Don Whitney worked at Fellows Gear Shaper from 1938 to 1987, where he was a machinist, engineer, and cutting tool designer.
He began working at Fellows Gear fresh out of the Springfield High School co-op program. He later served as a mentor for young Springfield machinists.
Don was involved with the American Precision Museum museum for many years, and also assisted the Great Hall in Springfield, dedicated to the machine tool industry.
In the early 1950s, he was using a hand-cranked calculator to help design the tools for cutting automobile and aircraft gears. But in 1955, Fellows bought an early electronic computer—the Bendix G-15—to do the calculations much more quickly. Whitney soon taught himself to maintain and program the computer.
In the photo shown above, Using the Bendix G-15 to design gear cutting tools, Whitney types in the variables for a particular calculation. Three or four minutes later, the typewriter will print out the answers. Previously, using a mechanical computer, the calculation would have taken three or four hours. Whitney and his co-workers also wrote programs for designing cams, elliptical gears, and stress analysis of machine elements.