Monday, November 5, 2012

On the Level: Exact Level & Tool Mfg. Co.




I can't find out much information about this company, although in the photo below it appears to have been a fair size at the time during the Second World War when the U.S. Army presented it with an "E" award.

The company was bought by Hyde Tools of Southbridge, Massachusetts in 1983, but then divested in 1991.  I don't know what happened after that.

High Bridge, New Jersey was the home of the Union Forge Ironworks, one of the first such operations in the U.S.  Founded in 1742, it was the predecessor of Taylor-Wharton, the oldest metal working firm in continuous operation in the States.  The ironworks was shut down in 1972, and the company now specializes in cryogenic storage units, of all things.

Source:  SmugMug

23 comments:

lbgradwell said...

I found an old 2-foot level by Exact just a few weeks ago...

Apparently I can't post a photo in this area, but it can be seen at the following URL if you wish to copy & paste:

http://i27.photobucket.com/albums/c180/lbgradwell/15Score3_zpsa28c2a13.jpg

The Duke said...

Thanks for this! I've added your photo. I appreciate any and all efforts to help collect together information about these great old tool making firms!

Anonymous said...

According to a site redevelopment study:

Exact Level and Tool Manufacturing Company was founded by Peter P. Vaida and is one of the oldest
tool companies in New Jersey. The shop was opened in the 1930’s and produced a variety of tools. The
manufacturing process on the site involved cutting and grinding of aluminum. In 1983 the company was
sold to Hyde Inc. Finally, in 1985, Exact Level and Tool Manufacturing ceased operations.

Anonymous said...

My grandfather Charles K Deutsch was Vaida's partner in founding Exact Level and Tool. The Deutsch family name was changed to Dodge around 1942-3. The Deutsch and Vaida families had operated a factory in or near Milan, Italy before emigrating to the U.S. Prior to the establishing of Exact Level and Tool, High Bridge was a one-company town, and when I visited I met several of my mother's contemporaries who appreciated having an alternative to working at the foundry. In the image above, the serviceman standing at the lectern might be my uncle Herb; the fifth person standing right of him (as we view) looks like Charles (CK) Deutsch (Dodge).

Anonymous said...

Found a level made by this company in my grandfather's house after he passed, and took it. My grandmother claims it was used in the building of the Newburgh Beacon bridge, which would put its manufacture some time before 1961-2. The bridge is still standing, so I suppose this company made quality levels!

Anonymous said...

Forgot to say, it's a four foot level. Absolutely huge!

Anonymous said...

I spent the summer between my freshman and sophomore year of college working on the assembly line of Exact Level and Tool! It was my job to operate the power screw driver in order to insert the bubbles into the metal frames. The workers were mostly women who were drastically underpaid and had little to no benefits or vacation time. Despite the low wages, they were a remarkably happy and hard-working group! It was one of the jobs I have held that has opened my eyes to the fact that there are extremely intelligent, interesting, and creative persons in all walks of life. It remains one of the experiences for which I am most grateful.

Anonymous said...

Vaida also had a plant in Manns Choice, PA manufacturing Exact Levels in the 70's~80's.(The building was originally a tannery and burnt down probably 15 years ago) The plant then moved to a nearby facility in Alum Bank, PA during the time when Hyde bought the product line.(Early 80's) The product line and the Alum Bank plant where sold to Starrett.(Early 90's) Starrett manufactured the Exact Level line in Alum Bank until roughly 2005. The plant was then sent down to the Dominican Republic for a couple of years. I believe the equipment was then sent to China. Starrett still holds the rights and partially uses the Exact Level name.

Source: Father worked with them 30 years between Manns Choice and Alum Bank

Anonymous said...

My father, Robert Trimmer, worked the foundry pouring Magnesium to make the levels. He worked there after World War II until we moved in 1964. His mother, my grandmother, Helen Baldwin Trimmer, worked there too. I believe she got my father his job there. Nanny set the vials in the levels and worked right up to her death in 1967. As a child, a recall visiting them at the factory and even helping Nanny on Saturdays polishing the levels. The Viada family were wonderful people. I have cherished memories of those days growing up in High Bridge.

Anonymous said...

looking at a machinist level NO. 96-8 excellent shape

Annie Powell said...

I have a wooden level made by the exact level and tool co. Bridge New Jerseyits has number 289 18on it I was wondering if this is any kind of antique

The Duke said...

We don't offer valuations on this blog. That said, looking at the pic of the level you're selling, it's just an old wooden level and not in the best of condition. If it were in my neck of the woods, I wouldn't pay more than $5 for it and would probably pass it up even at that price.

bargehaul said...

Have a 289-24 sounds like it's not worth much either.

Unknown said...

I have a 3 bubble aluminum 8 inches in length

Anonymous said...

I have a "Line Level No.2" with USAF inscribed on the back.

Neil Hochstedler said...

I have an Exact, The Hyde Group, # 24040 level, 48" long magnesium/aluminum casting, apparently made in PLeasantville, PA. Very rugged and accurate...

Jacob White said...

I wonder if they made tire levelers? I have an old aluminum tire leveler that says "Exact Leveler No. 83 Made in USA". From the age of it, it would make sense.

Dan said...

My dad gave me his 2 foot, 6 glass Exact Level in the '90s. He purchased this in the '50s. I guess some metal, oil and glass will last several lifetimes!!

Unknown said...

I found a Line Level No. 3 in my dad's old toolbox recently, decided to look it up and found this site. Nice work remembering these old tools.

Anonymous said...

Love finding this site- I just picked up my line level that my father had in his tool box for years and somehow made it to my house along with so many tools. Was looking for it because I want to run a line for trimming my hedges

Anonymous said...

I finally took the time to identify a 48" metal level my father had. It is stamped with "Exact Level & Tool, Mfg. Co. Inc.; High Bridge, NJ. The level is in decent condition but the bubble vials are broken. Still has the original mounting rings, "O: rings. Also have an 18" metal level but it is not stamped with a manufacture name.

Anonymous said...

My mother was born and raised in High Bridge so when I saw an aluminum
yard stick marked Exact Level and Tool Manufacturing Co. High Bridge
N.J. at an estate sale in Arizona I bought it. It is also marked
part number Y-36 . Based on everything else being sold I'm guessing
it's from the 40s or 50s

Mister G said...

Thanks for the story!