Lights. . . camera. . . hydraulics

Okay, no beating around the bush. Mark your calendar now to be home on Wednesday, May 12, 10:00 pm, Eastern Daylight Time. If that conflicts with your schedule, set up your VCR to start recording The History Channel for one hour starting at that time.

What's the big deal? The History Channel will air an episode of its award-winning series, Modern Marvels, showcasing hydraulics. That's right, hydraulics. So for one full hour, millions of viewers will be spellbound learning how hydraulics works and what it can do. Well, spellbound might be too strong a word, but this program will present an opportunity for our families and friends to learn a little about the technology with which we work.

If you're like me, a session of channel flipping often stops at The History Channel. And while coverage of World War II tops my list of preferred viewing, Modern Marvels is a close second. Modern Marvels caters to the inquisitive nature of engineers and others who are mechanically inclined and have an insatiable appetite to learn how things work.

Although I have not seen any part of the episode on hydraulics, I did speak with Scott Goldie of Actuality Productions, Los Angles, who is producing the episode. Scott mentioned that the producers of Modern Marvels have worked out a winning format they use time and again. After finding a wealth of information about hydraulics on our website, he contacted us to gain some insight on all things hydraulic.

Act One of Modern Marvels is intended to grab viewers' attention and show them the breadth of subject. In this case, we'll see examples of simple, low-tech hydraulics along with state-of-the-art electrohydraulic systems. And as always, plenty of footage from on-camera interviews of industry experts will be interspersed throughout the entire episode.

Act Two summarizes the history of hydraulics, eventually bringing viewers up to speed on the technology as we know it today. Expect to see lots of archival footage and images as only The History Channel can provide.

To show how the technology has literally changed the face of the Earth, Act Three will demonstrate hydraulics at work in construction equipment. Act Four should be equally impressive in showing how instrumental hydraulics has been in the aerospace sector. Act Five will wrap up the episode on a fun note by going behind the scenes to look at several applications in the entertainment industry.

So make sure you have some popcorn, and tell your friends. Who knows, maybe hydraulics will even be the topic of discussion around the water cooler on Thursday morning.


Alan L. Hitchcox
editor