In 1951, a few people bet their livelihoods on saving a good idea.
Bill Moog had been working for Cornell Aeronautical Laboratories, in a team tasked with developing automatic control devices for use in advanced aircraft and guided missile applications. Bill's part in that was to invent a practical electro-hydraulic servovalve – a high performance control device.
He developed a design that he thought was an improvement on anything that had been done before. He took it to present to Johns Hopkins University, who were funding the project. They didn't think it was a breakthrough.
By the next morning, Bill had redrawn and redesigned his ideas. This time he was certain he had come up with a truly revolutionary servovalve. He showed it to Cornell. Nobody wanted it.
Bill was undeterred. The upside of the rejection was that, because nobody saw the potential in the device, nobody was going to stand in his way if he went out and made it himself. And that's what he did. He set up shop in an old airplane hangar. His brother Art sold his house and joined him. They got Lou Geyer to come on board to test the results and explain the product to customers. And they convinced a couple of machinists to agree to make the components, even though they couldn't pay them anything until the valves were sold.
But they did sell. And before long, that original servovalve was joined, one by one, by an inspiring portfolio of breakthrough products that helped shape the most high-tech industry sectors in the world. And those first few employees were joined by a growing workforce who subscribed to the same ideals as the three founders – that tough problems only serve to challenge those who are creative and determined to come up with even more ingenious solutions.