Honoring Our Past, Hoping to Repeat It
It was noted philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist—and we assume weekend electroplater—George Santayana who mumbled something about ‘those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’
I do not entirely agree with George’s assertion, simply because I don’t think I am “condemned” if I repeat history (which I actually did after ninth grade, and again when I was a struggling college sophomore and couldn’t remember much in those days).
But I do agree with Santayana when I say we should remember as much of the past as we can in the electroplating field, and maybe if we are lucky we can repeat what some of the distinguished minds accomplished with a fledgling new industry that brought together the best in electrochemistry and manufacturing.
Several months ago, we celebrated that past. Just before the National Association for Surface Finishing annual conference at Sur/Fin in Cleveland—home of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame—we pondered in print who would be the first inductees into the electroplating hall of fame, if indeed there were such a thing.
The exercise gave us pause to research some historical figures in electroplating history, both industrialists who sought to protect their products before selling them to the masses, and the chemists who studied the nature of coatings and came up with innovative ways to use natural elements to prevent rust and corrosion, and even beautify industrial products.
Our research narrowed us down to five core inductees: Luigi Brugnatelli, John Wright, Lubomyr Ramankiw, Colin Fink and Kevie Schwartz, all turn-of-the-century guys who spearheaded research and field applications of the basis of the electroplating industry.
We truly didn’t think there would be a Part II of our Hall of Fame, but we were pleasantly surprised when we heard from so many readers suggesting we continue the effort, some with very passionate arguments about who should be in the next set of inductees. And we totally agree.
With that, Products Finishing is proud to continue the endeavor of recognizing our industry’s brightest, to bring prestige on those who staked their claim pushing forward the innovation and technology that has made the electroplating industry what it is today.
But we didn’t want to be the sole arbiters of who was worthy of being enshrined, and who didn’t make the cut. So we enlisted the help of about a dozen individuals who will serve as a committee to vet the nominations, pare down the list, and eventually help us select a few worthy souls.
But we also need you, our readers, to help us decide who should be inducted in the Electroplating Hall of Fame. Now through the end of December, we would like to gather your nominations.
Please visit PFonline.com/EHOF and complete a simple online form to nominate someone for consideration. We’ll need to know his or her history and credentials, and then we’ll have our blue-ribbon committee sort through the nominees and bring us a new group of inductees.
The criteria for selection is pretty simple. The nominee should have done one or more of the following:
Significantly improved electroplating efficiency and productivity through process or technology innovations,
Established widely-accepted best practices in electroplating areas such (but not limited to) applications, product development, quality, safety or supply chain and logistics,
Set new standards for electroplating in areas such as innovation, technology and industry education,
Influenced, supported and advocated for the electroplating industry through research, writing, activism, policies or thought leadership,
Promoted and advanced the electroplating industry through volunteer efforts in local chapters and national committees.
Think back to all the people you as a reader have come across in the electroplating field, or maybe heard speak at a conference many moons ago. Or maybe someone from your own company who developed a process or product that changed the way the industry electroplates today.
We’ll announce the newest inductees in an upcoming issue in 2015, and provide an historical biography of their significance to the industry. Hopefully, it will be something we will do every year to celebrate those whose ideas and ingenuity have shaped our industry and provided us employment.
And maybe down the road some of you can repeat what these historical figures in the electroplating industry did so many years ago. We want to remember our history, celebrate our past and honor those who came before us.
The first time John Lindstedt met Milt Stevenson Sr. was in the 1970s when Lindstedt considered installing an electroless nickel line in his plating operation in Milwaukee.
Products Finishing recently lost one of its own. Jerry Poll was a well-loved figure in the surface finishing industry who led our brand for many years.
Abner Brenner, Dr. George E.F. Brewer, Daniel Brockman, Richard Crain, Pieter de Lange, Ronald Duncan, Dr. Erwin Gemmer, David Marsh and Blair Vandivier were picked by an independent panel of industry executives.