February 16, 2024
It occurred to me that some readers may be unfamiliar with Darle W. Dudley, author of many respected gear reference books. A quick on-line “name check” resulted in twelve pages of advertisements but scant info on the man himself. No Wikipedia page, no tributes from family, friends, or associates. It is very clear that unless you, or someone who cares about you, gets involved, your contributions to this profession will fade away very quickly. Sadly, about the longest “tribute” that turned up was a short review of the Gear Handbook that appeared in my self-published book, An Introduction to Gear Design. I tried the on-line search again for another legendary gear expert — Earle S. Buckingham. Another prolific author, Professor Buckingham had the benefit of academic connections, but fared only slightly better. A reasonably complete listing of his publications was available in the midst of a dozen pages of ads for his books. Neither of these men was active in the trade after Gear Technology began publishing, so their works are not included in our on-line archives. Think about that for a moment — anyone who ever submitted a question to our “Ask the Expert Feature” has a more permanent “Internet” landmark than either of these esteemed gentlemen. Something is wrong when giants of our trade can be so un-recorded, yet the Internet is filled with pages dedicated to the minor celebrity wannabees of the day. One solution might be to get “origin stories” for them and other prominent personages published in the magazine. Ideally, these stories would be written by people who are more closely associated with them than I am. The call for origin stories is still open to all our readers — famous or not. We want to celebrate the diverse backgrounds of people who have found a home in the gear industry. You don’t need to be a published author, an engineer, or even a manager to qualify — just a gear guy or gal.