Profiles - A Light-Hearted Look at Industry Personalities
Managing Director, Triple E
No. 60 in a continuing series
If it wasn't for the endless boredom of math-ematical problems associated with engineering, David Edelstein, founder of Triple E, might well have become a car designer. Trained as an engineer in 1971, he found the reams of calculations too much to bear, and so turned to his other love instead - technical theatre. Having signed up at LAMDA in 1972 to train as a stage manager, this change of heart turned out to be a great success, combining the mechanical and artistic aspects of David's skill-set and passion.
Taking his first stage management job at the Thorndike Theatre in Leatherhead in 1974, he spent a year there before becoming technical ASM at the Duchess Theatre in London. A year later, the opening of the Royal National Theatre saw him move across the river to become a member of Rosemary Beattie's stage management team on Tamburlaine. At the National he worked in the Olivier and Lyttelton theatres, where he was involved in productions such as Hamlet, The Cherry Orchard and Volpone. In 1978 then technical manager Bill Bundy promoted him to assistant production manager, first in the Olivier and then for the Cottesloe.
With little scope for further promotion at the National David returned temporarily to the car scene in 1980 and over the years he's taken part in and organised numerous rallies and car events such as the International Porsche 356 meetings, as well as having worked the signalling pits for Porsche at Le Mans and for a brief time he restored and competed cars professionally.
But the theatre kept calling and, missing the career he loved most, he took the first job that came along - at the Theatr Clwyd in Mold, North Wales - where he met his future wife. The year 1982 provided David with an opportunity he couldn't refuse - the chance to go to the Haymarket Theatre in Leicester as technical director. However, three-weekly rep involved working right through the weekend every three weeks to put on a new production and David decided that if he was going to be working such unsociable hours, he wanted it to be his own choice and for his own business.
There was just one problem - which route to take? Then, in the early hours of the morning on the fit up for a production of South Pacific, the crew ran out of pin hinges. These weren't readily available at that time, so they had to wait for over an hour while a junior member of staff made them. David's path was set from there on - he began making pin hinges.
When he produced his first pin hinges he designed his own logo, using two interlocking E's (Edelstein Engineering) as his first logo with the word England underneath to indicate the country of origin. The product quickly made it to the USA but Nick Bryson of Gerriets International in New Jersey didn't feel the name was slick enough. The pin hinge duly won the ABTT Product of the Year Award in 1984 and set the company on its future path, the product officially becoming the Triple E pin hinge and in July 1985 Triple E Limited was born.
1988 saw the launch of the Unitrack system and David's first major challenge with it was an automated linear motor system for Aspects of Love, in the West End and on Broadway at the end of the 80s. The system used new technology and was at the sharp end of everyone's ability in terms of the software required to operate it. Since then, Triple E has seen many great moments but this remains a milestone. The linear motor won the ABTT Product of the Year award in 1988 and went on to win the Bavarian State Prize in 1993. Other awards that Triple E has garnered include LDI's Widget of the Year for the Uniring in 2000 as well as the Rigging Award for Chaintrack at LDI 2001.
In amongst his achievements, David somehow found the time to get married and in 1992 and 1995 delighted in the births of a son and a daughter. He has no regrets about his chosen route: "I'm in control of my own destiny - which I probably wouldn't have been in the car industry."
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