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Passion's Promise, by John Miller

Meet the carriage maker from Missouri: Actually, you already did before you got to work this morning and you will meet him again before you get home tonight—not the person of course, but the product of his passion. You, along with millions of others, are the benefactors of passion’s promise.  The story does not begin in Missouri, nor does it end there. It begins in Bremen, Germany where a young lad of seven boarded the Bremen Barque Sophie with his family and embarked on a voyage to the land of limitless promise....
Meet the carriage maker from Missouri: Actually, you already did before you got to work this morning and you will meet him again before you get home tonight—not the person of course, but the product of his passion. You, along with millions of others, are the benefactors of passion’s promise.
     The story does not begin in Missouri, nor does it end there. It begins in Bremen, Germany where a young lad of seven boarded the Bremen Barque Sophie with his family and embarked on a voyage to the land of limitless promise.
    They settled in St. Louis, Missouri where the young farm boy became an apprentice carriage maker as a teenager. A few years later, a craftsman with skills honed to perfection emerged, providing tools for a passion that still affects the way the world turns.
     His passion for problem solving produced practical products to make the world work better. To be sure, carriage making had its problems and the young craftsman began to solve them. As carriages jostled across the continent’s unpaved roads both passengers and carriages were subjected to the destructive effects of vibration. For the passengers it spelled discomfort, for the carriages an early demise.
    The problem was clear, the solution required skill, and he had the passion to find it. Thus, the crossover “buggy” spring was born.   The new spring system provided a smoother, more stable ride for the passengers and isolated the carriage from the destructive forces of vibration. Transportation moved to a new level of comfort, and the carriage maker from Missouri became a phenomenal success. A number of years later he did what remains fashionable to this day: He retired young to the comfortable climate of San Diego, California after making a fortune.
    But the new life was short lived because passion does not retire. “The man who could devise something that would reduce friction fundamentally would achieve something of real value to the world," the carriage maker observed.
    In 1892 he abandoned retirement and developed a product that consistently delivers real value, even today. Wherever wheels turn—whether on a Mars Rover or on a buggy wheel in Holmes County—Henry Timken’s tapered bearings continue to defy the laws of friction allowing easy rotary motion that lightens the burden of beast and machine alike.
     His pervasive passion inspired five generations to carry forward the baton and made the Timken tapered bearing an international enterprise. More importantly the legacy promises to live on because a fifth generation leader with a Timken surname remains committed to Henry’s values as he leads The Timken Company into the twenty-first century.
     Henry Timken’s passion provides a time tested example of the proverb: “Whatever your hand finds to do; do it with all your might.”
     What is your passion’s promise? Could it improve the world? If you don’t pursue it you will never know.

Comments

 
By: Mike Bennett
On: 03/16/2009 14:44:38
Thanks for introducing us to Henry Timken and his practical, creative passion! It's great to see such a tradition being carried on in the 21st century.

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