In Memoriam of Robert Mathys, Sr.
Robert Mathys, Sr.
Robert Mathys, Sr., the founder of the Mathys Medical Company in Bettlach, Switzerland, died in August 2000. Mr. Mathys was a true genius who, as an early collaborator with Professor Maurice E. Mčller and the fledgling AO group, drew the blueprint of the first AO 4.5 mm cortex screw in October 1958. This screw became the core of the original AO system, and, in short order, Mr. Mathys produced the prototypes of many more AO instruments and implants. He was uniquely able to sit with the AO surgeon founders, listen to their ideas and concepts, and, seemingly within hours, come back to them with a viable proto-type of the device they had imagined. His passion for engineering led to his turning the basement of his family home into a workshop. His inventive mind, industrious temperament, and insistence on perfection led him to huge technical and business success.
He also made tremendous contributions to the early AO courses, shipping his instruments and implants to various countries and personally handling the logistics of the laboratory exercises. He was a true "hands-on" pioneer for the AO. In January 2000, he was awarded the Entrepreneurs Prize by the canton of Solothurn for "exceptional entrepreneurial and personal achievements, taking further into account his perseverance and tenacity as a businessman and above all his outstanding ability in the field of medical technology." Above and beyond this, he was the beloved patriarch of a devoted family. His modest and friendly nature made him approachable, and he was never too busy to give of his time to colleagues and others with whom he came into contact. An extensive review of Dr. Mathy's life and accomplishments will be included in the next issue (June 2001) of AO Dialogue.
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