Audio Recording "In my mind's eye, we're trying not to be custom."

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"In my mind's eye, we're trying not to be custom."
Contributor Names
McLaughlin, Ian M. Watson (Narrator)
McCarl, Robert (Interviewer)
Created / Published
Subject Headings
-  Oral history
-  Interviews
-  Sound recordings
-  Family-run businesses
-  Watson Machine International
-  Machinery industry
-  Ethnography
-  United States -- New Jersey -- Paterson
-  Interview with Ian McLaughlin, CEO, Watson Machine International.
-  Summary of audio segment: Ian goes on to talk about philosophy of the company. "In my mind's eye we're trying not to be custom. If we are going to manufacture, we are going to try to refine the manufacturing process. We we're not going to be a . . . there used to be a fitting department because everything that came out of the machine shop had to be fitted together. Now you've got to make sure it comes out right the first time so you don't have to fit it. That's the basic precept from hand-craftsmanship . . . I mean, in the 'seventies everything was hand-crafted; and the tolerances weren't on the drawings right and all that; and to come back and re-do all of that has been a big sweat. But the custom side of things is very difficult to make money on. Unless you've got a very good reputation. And we had a reputation for being moribund. "There's Watson, you want to see how a place can go downhill?" There's a great story and you know, Watson machines are still a backbone machine in the wire industry. And they run forever. Everybody would like to have a Watson. But if you can make a Watson come back and perform . . . and pragmatically moved with the punches, so we've aligned ourselves with the Japanese and we've aligned ourselves with various Europeans. We do have a knowledge of the market, we are Americans, we don't have, you know, when I look at the Kinrei machine to begin with back in 1978, I came back to the engineers, they said, 'oh, we can make that.' I said 'Well what the hell do we want to do that for? If they're making it, and they've rationalized it, we'll join them.' And that was well before anybody ever thought the Japanese were really as serious as they were. That was just the beginning, the Japanese started becoming the miracle people in the 'eighties. That would be a big switch, and I don't think my great grandfather would be able to do something like that. He'd say 'we'll make it ourselves.' I mean he went down with the ship in the car business; he wanted to make his own cars, because he liked cars."
Analog Audio Cassette
Call Number/Physical Location
AFC 1995/028: WIP-RM-A011
Source Collection
Working in Paterson Project Collection (AFC 1995/028)
American Folklife Center
Digital Id
Online Format

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Credit line

Working in Paterson Project collection, 1993-2002 (AFC 1995/028), American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Mclaughlin, Ian M. Watson, and Robert McCarl. "In my mind's eye, we're trying not to be custom.". -08-17, 1994. Audio.

APA citation style:

McLaughlin, I. M. W. & McCarl, R. (1994) "In my mind's eye, we're trying not to be custom.". -08-17. [Audio] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Mclaughlin, Ian M. Watson, and Robert McCarl. "In my mind's eye, we're trying not to be custom.". -08-17, 1994. Audio. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.