Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Letters

October 14, 2013

Oct. 14, 2013: Letters to the editor

Company had hand in making hardware

I read with much interest Ed Vasicek’s weekly column in the Oct. 6 Kokomo Tribune, “Hospital or hardware store”.

Sorry to say we have not met or conversed on the above subject, but his analogy is somewhat true.

Let me tell you of my personal experience. We at Tate Model & Engineering Inc., here in Kokomo, had the pleasure of being one of the first to work with the orthopedic industry in design and making of many of the present orthopedic prosthesis used today.

In the 1960s, I was presented with a human tibia and femur and asked if I could duplicate the knee joint. My experience as a master model maker and engineer caused me to view the specimen carefully for a few minutes, then I said, “I don’t know. God made that one, but I will do the best I can.” We agreed to a cost, and I proceeded with the project of making the first successful orthopedic prosthesis for the knee joint for one of the companies in Warsaw, Ind.

This company at that time had just five or six engineers in its employment. Since that time, this company has grown multiple times into one of the largest in the orthopedic industry. I am proud to say this replacement knee joint had a big part in the growth of the orthopedic industry. I have had the pleasure of working with several of the orthopedic companies, seeing some grow from a small, garage-size business to a worldwide, multibillion-dollar business.

This original knee is still being manufactured today and has been very successful. In fact, my wife still has two (one in each leg) since 1999.

Because of this knee joint I had the pleasure of working with many other orthopedic companies, helping them develop many other replacement implants for hips, fingers, ankles, toes, etc. We at Tate Model & Engineering were involved in the making of prototypes for surgical clinical trials for many of the orthopedic industry.

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