Joseph Gerber invented the Gerber
Variable Scale and the GERBERcutter.
According to the Gerber Scientific
website, "While studying aeronautical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic
Institute (1945), H. Joseph Gerber was frequently required to solve intricate
and time-consuming mathematical problems, many involving the plotting of
points. One night, in an effort to reduce the tedious and repetitive nature
of his homework assignments, he created an "expandable ruler" from the
elastic waistband of his pajama bottoms -- thereby inventing a new method
of scaling distances between points. An instant sensation on campus, his
invention was eventually modified to incorporate a unique triangular spring...giving
birth to the Gerber Variable Scale ® The Gerber Scientific Instrument
Company was incorporated in 1948 to refine and manufacture H. Joseph Gerber's
original Variable Scale."