What value has this man added to a single piece of equipment sold in the last 40 years?
Zero, and that's precisely the problem here. The patent system is designed to encourage inventors to publish implementation details rather than keep them secret. While the patent is active, the holder of the patent can capitalise on their temporary monopoly. Once the patent expires, everybody is free to use that implementation as documented in the patent, thus adding value to the world.
The alternative to patents for most companies is not publishing everything freely, it's keeping them as trade secrets, which never expire. The patent system is an attempt to convert trade secrets into something that is eventually freely published.
This mechanism failed here. What should have been published a long time ago and free for everybody to use a long time ago was locked up and kept secret in the patent application. This invention hasn't benefitted the world because the patent office sat on it. Saying that he hasn't contributed to the industry shouldn't be considered an attack on him, but an attack on the patent office that held up the publishing of this patent.