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A Great Tradition to Honor on Groundhog Day

Some people think that manufacturing, metalworking and machine tool building in America are only a shadow of what they were in the past. But consider the famous groundhog celebrated on this uniquely American holiday. It’s not whether you look for shadows, but rather how you honor a rich tradition by creating a bright future. Here’s a slice of some machine tool history to celebrate.

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Groundhog Day has been celebrated for more than 100 years in the United States and Canada. Its origins go back to misty, even mystic, traditions of folklore. If the groundhog sees his shadow (because the day is sunny), then winter will drag on. If he doesn’t (because the day is cloudy), then spring will be here soon.
 
Cloudy day means spring thaw, sunny day means prolonged chill—sounds like the confusing economic forecasts we see these days. Many of us in manufacturing like to be optimists. We have a rich tradition, and despite the predictions of many pundits, we think manufacturing has a bright future in North America.
 
In fact, the history of machine tool building in the United States shows the strong tradition behind the development and use of manufacturing technology that we are still building on today. History buffs may be interested in the chart which you can enlarge and explore. It shows the “family tree” of certain machine tool builders with roots in the Cincinnati area. We recently worked with Tom Clark, VP of Makino, to update this chart and are grateful for his help. You’ll also find a short slide show of some vintage images related to machine tool history provided by the Cincinnati Museum Center.
 

Finally, let’s hope all the groundhogs out there keep a sunny disposition, no matter what the weather is like outside their dens.