August 28, 2023
Graham Penning’s career in gears began around the time mine did, the early 1970s, and although our paths have never crossed they are very similar. David Brown Industries [the DB in that famous James Bond DB5 automobile] was a formidable international competitor to my employer on large mill drives and process line orders. We were taking on U.S. distribution of their Radicon worm gear products when I started my apprenticeship in March of 1971 and I get a chuckle out of each of their drawings having “If in doubt, ask!” imprinted on it. And we had plenty of questions to ask; two countries divided by a common language is not just a literary opinion. Our understanding of gears, forces, and combined stresses was much different in those pre-computer days. I certainly agree with Mr. Penning’s position that there is always something new to learn about gears. Gear Technology devotes most of its editorial pages to keeping the international engineering community informed on leading edge developments in our field. As mentioned in this blog frequently, we do not want to forget about readers who may not be “ready” for those innovations. 2018’s blog was devoted to “fundamentals” and the magazine actively looks for interesting content that will assist those just beginning on their journey. It is great to read that the British Gear Association is developing educational packets suitable for all age levels. Having visited a few elementary schools myself to teach about gears, I know that this is not an easy task, in part because fewer children have the sort of mechanical toys Graham and I played with as boys. The task is not impossible, however, and youngsters will still ponder that differential axle. Recently I gave an electric slot car racing set from a garage sale to the kids living next door. They are already racing around on tiny ATVs so I figured they needed something other than video games for rainy summer days. Why not look into ways you and your company can promote gear education long before college?