H. Joseph Gerber
Class of 1947
Inventor, Engineer, Industrialist
1924 - 1996
Gerber immigrated to Hartford, Conn., from Austria in 1940, and completed high school in two years while working full time.
As a junior at Rensselaer he invented a graphical numerical computer called the Gerber Variable Scale, which has been called the most revolutionary engineering tool since the slide rule. It was the first product to launch the Gerber Scientific Instrument Co.
For nearly five decades Gerber was the driving force behind Gerber Scientific’s evolution from a one-product company to a major supplier of automated manufacturing systems.
Gerber Garment Technology manufactures and markets the computer-controlled GERBERcutter fabric cutting systems used to cut apparel, footwear, upholstery, automotive fabrics, and special composite materials for aircraft.
Gerber, who held nearly 650 patents, was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1994. Several of his inventions are on display at the Smithsonian Institution.