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Leno: Precision machining built the world as we know it
I’m not trying to start a book club or anything, but I stumbled on a summer read that I just couldn’t put down. Before I say what it is, I should mention that one of my heroes is Henry M. Leland, the founder of Cadillac and Lincoln. Before Leland got into the car business, he ran a machining business that made components for sewing machines and guns. He was one of the first pioneers of standardized, interchangeable parts, which requires the ability to measure and machine things down to fractions of an inch and to do it repeatedly and reliably.
The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World is the story of how people developed that ability. Because if you’ve ever wondered how we went from chiseling rocks to making microchip transistors that are 13.5-billionths of a meter wide, then author Simon Winchester has a tale for you.
not sure from the intro/verbiage if this is Jay, but frm just a lill westa U (Pioneer Valley, W.MA, CT & VT) we hada great revolution (water wheel, beginning of the industrial rev, tool'n die, or tool cutting industry.) Frm Spfld, VT to Hartford, CT for 2, 300 yrs we had the world by the xxx (in that regard). Aero space engineering late 60s. Then the (ur wrds) the "bean counters", the MBAs, stock mrkt guys desimasted the industry. Arbitrage, 1/4ly stock reports, no mater the viability of the co, no matter the long term survival and profitability - just the nxt 3 mo profits' all that matters...
I'm 68 y/o, a late comer to this as a machinists (during college - 3 - 11 Greenfield Tap'n Die; 9 - 3 class) but there wuz lota healthy competition. "Millers Falls" v Gfld T&D v Starret etc. The management would come dwn onto the fl, ask us "Whadda ya guys got now?" "Hey boss, ya know what? I think we can beat MF. I got some ideas. How bout we try xxx?" and we wrked together. No longer (lookat autowrkers/teamsters). Then late 70s (frm mid), they did not care. Pressure frm above? who knows. The lay offs started. The **bleep** ('n a few German) machines came in - numerical controlled (CNC) Mitsubishi etc. It was over (300 yrs of usa dominance).
Ck the european answ. Started when we hada challenge (heck the whole world did) at the Great Depression, a 90 yr experiment we could emulate: