Numerical control pioneer honored as part of IMTS show

Members of the machine tool industry celebrated 50 years of numerical control on Sept. 10 by honoring the man credited with conceiving the idea. As part of the recent IMTS Show, Sept. 9-16 in Chicago, John T. Parsons was honored for his pivotal contribution to the industry at a VIP event hosted by Manufacturing Data Systems Inc.

By Staff October 1, 1998

Members of the machine tool industry celebrated 50 years of numerical control on Sept. 10 by honoring the man credited with conceiving the idea. As part of the recent IMTS Show, Sept. 9-16 in Chicago, John T. Parsons was honored for his pivotal contribution to the industry at a VIP event hosted by Manufacturing Data Systems Inc. (MDSI, Ann Arbor, Mich.) in cooperation with Electronic Data Systems (EDS, Plano, Tex.), and Microsoft (Redmond, Wa.).

Some of the key speakers at the event were Dick Mathias, technical fellow for Boeing; Hank Terry, corporate CAD/CAM PDM manager for Parker-Hannifin; and Bob Macier, vp of control systems products division for Caterpillar. The dual keynote speakers of the night were MDSI’s original founder, Chuck Hutchins, and the company’s current president and ceo, Larry Schultz. All speakers expressed heartfelt indebtedness to Mr. Parsons for the positive impact his concept had on their lives.

“It was only a beginning, but it was a good beginning,” said Mr. Parsons as he addressed the crowd. “I am enormously pleased of course at what NC has become.” When asked if he ever thought his concept would have had the impact it has, Mr. Parsons replied, “No, I was just trying to make wing panels for the Air Force. I didn’t have time to think about that. I was running a business.”