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The Man Who Saw TomorrowThe Life and Inventions of Stanford R. Ovshinsky$
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Lillian Hoddeson and Peter Garrett

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780262037532

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262037532.001.0001

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Smarter Machines (1944–1952)

Smarter Machines (1944–1952)

(p.45) 3 Smarter Machines (1944–1952)
The Man Who Saw Tomorrow

Lillian Hoddeson

Peter Garrett

The MIT Press

This chapter traces Ovshinsky’s transition from machinist to inventor. It deals mainly with his first important invention, an innovative automatic lathe. After returning to Akron, he started his own company, Stanford Roberts, where he built the prototype of his Benjamin center drive lathe, followed by more advanced models. The lathe’s superior performance led to expansion of the company, but financial difficulties eventually led Ovshinsky to sell Stanford Roberts to the New Britain Machine Tool Company, where his lathe was spectacularly successful in machining artillery shell cases for use in the Korean War. Intent on further automating his lathe, he studied cybernetics and applied its principles of using sensors and feedback to the automation of other devices, like a self-guided tractor.

Keywords:   automatic lathe, center drive, cybernetics, automation, New Britain Machine

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