There seems to be a Hall of Fame for everything else, so why should fluid power be any different? I remember seeing a Fluid Power Hall of Fame plaque displayed at trade shows back in my early days on H&P. The plaque was made of finished wood, and a couple small chains hung down from it, with inscribed plates attached bearing the name of each inductee. There were nine original inductees from the mid-1960s, and more were probably added in subsequent years.
The Fluid Power Hall of Fame wasn’t dead, it had just been forgotten. I had looked into reactivating it several years ago, so I contacted people in the industry who might know what happened to the original Fluid Power Hall of Fame. First, I checked with NFPA. The response was that the Hall of Fame had not been sponsored by or conducted by the NFPA. Strike one. Then I checked with the Fluid Power Society. No one there had any evidence that IFPS had anything to do the Hall of Fame. Strike two.
After more inquiries, Jack Johnson, former director of the Fluid Power Institute at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, mentioned that the Milwaukee School of Engineering may have created the Fluid Power Hall of Fame. In response, I contacted Tom Wanke, my go-to guy at MSOE. He confirmed that MSOE took part in the Fluid Power Hall of Fame, and he, too, had seen the plaques—and maybe even some documentation. But that had been years before, and he did not know the whereabouts of any of the materials. So that looked like strike three.
I guess the wheels were turning behind the scenes because IFPS sent out communications a few months ago asking individuals to nominate candidates for a new Fluid Power Hall of Fame. Just this past June, IFPS officially launched the website for the Fluid Power Hall of Fame. I think this a great start because it finally (again) recognizes some of the people who have helped advance hydraulics and pneumatics technologies through their professional and voluntary efforts. You’ll find the Fluid Power Hall of Fame at www.fluidpowerhalloffame.org.
However, more is needed because many deserving individuals have been relegated to a “Legacy Award” section, rather than being inducted as full-fledged Hall of Famers. IFPS refers to these individuals as “fluid power pioneers,” yet they were not inducted as members. Most are now deceased, and many founded companies still with us today, such as Sun Hydraulics, Bimba Mfg., Vickers Mfg. (now part of Eaton), and Womack Machine Supply Co. Others’ contributions were in the form of books, periodicals, and other technical resources.
Click here for more information, including the names of new inductees, posthumous inductees, and “Legacy Award” members.