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Inventor's paper for daughters ends up as tech magazine article

December 29, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

QUINCY, PA. - Feeling badly that his career often kept him away from home, Davis L. Baughman explained his inventions in a paper written for his four daughters.

That explanation, primarily about a patented process called "peen forming," evolved into an article published in the current issue of American Heritage of Invention & Technology Magazine.

In the article, Baughman takes readers through the process of shot peening that curves and strengthens aircraft wings.

"I discovered this process on my own in the laboratory at Pangborn (Corp.)," said Baughman, who moved to Quincy Village after leaving his home on Clopper Road near Leitersburg.

Baughman worked for Fairchild Aircraft Co. in Hagerstown for 20 years before starting as a machine designer at Pangborn. He retired as a principal engineer from that company and is listed as the inventor or co-inventor on nine patents.

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Metal fails when flexed repeatedly, but peen forming shoots tiny steel balls at the metal to stretch the surface and compress the materials underneath it.

When Lockheed began to design its third wide-body passenger jet, the L-1011, the company asked Pangborn if it could ping the wingskin.

"They came in, and I convinced them we could do it," Baughman said.

Baughman, who learned to fly at the Winchester (Va.) Piper Club, began to focus on traveling and engineering, selling machines in areas of the world like Israel, Taiwan and Europe.

"On all of those trips I took notes of all the interesting things that happened to me," Baughman said.

Those notes developed into the story given to the children in his retirement. Six months ago he submitted the story and a separate piece about Toledo swords to the Forbes Inc.-affiliated magazine he has received for a few years.

"A couple of weeks after I mailed it, I realized I never sent the (self-addressed, stamped) envelope, and I kissed the project goodbye," Baughman said.

However, true to Baughman's belief that things happen if you make them happen, that solicitation yielded a letter from the managing editor and publication of the story in the Winter 2007 issue on newsstands.

Several advance copies have allowed him to share the tale with his daughters in a whole new format.

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