As a child Dave would watch his father work. One of his most enduring memories was watching his father cut a square form screw thread on his large centre lathe. Watching his dad create a screw thread from a solid metal bar was magical. He didn’t understand the lathe gearing, speeds and feeds but what he witnessed was almost hypnotic. His father would ‘turn’ both internal and external threads so that they coupled together perfectly with no slack or ‘play’.
Dave understood that for a centre lathe to function it was itself dependent on screw threads and it left him with a sense of wonder. Who created the first screw thread and how did they make it without a lathe? It was one of those questions which he was happy to leave unanswered. What he knew for sure was that without screw threads our world would fall apart. Certainly screw threads were fundamental to everything from the industrial revolution, transport, technology and to construction of the tallest buildings in the world.
If ever Dave stopped to think about things which are important to him, his starting point would always be the screw thread. It was an anchor that grounded his thinking and gave him a sense of perspective about modern living that many have forgotten or maybe never knew. Often Dave would hear people say they couldn’t live without their car, smartphone, laptop or coffee maker! If ever asked what he couldn’t live without he would inevitably start with the screw thread and his list would also include a clean water system, a good sewage system, and maybe a knife. Thinking about these things was important in understanding how we have arrived where we are today. They also gave him a sense of proportion about the things he valued most. He didn’t take things for granted and questioned the value ‘lifestyle’ products which many people believe add value to their lives.
Dave preferred maps to GPS. They allowed him to see where he’s been as well as where he is going. A sense of history and clear vision was key to informing Dave’s world.