Awards & Engraving

June '16

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6 • A&E JUNE 2016 W ho's up for a little history lesson? I myself am always intrigued by historical events—they shape and determine what life is today. For example, without the Suffragettes, women wouldn't have the right to vote. In honor of this month's Product Focus on Laser Engraving Equipment and Supplies, I thought it would be fun to dive into the industry's history and how it's shaped what it is today. For some extra insight, I recruited Molly Tabery of Kern Laser Systems to discuss the topic. Keep in mind that the history of laser engraving is quite extensive and we could discuss the topic for hours. Following, I focus on just a few interesting highlights. If you want to go way, way back into laser engraving, you might start with Albert Einstein developing the theory of radiation and light emission. According to Tabery, that set the stage for the later development of the "laser". But if you're just interested in the laser engraver as we know and love it today, Bill Lawson is your guy. He is one of the true pioneers of laser engraving, although there is some controversy surrounding who actually invented the first laser/laser engraver. That is a story for another day, but I do think it's worth mentioning. It's also worth mentioning that the laser as we know it today went through several major transitions, tweaks and changes; the original laser engraving machine is quite different compared to the current designs. Some other names that are rather important in laser engraving history include Charles Townes and Arthur Schawlow, inventors of the "maser" (microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation). Theodore Maiman invented the first ruby laser, but Gordon Gould is generally credited as the first person to use the word "laser". Regardless of who is the true inventor of the laser engraving machine, what all of these men do have in common is their innovative minds and creativity. Tabery agrees with that point. She and I are both amazed at what can happen when creative minds come together, a trend that's still strong in today's industry. She also emphasizes a point that I think is crucial to the current state of affairs: the sky is the limit for the various substrates that can be engraved. The wide selection of substrates isn't the only benefit to laser engraving. These machines are also now used in so many different industries along with the awards industry—medical, architectural, automotive and the list goes on. Which brings me to another historical point I'd like to highlight: What started out as a cumbersome, rugged and large machine has advanced to something that is sleek and has a clean design. These attributes also make it a desirable piece of equipment. I hope you enjoyed this brief history of laser engraving. And don't forget to check out the Laser Engraving Equipment and Supplies product section on page 24. Until next time. WANT TO KNOW MORE? Visit our website at, where you can find tons of articles about the awards market plus all the latest news going on around the industry. And don't forget to check us out on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Have a topic you want to discuss? Give me a call at 720-566-7278 or email me at A History Lesson Cassie Green EDITOR INSCRIPTIONS Volume 29, Number 4 PUBLISHER Dan Peckham — EDITOR Cassandra Green — ADVERTISING ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Anna Barba — Shanna Rowley — SALES SUPPORT Rebecca Corona — ART & ADVERTISING DESIGN ART DIRECTOR Kim M. Wright GRAPHIC DESIGNER Dayne Pillow MULTIMEDIA PRODUCER Andrew Bennett EDITORIAL CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Stephen Capper, Ruth Dobbins, Kevin Lumberg, TJ Kvilhaug, Richard Korbyl, Jim Sadler, Vince DiCecco, Jansen White DIGITAL CONTENT EDITOR Natalie Frels NATIONAL BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. PRESIDENT & CEO Robert H. Wieber Jr. VICE PRESIDENT/FINANCE Kori Gonzales, CPA VICE PRESIDENT/INTEGRATED MEDIA John Bennett VICE PRESIDENT/PUBLISHING AND MARKETS Dave Pomeroy VICE PRESIDENT/AUDIENCE Lori Farstad DIRECTOR OF IT Wolf Butler VICE PRESIDENT/EVENTS Sue Hueg CEM, CMP — EXECUTIVE TRADE SHOW SALES MANAGER Brandy Jamison-Neth — EXHIBITOR SERVICES Jackie Horn —

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