R.O. Vandercook from Graphic Arts Monthly July 1937
But for the Craftsmen’s and similar organizations, it would have been impossible for manufacturers like ourselves to have developed our line of machines and to give.
When you are talking about the advantages of membership in your organization—and there are many that to the members are very obvious—there is one great advantage that usually is not mentioned; that is the aid that organizations or users of mechanical devices do give to the development of the right ideas in equipment. When you gather together for the purpose of talking shop, the comparison of your experience with tools and equipment develops facts that are of great value to manufacturers as well as to yourselves.
The manufacturer who wants to do the best he can, gets, in the shortest time, evidence from you that would take him months if he had to dig it out at your individual plants. You come together as a jury. Each one of you has some evidence. You all know what is established practice, and if a change is proposed, you know what has been done, and you are in a position to give an intelligent consideration of suggested improvements.
You take counsel with one another, and in the multitude of counselors, there is safety. You tell your fellow member about your equipment and he tells you about his. You compare the cost of production in relation to equipment. You know the slogan “Share your knowledge” is the most beneficial slogan ever adopted by a trade organization. If a brother in the organization is getting better results than you are with the same equipment. You know that your weakness is apt to be the lack: of understanding and operation of the equipment. That may not be a fault on your part but an error on the part of the dealer who sold your equipment in not instructing you properly in its operation. You do not buy machines but you buy what they will do for you. You should not buy equipment from “order takers” but from those who know how to install the devices so that they will give you the greatest amount of value in their products. Many a good invention has been crushed out of existence by big; combinations because the inventor did not see to it that those who first bought his device were properly instructed in its use. When a high-pressure salesman gives you strong talk about a device on which his company can make a big juicy profit and you know that a device made by another manufacturer is better for your purpose you instinctively get on the side of the second manufacturer and tell what you know when you attend your meetings.
It is in the operation and use that machines are developed and improved. The inventor furnished the basic idea, which of course, must be fundamentally correct. The privilege that you give an inventor to watch the operation of his device at practical work in your shop is of the greatest value to its development. No matter how sound the basic idea of an invention, I do not know of a single invention that has been perfected by the inventor alone. You may not be conscious that you are giving assistance. You operate the device, and in your enthusiasm, you encourage the inventor by highest praise, but if he is a wise person, he will give scant heed to your words of praise. He will give all his attention to the work his device is doing. He will see improvements and defects that you will never see. Praise, if not absolutely sincere and given without an absolute foundation of fact, does great harm in developing an invention. It gives the inventor a false sense of security.
The man developing a machine will spend his greatest effort in endeavoring to find more simple methods of performing an operation. He will have constantly in his mind the desire to accomplish the purpose with the fewest parts, the shortest distances of travel, and the most direct application of power. These three considerations—the fewest possible parts, the shortest distance of travel, and the most direct application of power, have brought out the greatest improvements in mechanical devices. The more nearly a basic idea is correct, the better can that formula be applied. It is much easier to build a many parts machine that will work after a manner than it is to design revolutionary machines with simple motions and few parts that will do the work in the best manner. It is by the implication of motion that the greatest improvements have been made.