Every once in a while, we decide to feature an item from our archives in our print news section. This spotlight often provides a synopsis of a cool application of hydraulic or pneumatic components from the issue of the same month 25 or 50 years ago.
So as I was reviewing our January 1988 and 1963 issues, something struck me — a lot has changed in our industry and yet so much has stayed the same. Clearly, the biggest change has been the size of the industry; that is, the number of players.
Our January issue has traditionally been one of the biggest issues, due in part to our printed Designer's Guide. This department has always been a favorite with both readers and advertisers alike, so it's no wonder the issues have always been thicker than normal, this year included.
Looking at the list of companies in the Designer's Guide charts from 50 years ago is enlightening. It's great to see some long-time names still present today, such as Parker, Kepner, Clippard, Brand Hydraulics, Denison, Donaldson, The Lee Company, Numatics Inc., and many more; but there were many whose names I have never heard of in eight years in the fluid power industry — Rivette Inc., Hydraulics Research & Mfg., Seitz Mfg., Adel Products, Fawick Hydraulic, Dowty Group, and Crest Hydraulics were some of the names that appeared in several charts. Mergers and acquisitions mean less players, and yet the industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
This growth is reflected in the number of charts we provide data in. In 1963, just 26 charts were printed. And today, although we'll only have room to print about 15, we do provide product specifications and data on close to 50 categories in our online Designer's Guide.
So yes, we too may be smaller than we were in the past, but we're still a mighty publication and content provider in a mighty industry. This is no surprise in a mature industry that sees new developments regularly but also sees no need for real change — the power density of hydraulics and pneumatics is unparalleled and will continue to be used where compact and powerful machines need to operate.