My neck of the woods must have been behind the times. All my observing buddies way back when - I started in the early '70's - had some type of GEM. No Dobs in sight for many years after that.
I've tried mounting an 8" and then a 10" Newt OTA on a GEM. Been there, tried it, didn't like it. The biggest Newt I will ever put on a GEM is a 6".
But to each their own. After all, this is still a hobby for our own individual enjoyment. At least that's what it is for me. I'm not doing this to please anyone else. YMMV.
Totally agree with you Mike (and noted so in my post). It's a purely personal thing and of course everyone is entitled to their own preferences. Cheers!
Dobs certainly predate the article in S&T in the late 70s, but I'm not sure how much before that. It was the article in S&T that started the trend.
FWIW, I'm not a big fan of GEMs either. I always prefered the fork mount, especially for large scopes. I went to Stellafane in 75 and 76 and most of the larger newts were mounted this way.
 I just reread my prior response. Please accept my apology for the tone. It wasn't intended that way. Sometimes we write things thinking one way and it seems to come out another. No tone or attitude was intended.
Guys, as a matter of fact the so-called Dobsonian design is hardly something new, or even recent, let alone the creation of John Dobson, something he always readily pointed out. Although few amateurs are aware of it today, these classic "gun-type mounting arrangements" for Newtonian telescopes were in common usage among amateur astronomers during the latter half of the 19th century...and even commercially available.
Alt-Az mounts have of course been around for quite some time. What make the "Dobsonian" unique (a point that has been lost through the years and basically any newt on a simple Alt-Az mount is referred to as a Dob) was the use of large, low mass (thin) mirrors. It brought aperture that previously was generally unheard of in amateur hands to the "masses" (so to speak).