Inspired By: My Grandfather


My Grandpa Ralph passed away last year after a long and full life with good health into his 90’s. I was the very fortunate recipient of an archive of his drawings from a long career of design and drafting various large caliber weapons and turrets for the defense industry. His career stems from his time as a mechanic in the Air Corps in World War II, specializing in maintaining guns on bombers, and extended into the 1980’s when he trained young engineers on the correct magnitude of tolerance for production drawings. He was a perfectionist and an expert draftsman and this collection of drawings —ranging from the amazing isometric drawing attached to this post to large format production drawings—are works of art that I can spend hours going through.

I have a special connection to my grandfather on this as he and my grandmother bought me my first Crayola drafting set and he taught me the basics of drafting at an early age on this clear plastic parallel bar. (He also passed along a weird seemingly hereditary trait of sticking my tongue out and slightly to the left when I draw, but that may be material for a later post.) This early introduction to understanding how imagination could be described and explored in drawings helped to propel my interest in Architecture and my eventual career.

drafting arm

Along with the drawings I received one of his drafting arms, now a relic in the CAD age, which is now hung in the lobby of our offices. When I walk past it I am reminded of how he fostered my early love of drawing and am thankful of how he inspired me.