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Biography of Joseph Gerber published

Inventor of Signmaker equipment revolutionzed the sign industry

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“The Inventor’s Dilemma: The Remarkable Life of H. Joseph Gerber” has been published by Yale University Press, and is now available for distribution. Written by Gerber’s son, David, an attorney who formerly edited the Virginia Law Review, the 400-page book traces Heinz Joseph Gerber’s flight from a Dachau-bound train to escape to America during the Holocaust, through the process of devising inventions that resulted in more than 650 U.S. and foreign patents. One invention, which grew out of digital-plotting technologies that Gerber and his team previously introduced, was the Signmaker III, which unquestionably transformed the sign industry more than any other development in the second half of the 20th Century. Four pages are specifically devoted to the project. The book also discusses Gerber’s role in developing the first computerized, billboard painter under contract with Metromedia Technologies.
Overall, the book explains how Gerber was grateful to the U.S. for granting him a new life, and that he dedicated the rest of his life to improving both the quality of life and manufacturing efficiency by replacing tedious, repetitious tasks with automated equipment. Rather than improving existing systems, Gerber instead focused on completely novel approaches.
His first company, Gerber Scientific Instrument Co., was formed in 1946, based on his invention of a “variable scale.” The company most closely aligned with the sign industry, Gerber Scientific Products, which launched the Signmaker III, was chartered in 1979.

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