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.
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I am so glad to have found this. John Schultes (yes, the son of Joseph) was my great grandfather. I would love to ask you a few questions because sadly, I think you might know more about my family than I do. Please Email me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexa Kasten is my great niece. She sent me this blog. She told me she made a mistake as to who is who. John was her great grandfather (my father) but not the son of Joseph. Joseph was John's second youngest brother. They were the children of Christof and Franziska Schultes and were born in Germany. The children were John, Vincent,Mary, Adolph,Joseph and Wendle. Uncle Joe was the last to leave us. Joseph did not start the Level company. My Dad, John, originally started the company as Schultes Motor Drive to sell the motor drive he invented and patented. He took all of his younger brothers as partners into the business (also a friend, Herman Bagus now dec'd) as each came to the US except for Wendel who came after WW2. When a man in Texas who had money saw the patent and changed enough to be able to have his company make the drives, he put daddy out of business. (I have orignal papers and also original advertising for the drives. In between he had Schultes Tool & Engineering Company - I have a photo of his truck with some of us standing by it. That was when Daddy and Vince decided to do the aluminum levels. I have a picture and maybe more of and about the shop.It was on Gable street in Det. MI. I may be able to recall the dates for the companies but I am 84 and have just moved so I don't have a lot of time and my personal papers are all in storage. My dad was the dreamer and the inventor. Uncle Vince was the business minded one. He eventually got all of his brothers and Herman out (bought them out) and his wife , Anna, handled all the bookeeping, etc. Vince's son. now dec'd, and his daughter(lives in Germany) were never interested in the business so when Vince had a stroke the shop closed. Some of my sisters may have more info and some of my cousins also may. Some of them worked at the Level shop. One of my nephews has bought up some of the levels and I have photos and some info re: them. My name is Therese Schultes, born & raised in Detroit and moved to Alabama 15 yrs. ago to be family for my only grandchild and her 3 daughters. my email address is email@example.com
Therese Schultes here again. I wonder where you got all the info about Uncle Joe. It is accurate except for his involvement with the level design. After Uncle Vince got complete control of the company, my dad, John, and Uncle Joe were hired by close friend Irwin Sattler where Uncle Adolph was already working. Can't recall the name of the company just now. My dad and Mr. Sattler were young men starting their companies at the same time and knew each other. I last saw Mr. Sattler at Uncle Joe's 90th party. He was still in business. Uncle Joe's children are Joseph,Michael,Marilynn,David, Thomas and John - all live in the Detroit area except for Joe and Marilynn in Colorado. This is my first time using a blog and like most old people I do go on.
I am looking for parts for a .0005 level. Looking for the plates on the top. Do you know where I could purchase these? I do appreciate your help, have not able to find anything. My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org or you may call me at my shop (we do precision leveling and squaring of machine tools) 313-537-4777. Thank you, any info would be helpful! Harold
Sorry, all I have is the level in the picture. Nothing else remotely similar to what you are searching for.
Mr Sattler unfortunately passed this past winter. He did make it to my granfather's funeral to pay his respects. They would catch up when they saw each other in church. It was always interesting to hear their stories
Wonderful to see family members discuss such matters! I too had family come to the Detroit area from Germany.
My recently deceased grandfather Adolph Foerg (Forg) Came to America in the 60's with his Wife and Son. Adolph worked as an instrument maker second class at the University of Michigan for many years making astronomy instruments.
I found this blog because I collect "master precision levels" like the Starrett 199, the Pratt and Whitney .0005"/ft level and the Universal Boring Machine Level.
I just added a Schultes Precision level to my collection. Actually the one pictured above me on Ebay. Somehow that one made it to Italy, but I am repatriating it to the Detroit area.
Interestingly, I have met Harold of Borel and Co. who posted above. I have been to his shop in Livonia.
Hope to have my level soon, nice to see people discussing the Family/history of the company.
I have a 78" aluminum level made by Schultes, anyone have any interest email me @ email@example.com
Hello from the future (well, 2021 at any rate). Was just happening to have a look at a fine small pair of machinist vee-blocks I’ve had for some years now and they’re stamped “Shultes Level” “Detroit USA”. Poked around on the web a few minutes and here I am…great dialogue here, always cool to get more insight into the history of premium US-made tools, thx. Charley Hale, Lafayette CO
Hello from South Africa. Just realised today that I own a Shultes Level. I inherited it from my grandfather but didn’t think much of it until years later when I had a closer look. The name looked interesting so I googled it, and here I am on this blog. Thanks for everyone for the interesting info. I’ll certainly cherish this item even more so now. Just wondering how my grandfather came to own one in South Africa, unless he got it during WW2 as he was in North Africa and Italy.
I have that box with the 15 in level
I have that Master precision level number 15 m10 so number 21 tamps on it if interested let me know
This is Larry Keller I have that level in the case in box the Master precision level 50 number 15m10 length 15 in got number 21 on it from Schultz level company it's in the box if you're interested in it getting it back let me know phone number is 808-679-2731
I have one also, in wooden box, and i am a Mason in Wisconsin and these things interest me of course, it is complete, with wooden box, but no label, i put tape on end of box n labeled it,920-203-4792, Rick, if u r really interested, no soliciting or spam, thnx
I have a 48 inch in Michigan, no box., willing to sell. firstname.lastname@example.org
I just picked up a nice 16" level for a fiver at a local Restore ! It has three, double-bubble vial windows,.no other identifiers. "PAT APPLD." stamped on both sides. I just was enamored with its appearance !
"I just was enamored with its appearance!"
Sympathies, I have that problem too.:-)
I have a 48” Schultes level in my possession. It’s stunning yet the level have gone bad and the cork gaskets invading the covers of the levels themselves have deteriorated. Wondering if there is/are replacement parts for this. I am going to clean this level up and hopefully use again. They don’t make them anywhere built up like this anymore. Michigan born and bread and seeing the Detroit stamp on it is very neat to me. Any suggestions please send to email@example.com thank you!!
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