The Guy Who Wrote the Bible on Springs

© 2002 Door & Access Systems
Publish Date: Fall 2002
Author: Tom Wadsworth
Page 33

The Guy Who Wrote the Bible on Springs

Bill Eichenberger
Punta Gorda, Fla.
Note: Eichenberger, a recognized spring expert, was in the door business from 1948-1990. He founded Pacific Spring in 1961 and APCO in 1977.

When were torsion springs invented?

As I recall, Crawford Door was the first company that advertised them. They called it their "Marvel-Lift" door. I believe that Overhead Door used extension springs at the time, and Crawford promoted their torsion springs as an advantage.

Why were torsion springs an advantage over the more-common extension springs?

The primary reason is safety. When a torsion spring breaks, it stays on the shaft. When extension springs break, they are dangerous, even when they have a safety cable.

The other advantage is smooth operation. The torsion spring lifts the door with equal pull on both sides. Thus, the door is raised level and closed level.

You also can do more with a torsion spring's cable drums. They work better with inclined track, high lift, or vertical lift doors.

Were coated or galvanized springs available years ago?

We didn't coat springs when I was in business. I don't know of anyone who did, even up into the 1980s.

Your published material on springs is well known in the industry. How did that project begin?

In the 1960s, I started publishing material on springs. It later became known as the "APCO Spring Manual." People called it the bible of springing. It contains about 600 pages.

The book was an extension of Clarence Veigel's "Torsion Spring Rate Book." His work was mostly accurate, but I tried to convert his rates into more accurate numbers.

What do you remember about Clarence Veigel (founder of Service Spring)?

Clarence was a genius beyond his years. He had no formal training whatsoever. All his ideas came from playing around and testing in the field.

In 1961, I made him an offer to help us start Pacific Spring, the first spring manufacturer on the West Coast. He came out and helped us, but he wouldn't accept a nickel for his work. Clarence never did make a lot of money, but he made a lot of friends. He was one of the closest friends I ever had in my life.