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Forums keep the dialog going

Since long before I became affiliated with Hydraulics & Pneumatics nearly 20 years ago, our Readers' Forum department has been a means for readers to share their comments with us and other readers. In this day of bulletin boards, blogs, guest books, and other on-line opportunities, you might think Readers' Forum may have finally lived out its useful life.

It's true, we don't get as many letters to the editor in the mail as we did in the past. However, we often receive e-mails and phone calls from readers and non-readers seeking a source of a particular component or information on a company no longer in business at a particular phone number. Whether the inquiry comes from a subscriber or non-subscriber, we always try our best to help out however we can. Sometimes a quick answer can be found in our own Fluid Power Handbook & Directory or Designer's Guide. A few inquiries may lead to a dead end, but we can usually refer the inquirer to some other informational source.

Many of the e-mails we receive, however, are from readers offering comments about an editorial or article in our magazine. Sometimes, we suggest they post their comments onto our one-year-old Fluid Power Forums, a popular online community with more that 250 registered members. Posting to this site only requires a brief registration and affords the participants some degree of anonymity. However, if the comments seem to have a widespread interest, they'll make their way into Readers' Forum in the printed magazine.

This month, for example, two letters appear in our Readers' Forum. Both were much longer than we had space for. So we edited one down as best we could without losing the spirit of the message. The other contains some interesting history.

So if either of these topics piques your interest, I suggest you go to our forums to read more. Just go to and click on the Editorial Comments subforums. I can almost guarantee you'll find something of interest. Who knows? You may even become so moved that you leave your own comments.