great mentors in the early years of my career, but I never met some of my most important teachers. The answers to my many questions were “in the books” in the company library, I was told. Many a lunch hour was passed devouring the collected works of Dudley, Buckingham, and Jones. As I became familiar with the terminology, my co-workers and supervisors began to explain our company’s particular “take” on gear design. Some of the positions we took now seem a bit out of date, but I still use those same reference books today.

What is your favorite gear reference book? During the summer of 2013 I had the opportunity to inventory the library of one of my favorite all-time gear people, the late Don McVittie. He had many of the same reference books I own and many that I had never seen before. His family had donated the books to The Gear Works so the next generation of gear engineers would have access to them; a generous gesture from a guy who was always willing to explain things to an interested student.

If you are an experienced gear person, I hope you will share your knowledge with others. If you are just starting out in the trade, I hope you can find a good mentor. If mentors aren’t available, I have a suggested bibliography in my book An Introduction to Gear Design. The book is a free download from my company web site www.beytagear.com. The Internet has made locating even long-out-of-print gear textbooks easier, so good luck in your scavenger hunt.

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


  1. Please pardon my type in the previous entry. The current edition of my book is the 5th, not the 6th.

  2. This question is also of high interest to me. (See my post on the blog for “Gear Training Then and Now”.) I have been teaching a design of machine elements course since 1966 and I do not even recall being taught about gearing beyond basic kinematics in my BS in Mechanical Engineering program. I wonder what others’ experiences are on this question. In my early years of teaching, I depended strongly on published textbooks but I found them sorely limited, particularly on the practical design and manufacturing aspects of gearing. Buckingham was the primary source cited in those early books. I quickly became more versed in the AGMA standards and decided to publish my own textbook, titled Machine Elements In Mechanical Design, in 1985. Subsequent editions included many updates and additions, most related to changes in AGMA standards and improvements in gear quality measurement methods and equipment. The current 6th edition (2014) of this book is far better than the first edition because of cumulative industry information, Gear Technology Magazine, and feedback from users of earlier editions. The book is published by Pearson-Prentice Hall.

Comments are closed.