Fast-forward two hundred years to the late 1970s and beyond. The American special machine tool industry is flourishing and the computer age is emerging at an astonishing pace
The fledgling industries commonly referred to as high tech, that is, computer and peripheral hardware products, software, and telecommunications, found themselves in the same blessed environment as the early Yankees were in. It was the “no rules environment” in a technological revolution that encouraged free thought and innovation. There were no precedents for things that needed to be done. Those industries would mushroom from nothing and prosper and the technology would advance at blinding speed in a culture of Yankee ingenuity.
The American special machine tool industry, the industry in which Yankee ingenuity manifested itself probably more than in most others, is at its peak. It is providing worldwide manufacturers a continuous stream of fresh ideas and the hardware and software to implement them. It was growing and prospering. .
In the mid 1970s, a manufacturer of small gasoline engines was preparing for a forecasted market expansion by evaluating costs and manufacturing effectiveness. In effect, he was preparing expanded production capability to be as competitive as possible in exploiting that potential. At the time, certain components, pistons for example, were produced in Asia for cost-efficiency. One of their new efforts included exploring the prospects of new and innovative manufacturing techniques wherever they might be found.