Gear Timezone

gear time zone outdoor product evolution

Outdoor Gear Evolution Recorded Forever

I have been involved in the outdoor industry now for a very long time. I have been increasingly concerned that much of the history of the industry is left unrecorded. Individual brands try to record some of their heritage on their websites.  Most of the bigger outdoor companies have changed ownership many times over the years, each time this happens a little more of the history is lost forever. Some of the groundbreaking outdoor innovators of yester-year are no longer with us to tell their stories.
I was therefore thrilled to learn about a new project by Mary Rose and Mike Parsons Innovator in Residence Lancaster University Management School.

The Gear timezone – is dedicated to being the best available record of historical product, the people and the companies involved in the mountains, outdoor and adventure sports world.
They have approached heritage from evolution of a product over time. It is therefore not brand specific, although groundbreaking innovations in the history of the product are recorded. This makes fascinating reading.

Their first product biography on Breathable Waterproof Jacket has just been published.  This will form part of a series of product biographies of key outdoor products tracing their evolution. It really does put the more recent developments in the context of time.

Mary and Mike state: “Developing waterproof, windproof, breathable textile fabrics began long before the Gore-Tex® in the 1970s. It started using natural textiles, including silk and wool in ancient civilisations and continued with cotton and linen in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries…”

At the recent Innov_ex conference Mike Parsons and Mary Rose told Rohantime:

“Gear Time Zone has been one of our aspirations almost since the completion of our book in 2003- we just didn’t realise what it would look like at that time. It draws on much unused and unpublished material in the research we did for our book Invisible on Everest : Innovation and the Gearmakers. This latest step has been made possible by funding from the Economic and Social Research Council for new software to build a community around our website. It is part of a business placement fellowship for Mike Parsons as Innovator in Residence in the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development, Lancaster University Management School”

I am really looking forward to the future work the duo have planned.

Sarah Howcroft

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