Reading

Story of a Creative Mind

David J. Gerber has recently published the biography of his father’s life: “The Inventor’s Dilemma – The Remarkable Life of H. Joseph Gerber”
1991

coverWe will never know whether the processors of flexible materials would still be cutting these materials manually with high-cost, error-prone and laborious manual operations to this very day, had it not been for him. Fact is that the automatic cutting of textiles of all sorts – even the cutting of leather – in its state-of-the-art form today using equipment made by a whole series of system providers for a multitude of finished products – all (and many more trendsetting technology inventions) goes back to him – Heinz Joseph Gerber.

Now David J. Gerber has published the biography of his father’s life: “The Inventor’s Dilemma – The Remarkable Life of H. Joseph Gerber”. Born in Vienna he spectacularly escapes from demise under the Nazi regime aged just 16 in 1940. After emigrating to the USA his rise began: Heinz now calls himself Joe, never looks back but always wants to, and will, look to the future. When he died in 1996, 677 patents had been filed under his name. The Smithsonian Museum in Washington even dedicates a whole department to his exhibits.

David Gerber has undertaken meticulous research, held innumerable interviews with leading personalities from the industries whose processes were decisively improved and often revolutionised by Joe Gerber, and has spoken to journalists and his father’s companions.

David Gerber, son of Heinz Joseph Gerber and author of “The Inventor’s Dilemma – The Remarkable Life of H. Joseph Gerber”
David Gerber, son of Heinz Joseph Gerber and author of “The Inventor’s Dilemma – The Remarkable Life of H. Joseph Gerber”

Like Irving Stone in his Michelangelo portrait, David Gerber tells us eloquently and consistently what was so extraordinary about H. Joseph Gerber’s life – as a creative mind and inventor, as a family man, and also as an entrepreneur. He laid the foundation for his technology companies in Hartford/Connecticut, just two hours away from the place he arrived at as a refugee in New England. Represented in 130 countries around the globe, Gerber Scientific Inc., Gerber Technology, Gerber Products and their subsidiaries as well as spin-offs specialised in niche technology solutions count among the global market leaders in their respective fields.

Despite being the inventor’s son, David Gerber has managed to strike the right balance of impartiality in his descriptions. Plenty of anecdotal reference makes us ponder and often also smile. “The Inventor’s Dilemma” is a volume somewhere between specialist literature and edutainment. You don’t have to be associated with textile processing to be fascinated by David Gerber‘s book. But for readers with a connection to this industry and with a passion for smart technologies it falls into the “must-read” category and, what’s more, it is also pleasant reading.

David Gerber’s noteworthy book about Joe Gerber, about technology and the responsibility it brings, about education, innovative thinking, the power to imagine and the courage to hope, is available in English.