Twins Seperated at Birth

Turning Point


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As the father of twin girls, I’ve been more than casually interested in things relating to “twin-ness.” I recall a study a few years ago; I think it was done in Minnesota that looked at a large sample of twins. Part of the study looked at identical twins separated at birth.

An outcome of the study was more than a few cases of freaky coincidence in some of the separated twin’s lives even though they were not aware of each other until much later in life. Things like marrying someone with the same name, working in the same field, naming their children the same and several other unexplainable coincidences caused some real activity in the nature versus nurture debate.

Since my girls are fraternal, for me the findings are more of academic interest than anything that relates to the kids. It was, however, really interesting, and based on what I read, statistically these similarities were beyond mere coincidence. 

These studies were done over the closing decades of the 20th century. Now let’s jump to 2001. Metaphorically, that year the precision machined products industry gave birth to fraternal twins—Production Machining magazine and the Precision Machining Technology Show. I was in the delivery room for both.

The show was conceived as an outgrowth of the traditional Sunday afternoon tabletop exhibition held during the PMPA Technical Conference. Jack McNaughton, the late executive VP of PMPA was proffering the idea of creating a screw machine products trade show, unique to North America that would replace the tabletops in odd numbered years. This would give technical members an opportunity to display much more than could be accommodated on tables in a hotel ballroom.

Although PMTS was and is the only trade show in North America dedicated exclusively to products, services and processes for the precision machined parts industry, it is not the only such show in the world. The model for PMTS is the Simodec show held in even numbered years in La Roche-Sur-Foron in France. Simodec started in 1954 to serve a strong pocket of screw machine manufacturing in the valley where the show is located.

In 2000, Mr. McNaughton headed a delegation from the PMPA to see this trade show. Included in the group were myself and our then trade show manager, Melissa Kline Skavlem. We came, we saw, and we decided to do something similar in Columbus, Ohio, starting in the spring of 2001.

On April 26-28, 2001, PMTS was seen by the world of precision machining for the first time. Sadly, Jack McNaughton, the exhibition’s surrogate father passed away shortly before the show opened and never saw how born his idea was.

As for the other sibling in this set, Production Machining, its conception also came in 2000. At the time, I was senior editor for Modern Machine Shop and one of my “beats” was the screw machine industry. I had covered this segment since 1992, attending PMPA (then the National Screw Machine Products Association) meetings and visiting its member’s shops.

During the 1990s, a sea change was occurring in our industry. As I saw in my travels in Europe and Japan during this time, shops were adopting more efficient and productive technology to reduce direct manufacturing costs. By 2000, it was evident that this change was coming to domestic producers. Even the NSMPA changed its name to PMPA as a reflection of this change. We believed the industry was ready for a dedicated trade magazine that addressed these changes and those in the offing, so in January 2001 PM was launched.

I am proud of these siblings’ contribution to the industry that gave them life. The magazine and the show are linked by a mission to help their extended family overcome the many challenges faced by the precision machining business. Your participation is the gage of success.

This edition of the PMTS is its sixth, having weathered two bad recessions. This issue of Production Machining is its 100th, having weathered the same ups and downs.

While we only publish a special show issue every 2 years, it’s a special time because these twins get together along with an extended industry family for a rewarding reunion. I think the kids come from very good stock.