He would have been 142 years old today. Oscar Zerkowitz was born in Vienna, Austria and from an early age demonstrated an extraordinary mechanical aptitude. In his teens he invented an weaving machine controlled by punch cards (this in the 19th century). Throughout his life he apparently amassed 300 patents, from leg-slimming stockings to stamped steel wheels, hubcaps and streetcar braking systems.
After he took a trip to the US to study the White Steamer he decided to emigrate and when he did, he simplified his name to Oscar Ulysses Zerk. That word may be familiar.
In Cleveland he invented a grease delivery system which he named after himself. Though that venture did not go well, he designed a better system and that made his fortune.
To this day we mechanical people appreciate the convenience and utility of the grease gun and zerk system and it's hard to imagine a better way.
That being said, we all have neglected machinery. I propose May 16th as National Lubrication Day!