James Gleason is the name behind Gleason gears and wheels. At the age of 14, Gleason began working in the Rochester, NY company owned by his father William Gleason, who had earlier developed the first practical bevel-gear planer. Gleason first traveled as a company salesman and helped the company focus on bevel-gear making instead of continuing to produce a general machine-tool line.
As an inventor, Gleason received 36 patents, including those for a generating action machine (1907), the first spiral-bevel generator to use a circular fice-milling cutter (1919), and the Formate generator (1938). When his father died in 1922 Gleason became President and guided the company in developing the first successful method of producing hypoid gears (1927) and the Curvic coupling, which had a major effect on machine-tool design.