Saturday, May 11, 2013
On the Level: Schultes Level Incorporated, Detroit, Michigan
I really like the design of this level, because it looks like something made from the girders of an airship.
Joseph Schultes, the founder of the Schultes Level Company, was born in Lichtenfels, Germany in 1913, emigrating to the U.S. in 1935. He was trained as an organ builder, and initially earned an income building and repairing organs in local churches. After the Second World War, he spearheaded Detroit efforts to send relief packages to Europe. Two relations, perhaps his sons, John and Vincent Schultes applied for a patent on a combination level/square in 1946, which was awarded in 1950. The patent drawing shows many similarities to the level pictured above.
I found a picture on the web of one of the Master Precision Levels made for the military with an accuracy of one division equaling .0005 inches per foot, so they clearly were capable of making very sophisticated instruments.
I can't find any information on when the company was actually founded, and what happened to it. Likely it was either swallowed up by one of the larger American tool-making firms, or went under due to foreign competition. Joseph Schultes died in 2012, one year short of his centenary.