Honest Weight: The Story of Toledo Scale

by Bob Terry, 2000 (388p.)

Honest Weight is a well written, yet largely unknown book that tells the glamorous story of Toledo Scale, a company founded in 1901 and that today is part of Mettler Toledo, one of the world’s most outstanding companies.  The book was written by Bob Terry, who was a marketing manager at Toledo Scale from the late 1950s through 1976.  Terry mentions himself several times in the book, but always in the third person and without elaborating much on his role in the company’s history. In the Acknowledgements, he explains that his accounts of the company’s early years drew heavily from the unpublished writings of Walter Fink, a company executive who had worked closely with Toledo Scale’s first three CEOs. Bob came into possession of Fink’s manuscript in 1976, the year he vacated his office at Toledo Scale’s headquarters.  The headquarters building was in Toledo’s storied Telegraph Road, which was immortalized by Dire Straits in their 1982 album Love Over Gold (link).  The office was being shut down by the company’s new owner, Reliance Electric, as they moved the operation to Columbus, Ohio.

While he never flatly states it in the book, Terry was devastated by the sale of Toledo Scale to Reliance Electric in the late 1960s.  He rightly portrays Reliance Electric, whose disparate parts were subsequently absorbed by other companies, as a poorly managed conglomerate that didn’t understand the scale business and had little appreciation for Toledo Scales’ strong corporate culture and business strategy. Terry worked at Toledo Scale during the years when it’s senior management was gutted and its corporate culture destroyed by Reliance, but it was the replacement of the Toledo Scale brand name by the new Swiss management – more than two decades after he left the company – that appears to have scarred him the most.

Bob Terry (1929 – 2013)

Terry’s obituary from 2013 mentions that after leaving Toledo Scale, he went on to start his own marketing firm, named TRIAD, for Terry Robie Industrial Advertising.  The book does not mention TRIAD by name, but it cites Terry’s business partner Jan Robie as the graphic designer who created the logo for Masstron, a competing scale manufacturer that was started by ex-Toledo engineers and salespeople during the years when it was owned by Reliance.  Ironically, both Reliance and Masstron would be acquired by Exxon in the first half of the 1980s, bringing those teams together under a much bigger, yet still largely unfocused and mismanaged roof.

In the mid-1980s, Exxon reversed its diversification strategy and began divesting non-core businesses, which included the sale of Reliance Electric through a highly leveraged buyout.  As an independent company, Reliance Electric sold its underperforming Toledo Scale property to the Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Ciba-Geigy in 1988 to reduce its heavy debt load.  Ciba-Geigy  had owned the Swiss laboratory scale manufacturer, Mettler Instruments AG, since 1981, so the acquisition of Toledo Scale made them the world’s dominant scale manufacturer.  According to Terry, the Swiss executive who was instrumental in the acquisition of Toledo Scale from Reliance Electric was Robert Spoerry, who would later become the first CEO of Mettler Toledo when the company was separated from Ciba-Geigy in 1996.

As Terry tells it, in 1996 Ciba-Geigy was cleaning house to prepare for a $27 billion merger with pharma peer Sandoz AG, to form Novartis.  They announced plans to float Mettler Toledo in a public share offering, and the news sparked a flood of bids from prospective buyers. The best offer came from AEA Investors, with headquarters in New York City.  AEA Investors (link) is an American private equity firm started in 1968 by well-known American industrial families, which these days manages approximately $20 billion in assets. Shortly after paying nearly $800 million (equal to $1.7 billion in today’s dollars) to acquire the company from Ciba-Geicy, AEA took Mettler Toledo public by selling 6.67 million shares at $14 per share on November 13, 1997.

Understandably, given the turmoil that his cherished company went through during the 20 years before his book was published, Terry laments that shortly after taking office, Mettler Toledo’s new CEO, Robert Spoerry, “gave directions for a complete management shakeup and cultural change in the marketing structure to emulate the structure in place in Europe.”  Indeed, the Swiss culture of precision and excellence shines through not only in the high-end instruments that Mettler Toledo produces, but in all aspects of how the company is managed to this day, including how it goes to market.

While Terry speaks highly of Toledo Scale’s legacy and its impressive leaders, he tells the story of a series of bad decisions over the decades that contributed to the company’s demise, including a drive to diversify into the plastics business in the 1930s and an ill-advised acquisition of a Toledo-based elevator manufacturer in 1957.  By the time the company was sold to Reliance in 1967, it was no longer the well oiled machine that had helped established its reputation. Perhaps because of how abruptly it changed hands following the early deaths of its first two CEOs, the Toledo Scale company of the 1960s had lost its focus as the honest weight company.

Started in 1945 by a Swiss engineer named Erhard Mettler, Mettler Instruments AG was a highly innovative and respected company in the laboratory scale business.  They are credited with several key inventions in the scale industry, most notably the introduction of the single-pan balance, which gradually replaced conventional two-pan balances as the standard weighing device in laboratories. Terry tells the story of when Toledo technical experts visited Mettler Instruments at their Swiss headquarters in 1967.  He writes that “discussions centered around the possibility of Mettler supplying a low capacity electrical output scale to Toledo for use in automatic counting.” One of Toledo’s engineers wrote in a memo quoted by Terry that the association with Mettler “is significant since it’s in line with other evidence of the strong influence—almost domination—exercised by the technical side of European weighing firms.” Interestingly, this same engineer concluded that Mettler was “without question well qualified” to compete in other lines outside of their laboratory weighing expertise, which is precisely what they have done to this day.

Nothing came from the 1967 visit to Zurich, but the tone of admiration for Mettler Instruments that Terry expressed earlier in his book turned more critical and resentful as the narrative unfolded.  He writes that “benevolent genocide took place for those painted with the Toledo Scale brush.”  While at times Terry praises the high performance culture that the Swiss instilled in the new company, he does not fully conceal the chip on his shoulder regarding the abandonment of the Toledo Scales name, and how successful the Swiss were at turning around the company.

For example, Terry mentions that Mettler had located their first U.S. office near Princeton, New Jersey, “because they believed that a Princeton address carried extra prestige,” as if to suggest that the Swiss were snobs.  He also quotes from an article that ran in the local paper a month after Mettler Toledo came public in 1997: “Mettler Toledo styles itself as a U.S. company that happens to have its headquarters in Griefensee, Switzerland. If that sounds a bit confusing, it’s only because much has happened to the firm in the last 30 years. For many years, Toledo Scale was one of Toledo’s best known exports and trademarks—ranking right up there with Jeeps and Champion Spark Plugs. Of course, all three trademarks ended up in other hands. After all that has happened to Toledo Scale and to Mettler Toledo, it’s a miracle the name ‘Toledo’ survives at all. But then again, it’s such a grand old name.”

All told, this was an excellent book that I would recommend to anyone interested in business history.  It provides glaring evidence of the importance of culture and purpose in ensuring the durability of corporations.  Bob Terry does an outstanding job at weaving the major historical events of the century into the story of this incredible company.  While no book written by an insider can be completely unbiased, his account seems credible and well balanced when it comes to criticisms and flattery.  This is not a technical book by any means, yet there is a wealth of technical detail that an analyst of Mettler Toledo could benefit from knowing. I admit to being an enthusiast on the topic, but I don’t think this book is only for enthusiasts.

For those looking to gain a greater appreciation of why weight measurement is still such a great business, as well as why Mettler Toledo is such a formidable company, I would highly recommend the reading of Honest Weight, by Bob Terry.






Front Matter

For my wife and family, and for all past Toledo Scale people who, over the century, played parts large and small in this story… with a special bow to the prime entrepreneurs Henry Theobald, Hugh Bennett, Harris Mcintosh and Ben Dillon.


Though this is a work of fact, I have taken certain storytelling liberties. All events and people named in this book are real. The dialogue in the first 15 or 20 years is based on oral history, and represents undocumented conversations the individuals had as told to, and passed on by their peers. Where the sequence or narrative strays from true nonfiction, I have tried to remain faithful to the actual events and real characters.

I’m indebted to many good people, including the late Walter Fink who left an unpublished record that detailed events during Toledo Scale’s first 50 years. I extracted many facts and conversations from this record. Over his long career, Fink worked closely with company presidents Theobald, Bennett, and McIntosh. I’m also grateful to executive secretary Bessie Deain, who placed Fink’s original manuscript in my care in 1976 when the company moved their headquarters to Columbus, Ohio. Thanks also to Tom Quertinmont who arranged for me to have access to the company archives which included correspondence, photos and copies of Toledo System magazines from the time the company was started. I’m also grateful to Tom’s father Ed Quertinmont, Ted Metcalf, Donivan Hall, Bernard Stanton, and Clarence Weinandy for the personal time and help they gave me as I gathered information for this story…and for the encouragement of countless others. And a very special thanks to Janet Schryver for her excellent help in designing, editing, proofing and correcting the manuscript.


So in December 1884 he changed the firm’s name to the National Cash Register Company. He had acquired 13 employees, an old plant in a run-down section of Dayton and several cash register patents. He had serious doubts he would succeed in his new venture. Yet in the 16 years since, Patterson had almost single-handedly created a cash register market with his National Cash Register Company (NCR). … The cash register had been vigorously opposed by those who had to use it. Patterson overcame the resistance of thousands of poorly paid clerks who had—over the years—come to consider a little pilferage to be a normal part of their compensation. He faced the resentment of any “new fangled machine”. He created unique ways to demonstrate the payback, efficiency and economy of the cash register in a system he called “creative selling”.


“Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” The Bible: Daniel: 5:25—28


“But that’s not the only idea,” he reported saying. “There’s this fellow up in Toledo with a little business that makes computing scales he invented.

DeVilbiss sold his first computing scale to Felker’s Meat Market, a nearby butcher shop on Adams Street. Each night after the butcher shop closed, he would walk past it and peek into the window to see if the scale was still on the counter. His confidence grew every day it remained in use.

Within weeks he came to realize the scale increased his profits much more than he would have guessed. He had happy customers. And he was making money. So he told all his butcher friends. They, in turn, began to call on Allen DeVilbiss, Jr. at his family home on Jackson Street to get a demonstration. His computing scale was catching on. … A rather big man, young DeVilbiss already had a small paunch. He rarely exercised, preferring to spend his time tinkering in the basement of the family home on Jackson Street. So when he learned that Henry Theobald might want to buy the company, he was eager to sell because of a profit-sharing agreement he had with the actual owners.

Young was curious about Theobald’s estimates. He asked, “Why do you say that the average selling price of your cash registers may be much higher than $100?” Theobald responded, “Because there are a number of higher priced models with popular new features and I expect they will sell the best.”

Even though he owned exactly half the company by himself—unlike the other investors— Henry Theobald agreed to become treasurer and general manager. The new firm was named “Toledo Computing Scale and Cash Register Company.”


Theobald was now ready to seriously compete with his former mentor and show him how superior cash registers should be manufactured, sold and serviced.

But Theobald’s delight was short lived. NCR had been watching. John Patterson had great respect for Henry Theobald. He knew him well. And he concluded it was time to stop him. On the 27th of May—in the first month Toledo sold 100 cash registers—a Mr. High from NCR showed up unexpectedly, asking to see Theobald. High had been friendly enough with Theobald at NCR. He counted on being able to see him without an appointment. He was quickly ushered into Theobald’s office, where he was warmly greeted. In a jocular tone, High complimented Theobald’s office furniture, joking about the way Patterson had let him know he had been fired. After a few moments of social talk, he passed Theobald a written message from John Patterson.

“Well, it’s clear what these two partners want, Henry,”Rose said. “I’m very much inclined to agree with them. $115,000 cash will go a long way in giving the company a faster start. But I don’t want a corporate crisis…even with my vote, the three of us represent only half the stock. You own the other half, Henry. A tie would be disastrous. What are you going to do?” Theobald had badly miscalculated. He was devastated that it was his idea that each of them should write down their guess of what the offer would be. His voice choked. “I hate the idea of selling. I’ve lived cash registers for most of my life. It will be hard to change my focus. But you three are my partners. I trust you. I came to you in the first place because I respect you and value your judgment. If all of you want to sell, I’ll go along even if I don’t want to.”Rose strolled to the cupboard. He returned with whiskey and four glasses. The deal went through rapidly. After only eleven months of business, in June 1902, the Toledo Computing Scale and Cash Register Company sold the cash register patents, inventory, parts, machines, jigs, dies, fixtures, patterns, and tools to Patterson’s NCR. Theobald was out of the cash register business for good. And since cash registers were no longer part of the business, the corporate name had to be changed.Theobald suggested Toledo Scale Company. His sales people argued that the word “computing”was too valuable to give up. So in 1902 the name became Toledo Computing Scale Company.


Theobald quickly came to believe that the scale was far more important to a merchant than the cash register. The merchant could make change out of a drawer or even a shoebox under the counter. Many of them still did, resisting the blandishments of cash register salesmen. But the scale told him how much to charge for his merchandise. Theobald became convinced that the scale was the most important piece of equipment in the store. It converted a commodity directly into money, telling him how much to put in the shoebox. Without a scale, the store could not operate.

She soon learned that her side of the scale must go “down” if she was to get full weight. The merchant didn’t dare remove a few beans to get an even balance…the customer would think him stingy and take her trade to another store. So “down weight” was the custom. … The merchant poured the beans into the bag but couldn’t easily predict when the beam was in the exact center of the trig-loop. Again “down weight” was his only solution. Theobald understood this problem. He realized that his automatic indication computing scale largely solved the problem of “down weight.” The merchant could now charge for the overweight almost every time.“Ma’am, it’s slightly over, the price calculation is 28 cents.is that all right?” No problem. As a result, both his sales volume and profits increasedThe real problem, Theobald knew, was convincing the merchant that replacing his $8 to $10 balance scale with a Toledo Computing Scale at $35 to $50—four to five times the price— was a good business decision. Time and labor were not important and merchants were always short of cash. An effective selling demonstration was needed to get over this hurdle.

He then developed a dramatic demonstration using tea. This kind of demonstration lasted for years…changed only by refinement. Tea was sold by weight in small quantities. Since tea was imported from the Far East, it was relatively expensive. He gathered his sales managers in Toledo and conducted a role-playing demonstration personally. He had one of the sales managers act as the merchant. His demonstration used a cloth bag that contained exactly two ounces of tea. … “With this system, you can prove that a new Toledo Scale will pay for itself in a very brief time…sometimes in just a few weeks.  … At the end of his presentation, Theobald would give each of them enough preweighed bags of tea for each of their salesman. They, in turn, were instructed to show each of the salesmen in their territory how to use it.

Theobald passed on Ditzler’s remarks and a quantity of scale audit forms in a kit was sent to each salesman. It contained a tube of 30 carefully polished one-pound test weights plus an assortment of one- ounce and fractional-ounce weights. Salesmen treasured the kits.

In September 1903, Theobald put a field sales operation in effect. He located men in Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Omaha, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, and Toledo. Young, the company secretary, urged Theobald to open an office in Newark, his hometown. Theobald promised to do so just as soon as he could locate a good man.

Theobald defined dishonest scales as all spring scales no matter who manufactured them.

Since Toledo Scales were more expensive to make, they had to sell at a higher price. At the same time, spring scales were also considerably less accurate than a pendulum scale which measured gravity against gravity.

Fights over scale accuracy were inevitable because there were no established standards anywhere in the nation. Many jurisdictions had weights and measures officials but there were no legal standards they could use requiring that a scale meet any accuracy standard. Spring scales were not illegal, inaccurate as they were. Yet many weights and measures officials tried to establish accuracy standards on their own.

“Your Honor, I have a better way to convince you that the Dayton scale is dishonest. On the way to court this morning, I purchased eight food packages over a Dayton scale. I have them with me. I also have a Dayton scale and a Toledo scale here. The best way for you to understand just how dishonest the Dayton scale is, is to weigh the packages yourself. If you would come down here, I’ll show you.” … “But, for heavens sake, don’t blame your weights and measures officials either,” Theobald continued. “Their job is to protect the public and they were just doing their job in the best way they knew how. Here in Omaha they were doing it too well to suit the Dayton Scale Company! No, blame them; the Dayton Scale Company for deliberately making a dishonest device, designed, built and sold to rob the innocent consumer!” The judge resumed his bench and threw the case out of court. Later, Dayton dropped the suits in all the other cities.


While Theobald was spending time fighting dishonest scales, troubles emerged back at the plant. It became clear that Allen DeVilbiss was the wrong choice to be plant superintendent. His personality clashed with the workers. He could tell he wasn’t getting along with them. As a result, he did little supervising. He thought of himself as an inventor and spent most of his time tinkering. He was soon replaced as plant superintendent and was given the title “Head of the Inventions Department.”  … The sales manager of the DeVilbiss company was J. F. Pixley, who assumed the same job with Toledo. Theobald soon concluded that Pixley was not able to recruit good salesmen…critical to growth. Pixley was fired and Theobald took on the duties of sales manager as well, until he appointed Frank Ditzler to the position. Ditzler was as successful at this as at everything else he had tried. By the end of1905 he had 97 salesmen on his list, scattered all over the nation. Between 1903 and 1905, they had sold more than 30,000 scales.

The new cylinder scale had one-cent graduations with a chart computing capacity up to 30 lb—compared to the Toledo fan scale with a 10 lb computing chart. The fan scale required two 10 lb beams to reach a 30 lb capacity.

Large signs that read “We protect our customers by using Toledo Scales—NO SPRINGS—HONEST WEIGHT GUARANTEED” were shipped with every scale. Merchants were proud to hang the sign in a conspicuous place near the Toledo scale.

The Kroger Company bought many hundreds of Toledo cylinder scales finished in gold with a special model number for Kroger, K581. Actually it was the model 581 with a rich gold finish.

“We Protect Our Customers—No Springs—Honest Weight.”

Theobald bellowed when he saw it, “Buy pork loins for 9 cents a pound, sell the same pork loins for the same 9 cents a pound, and make a 3% profit besides? By God, they’ve even got the gall to advertise that their scales are crooked!”


Allen DeVilbiss, Jr., the inventor of the pendulum scale upon which the company was founded, was only 39-years- old at his death. Though not universally popular, he was universally mourned in the company. Without him, all their lives would have taken a different course.

“Think about it,” Theobald replied. “Those others use a beam to read the weight. With this dial, anyone filling a drum or bucket can easily see when he’s approaching the desired weight of the product they’re filling. He slows down and is able to hit the weight he wants right on the money.”“That’s right,” Ditzler added. “I’ve been in a lot of plants and watched how they fill on a Fairbanks or Howe scale. They just keep pouring it in until the beam goes up in the trig-loop. There’s no way they can see that they’re getting near the weight they want, so they overfill. They’ve got to be giving away a lot of their product that way. Just like retail scales until we came along.”

It was time to change the company name again. Industrial scales did not compute. With the rapid growth of the industrial line, the company needed a new name. On February 18, 1913, the word “Computing” was dropped and the company name became simply “Toledo Scale Company.”

The Toledo mechanical dial scale soon became a familiar sight in virtually every manufacturing plant in the nation and throughout many parts of the world. All over the globe, the city of Toledo became known for scales. They proved to be remarkably reliable, some in regular use decade after decade. The dial remained essentially unchanged throughout the entire mechanical scale era. Even though mechanical scales, with their large dials, were largely replaced by electronic scales, tens of thousands remain in use even in the last decade of the 20th century. Thousands are expected to remain in use throughout industry for simple weighing tasks well into the 21st century.

The word is that Charles R. Flint put together a holding company that acquired three other companies,” Zolg explained. “One of them was Dayton Scale Company. The other two were the International Time Recording Company, and the Tabulating Machine Company of Washington, D.C. They incorporated the holding company in Endicott, New York as the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company…C.T.R. for short.” “You mean Flint, the old buccaneer? The one who was a famous gunrunner? I heard he stuck his nose in some South American revolutions, even acting as a spy.a double agent.” “That’s the one. But don’t forget, he also was one of the organizers of the U.S. Rubber Company. He’s getting respectable.” “I hope the shake-up means that Dayton will be less troublesome,” Theobald said. “Did you hear who’s going to run the company?” “No. They’re looking for someone, I understand.” C.T.R. drifted for several years. Then in 1914 the board employed Thomas J. Watson to head it. When Watson became president of C.T.R. the company was in poor financial shape. He had to secure a $40,000 loan on his own account to keep it going. It started with less than 4,000 employees who made and sold spring scales, tabulating equipment and time recording devices. Later Watson had the name changed to International Business Machines, soon to be known as IBM.


‘About what fractions of its weight would a body lose in going from Cape Nome, Alaska, to San Francisco? ’‘I should say about one in three hundred. ’‘Then gold weighing 600 pounds on the scale used in Nome could not possibly weigh much over 598 pounds on the scale used here, could it?’‘It could not. They were both spring scales, I understand. ’The men applauded vigorously. “But wait,” Geddes warned. “There’s more. The judge was quite interested by now. He questioned Johnson from the bench. ‘Well then, how does the government weigh bullion when they send it from Washington to the New Orleans mint. New Orleans is at sea level…a lower altitude. Don’t they have the same problem? ’‘No, Your Honor, I understand the government uses special scales that show true weights on any different part of the earth. ’‘Special scales…what’s special about them? ’‘The government uses pendulum scales that measure gravity against gravity. They weigh the same everywhere on earth at any altitude…and at any temperature for that matter.’” Geddes paused, then spoke quietly. “Stevens was acquitted,” he concluded. The 100% Club rose and cheered.


Henry Theobald had released his son’s letter to the newspaper who printed it in its entirety.

Toledo made special scales for the war effort, including force measurement devices and shell loading scales. This started the development of a wide variety of unique scales for special applications; all of which led Toledo to create a wholly owned subsidiary named Toledo Precision Devices, a forerunner of Toledo Systems.

The war was not quite over when Toledo faced serious legal and financial problems. Dayton had filed a suit against Toledo in 1910 in the Federal District Court, Chicago, claiming that Toledo’s 1906 cylinder computing scale had infringed on one of their patents.


On January 16, 1920, Prohibition took effect in the United States. Beer, wine and liquor were officially banned by the 18th Amendment. Enforced by the National Prohibition or Volstead Act, it was nothing new to the 25 states that had already passed their own Prohibition laws. New York’s Alderman LaGuardia was skeptical about the law, saying that it would take 250,000 police to enforce it in that city alone, and nearly as many more to police the police.

Bob Theobald was to replace Henry Theobald as chairman of the committee even when his father was in Toledo. He was clearly “heir apparent.”

He said, “Selling is one thing. Service is another. The two should always be in close accord but never combined in one man.

On January 3, 1923, not long after settling into their home, a baby girl, Mary Meloy Theobald, was born. The parents and grandparents rejoiced…but their joy was short lived. The new mother had a troubled delivery. Her health steadily failed. Bob hovered over her. She would look up at him and smile wanly. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” she would say as tears came to her eyes. Greatly worried about his wife, Bob took little joy in his new daughter. Six weeks after their daughter was born, it was clear a crisis had been reached. Her doctor had been with her for several hours when he came out of her room. “I’m sorry, Bob,” he said, “she’s gone.” Bob and Mary had been married only eleven months when Mary-Meloy Theobald died.

With his family gathered at his bedside, he steadily grew worse. At 4:30 that afternoon, Henry Theobald died. He was 56 years old. … Bob Theobald had lost two of the people he loved the most, within 16 months of each other. His marriage of slightly less than a year had given him the greatest joy of his life. The death of his wife Mary-Meloy left a huge void and the death of his father struck another enormous blow.

On Friday evening, December 17, 1925, at about 10:00 p.m. he came to his 717 West Bancroft Street home and went right to his room. At 8:30 on Saturday morning the baby’s nurse knocked on his door to wake him. He usually answered quickly but she couldn’t get a response. She opened the door…and screamed. Sometime during the night, 34-year-old Robert R. Theobald had stood before a mirror in his bedroom, put an automatic pistol to his temple and blown his brains out. The Theobald era was over.


On January 19, 1926, Hugh Bennett was elected a company director and president of Toledo Scale Company. Lenox Rose remained chairman of the board. Bennett immediately assumed control. One of his first acts was to bring his younger brother Geoffrey Bennett into the company as his assistant. Only 31 years old when he became president, Hugh Bennett was a vital, handsome and adventurous young man. After graduating from Williams College and before the United States entered the First World War, he joined the French army where he served as an ambulance driver and made some long-term French friends…one of whom was fellow ambulance driver Pierre Pasquier.

Bennett set a visible new example. He was in his office no later than 7:30 every morning. He kept his window wide open whatever the weather. Since most employees rode to work on streetcars, they had to pass his window. Workers quickly got the point.


So in October 1928 he incorporated Toledo Precision Devices, Inc. as another wholly owned subsidiary. C. O. Marshall, Sr. was transferred and named vice president and general manager.

Porcelain scales weighed up to 165 pounds. They were simply too heavy for most salesmen to haul into stores for demonstrations. When the salesman conducted a “scale audit” which compared the demonstration scale with the actual scale the merchant was using, he usually could prove a savings to the merchant of at least two cents on every weighing. Most merchants claimed they used their scale about 300 times a day.

While both the new products were well received, the weight printer caused the most excitement. For the first time customers could have a printed record of the weight information shown on the dial. It solved problems in reading, remembering and recording weight readings correctly.

It was a urea-formaldehyde molding compound with characteristics that were far superior to any known plastic. The new compound produced a beautiful, tough translucent material that could be molded into delicate pastel shades. Bennett was wowed. He had the vision to see far-reaching potential in the new material many decades before Dustin Hoffman had the magic word “plastics” whispered in his ear in The Graduate.

During the first three years of the Depression, Toledo’s industrial sales volume dropped off 70% and retail scale sales about 50% from their 1929 levels. Service sales increased…scales were being maintained rather than replaced and service remained the only profitable operation.

As time passed, more and more competitive coin-operated scales were placed on the streets. Income from Toledo’s penny scales continued to drop. The company finally discontinued making the tombstone-style coin-operated penny scales at the end of the decade.


Two days after his inauguration, Roosevelt declared a national emergency and closed all American banks. It was called a Bank Holiday. At the same time he placed an embargo on gold to prevent hoarding. The Toledo Scale management—along with the management of virtually every American company—was deeply concerned about the affect the bank closings would have on the small amount of business still to be had. … Little or no effect on Toledo sales was felt from the bank closings…in fact the nation’s morale improved well before business improved.

Saturday morning, Bennett closed the convention with a talk on the glowing possibilities for the future of the Toledo organization with the many new developments research had recently produced. Bennett was an inspiring, highly skilled speaker and the crowd was with him. As one field man put it, “It made the whole convention worthwhile.”

Then in 1934, a company that Toledo had been cooperating with became a tough competitor. In June, IBM sold their Dayton Scale Company division to the Hobart Manufacturing Company of Troy, Ohio. Toledo’s relationship with IBM’s Dayton division had been trouble-free since Bennett and Thomas Watson, Sr. had made their “gentlemen’s agreement” eight years previously. Now IBM had sold Dayton.

In August 1935, President Roosevelt signed into law the Social Security Act. It was intended only for those in commercial or industrial jobs and was to be funded by a payroll tax. The depression continued. Bennett was constantly seeking ways to build business. In just the first three years of the Depression, the company lost all but about 10 cents per share of its earned surplus. Its common stock stood at about $20.10 per share. Par value was $20.00 per share at the time.

“Well, Lloyd, we know that demonstrating helps sell scales. In fact demonstrations are vital. Let’s see if we can figure out some ways to do more demonstrations like we do at trade shows.”

A novel new way to generate more sales resulted from the meeting. Bennett especially wanted to get the market acquainted with the company’s many innovative special purpose scales. Toledo bought two exhibition cars. They were similar to modern mobile homes except the entire interior was devoted to a display of special purpose scales and force measuring devices. An experienced sales engineer was assigned to each one. They called them Aero-Cars.

Toledo’s home town was proud of the company. A local newspaper assigned their top feature writer, Allen Saunders, to do a complete feature on weighing and Toledo Scale. Saunder’s story was given a full page for each of five consecutive days, Monday through Friday. Titled “The Weigh of the World,” the series was incredibly thorough, excellent publicity for the struggling company. Saunders began his first piece on Monday with: Scales weighed the milk you carry in from the front step; scales packaged the cereal, sugar, coffee and salt on your breakfast table. The clothes you don, the parts of the auto you drive to work, the street surfacing over which you pass, the newspaper you read…and on and on ad infinitum…all that you eat and wear and handle and much that you look at, once caused a quiver of an indicator on the chart of a scale.”

The EgotistI am as old as the history of civilized Man; early I joined the traffic of the World. Abraham used me as he bargained for his burial ground. Joseph relied upon me during the years of the Great Famine. Belshazzar trembled as I read his doom. I am pictured on the ancient temple walls of Egypt and Babylonia. I antedate the use of money of any sort,—yea, the value of money is determined by me. I handle counting problems with startling rapidity and accuracy. I am recognized by the governments of all nations. I can win or lose wars. I measure one of the greatest forces of nature. I tell how much coal is mined and burned. I determine the value of all metals, common and precious; lapidaries would be lost without me. I guard the very water that man drinks. If I were unfaithful to my trust I could bankrupt the commerce of the world. I stand guard in the most unpretentious shops and the mightiest industries rely upon me. I have a part in all the food that is eaten, the clothing that is worn, the soaps, powders and perfumes that are bought. I am important at birth, necessary through life, and useful at death. I spy on most letters that are written, and govern the ingredients of the ink used in writing them. Papers and magazines are subjected to my scrutiny. I work with the ignorant; I assist with accuracy the investigations of the scientist. Pauper or prince, I serve both alike. I hold a front seat at every baseball game. I stand at the starting and finishing line of every horse race. Prizefighters are classified by me. I am known the world over. I am one of the most important necessities of a progressive civilization, yet one of the most neglected,—I AM A SCALE.


In 1938, Toledo introduced a logarithmic chart for industrial scales and a weighing system to balance aircraft propellers, which would prove especially useful in just a few years.


Through the 30’s Plaskon had grown by leaps and bounds. It was a true growth company in a growth industry. But Toledo was concerned about the potential competition. Many large, well-financed chemical corporations were now working in the plastics field. DuPont, Monsanto, Union Carbide, and more.all very much larger and better financed. There was a chance that one of them would come up with a better product. A war would only serve to accelerate their interest in plastics.  Monsanto made a tentative offer of $7,000,000 for 100% of Toledo’s Plaskon stock…but in Monsanto common stock with restrictions on the number of shares that could be put on the market at any one time, and in total for one year. Toledo needed cash…not stock with selling limitations. Discussions with Monsanto were dropped. Glass was a major Toledo industryOwens-Illinois, Libbey- Owens-Ford, and the relatively new Owens Corning Fiberglas were all glass companies with headquarters in Toledo. Their management all knew each other well. In fact, Mike Owens, the mechanical genius who invented the bottle blowing machine, among other inventions for glass production, had been involved with all three at one time or another and was the Owens in all three company names.

Out of Toledo’s search for a lightweight material for scale housings came an entirely new industry…developed so a salesman could carry a scale into a store without getting a hernia. Toledo Scale had been paid over $500,000 in cash dividends over the years and realized a final profit of $2,111,156. Toledo research paid off. And Bennett didn’t forget his success with plastics.


Using the Toledo double pendulum mechanism, Toledo greatly refined force measurement devices. They would be used in dynamometer scales to measure the torque of large aircraft engines and to test diesel engines for landing craft.

Ration stamps were quickly issued for all vital commodities. Gasoline rationing was soon initiated. The company was concerned that there might come a time when it would be impossible for salesmen to get gasoline for their cars. So Toledo Scale asked area manager W. M. Randolph to conduct an experiment down in Dixie to see if sales could still be made using only public transportation. Retail representative Bob Schick was sent from Atlanta to Augusta, Georgia, by train to spend a week there on retail sales. Six pieces of equipment were shipped to him in care of his hotel. On Monday morning, Schick took a bus out to the end of the line. He worked his way back on foot and called on stores along the way. When he located a prospect, he would return to the hotel, call a taxi and take a scale or food machine out to the merchant’s store. He repeated this process all week. At the end of the week total sales were slightly above average. Taxi and miscellaneous expenses for the week were less than ten dollars. Area Manager Randolph wrote, “We now know definitely that should a situation develop where gasoline is impossible to get, we will still be selling retail scales.”

At the Harley Davidson plant in Milwaukee, Toledos were added to those already there to quickly and accurately furnish necessary weights for production and weight control. The name Harley Davidson meant motorcycles the world over, and the plant worked at top speed to put wheels under the Army’s motorized units. This plant was where motorcycles were produced for the Armored Division’s motorized scouts as well as for reconnaissance and message carrying for all services.

Research came up with an answer…Plaskon. Plaskon…another stride forward in the plastics industry. Today, plastic products reach into all our lives…all children of Hyatt’s laboratory mistake…of Bakeland’s experiments…of Bennett’s lightweight scales.”


Bennett had not held a majority of Toledo Scale stock for some time. Now a majority was controlled by bankers led by W W Knight, Sr. and others who had been Bennett’s original investors and had also bought out the stock of the original eastern owners. It was rumored they were pressuring Bennett to pay off the loans he had obtained to expand the plant and convert it to war production.

Bennett thought that plastics handling machinery could be developed and manufactured by Defiance Machine Works. In December he reached an agreement with Toledo Scale’s majority stockholders and traded his financial interest in Toledo Scale for 100% interest in Defiance Machine Works.

Bennett’s achievements were many. At the start, he took over an accumulation of problems, which included the huge debt caused when Toledo Scale lost the lawsuit to Dayton because a Phinney scale couldn’t be found. He led the company through a ten-year depression when there was often grave doubt that it would survive. Even as late as 1939, there were still 9,000,000 workers unemployed.

Bennett was a true entrepreneur. Hugh and Geoffrey Bennett enthusiastically took over the Defiance operation and began to implement their plans. They developed a unique press to preform plastic materials. Geoff Bennett took over more of its development as Hugh’s heart disease worsened. Four years later, just as the company was ready to prosper, he suffered a fatal heart attack. Like Henry Theobald before him, Hubert D. Bennett was just 56-years-old at his death. And like Henry Theobald, he was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, not far from the founder’s grave.


“Diverse weights are an abomination unto the Lord and a false balance is not good.” Proverbs, chapter XX, verse 23


He spoke to the engineers in a group. “Let me define what we’re going to expect from each of these three groups,” he said. “You research engineers will create the kind of new ideas that will lead to new products. And ideas to improve existing products. That’s your primary job.” He turned to the head of development. “Development engineering will make the new ideas practical. You will adapt them to fit our production facilities. Your engineers have to be familiar with our manufacturing techniques…able to design parts and finished products for efficient production.” “You production engineers pick up where development leaves off,” he said to them. “You are the people who establish the procedures we need in the plant to build the new products.”


After World War II, in the late 1940s, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Louisiana were among the last states in the union to pass weights and measures legislation.

In June, Toledo’s Brazilian distributors, Eric Haegler and his son Ricardo Haegler visited the plant. Their firm, S.A. Haegler de Maquinas e Representacoes, had represented Toledo since 1940. The family would prove to play a significant role in the future of the Toledo Scale name.


Meanwhile McIntosh retained the management consulting firm McKensie & Company to do a study on Toledo’s procedures and people.

Orders included scales to checkweigh waste fibers used in oil filters, to regulate the size of crushed rock nuggets for the Indiana Turnpike, to accurately weigh the clothes used in testing clothes dryers and washing machines, to check the growth of a litter of pigs on an experimental farm, to provide the exact printed weight of chlorine sold directly to customers via a pipeline, to determine the uniformity of loaves of bread, to check lots of golf tees, to check the resiliency standards of sponge rubber products…and many more unusual uses for scales that no one had ever anticipated.

The following year, the developer of IBM, Thomas J. Watson, Sr. died at the age of 82. An IBM Division, the Dayton Scale Company, competed with Toledo Scale in the early years. Watson sold Dayton Scale to Hobart in 1934. Although IBM was not the first to move into computers after World War II, its success in marketing them quickly outdistanced all competitors.

A breakthrough new product came out of research. A new digital-scanning electronic unit transmitted weights to remotely located data handling devices for the first time. Weights could now go anywhere and be reproduced accurately in almost any form. General sales manager Don Boudinot said, “The achievement has the same significance in the field of weighing as breaking the sound barrier had in aviation. ”The digital-scanning electronic unit was developed in time for display at the Chemical show in December. It was the hit of the show. The basic element was a light source that scanned lines exposed on a special chart. The output was a series of electrical pulses that pass through an electronic counter and translator to a remote recording or indicating device. Called “Electronic Wings”, the unit could be used with any Toledo industrial dial scale. It soon became popular to totalize meat and other items over a monorail scale, to remotely record batch ingredients and supervise remote scales from a central location. It was Toledo Scale’s first digital electronic product.

Harris McIntosh had already expanded the company with several acquisitions and wanted to continue that growth. “Early this year we decided to further diversify our activities,” McIntosh said. “We cast around for the most likely marriage prospect. It was obvious to us that such an acquisition should not be in a field that required different technologies and skills—such as the chemical field—but one with much the same activities.” In September 1957, McIntosh announced a merger with the Haughton Elevator Company of Toledo. Many thought it was brought about by the “old boy” network in Toledo since Haughton was another local company, even older than Toledo Scale. … The merger was viewed in financial circles as one of the most significant actions ever taken in the Toledo business community. Still, the merger posed the question of what relationship a scale had to an elevator. In announcing the merger McIntosh said, “Although scales and elevators are vastly different products, they are very closely related in many respects. Haughton’s elevators are electro-mechanical devices and so are many Toledo Scale products. Both companies are in the metal working field. Both make end products. And service is a very important segment of both firms’ business.” … “If a scale becomes inaccurate, it is taken out of service by officials until it’s repaired,” he explained. “And when periodic government inspections find an elevator that doesn’t pass inspection and might be unsafe, it’s taken out of service until it’s fixed.” The merger was approved in November. The emerging company became Toledo Scale Corporation. Both Toledo Scale and Haughton Elevator continued as operating divisions of Toledo Scale Corporation.Combined annual sales were estimated to be in excess of $40,000,000 for 1957. Toledo Scale had always been a closed corporation, and never made public its sales or earnings figures. It was said there were only about 100 Toledo Scale shareholders, with most of the stock being concentrated in a few blocks. The merger was effected by an exchange of stock and a new stock was created for Toledo Scale Corporation and offered to the public. After more than half a century, Toledo Scale became a public company for the first time. Reports showed that 50,000 to 70,000 shares of the new stock were offered “over the counter.”


John Lewis was a scholar. Soon after becoming industrial marketing manager, he spoke to the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. His title, “The History of Weighing.” His script read in part: “As the main purpose of this talk is to take a look at 10,000 years of weighing progress, let’s take a look backward: The progress of civilization can be related to the extent that man has used some form of measurement. Probably the oldest form of measurement is by weight. Archaeologists have found primitive weighing balances in Egyptian tombs dating back to 8,000 BC. They consisted simply of a piece of wood, suspended in the middle by a leather thong. Two flat pieces were hung on either end by the same means. A few centuries later, in the land of Sumer near the Persian Gulf, a complete system of balances and standard weights were used for trading in metals and agricultural products. This early system spread to India, China and then into Europe. The weight units of this early system were still in use up to the Renaissance, several centuries before Columbus sailed for America. Ancient Greece, too, had its system of weights and measures. Archimedes, a famous Greek philosopher and mathematician, actually saved himself from being beheaded by using his rapidly acquired knowledge of weighing principals. King Hieron of Greece commissioned Archimedes to prove the goldsmith who fabricated his new crown hadn’t diluted the gold and silver in the crown. The King gave Archimedes 24 hours to come up with a method to test the goldsmith’s honesty…and if he failed he would be beheaded. Naturally, Archimedes was a bit stressed. He went home to relax in a warm bath. As he watched the water rise in the tub as he sat down, inspiration struck. He rushed from the bath into the street nude shouting ‘Eureka!’(I have found it!) Archimedes balanced the finished crown in one pan and the specified content of gold and silver in the other pan, first in the air and secondly with both arms submerged in water. He had discovered the principle named after him, which states that a body surrounded by a fluid is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the displaced fluid. Fortunately for the goldsmith, the balance was achieved in water and both their lives were spared. … The Roman steelyard remained unchanged for almost 19 centuries. … ‘No Springs—Honest Weight’”. Lewis continued bringing the history up to the moment load cells and electronic scales were coming into use. His talk was quite successful and he was asked to repeat it many times before other groups.


Also in 1963, Toledo System magazine wrote a story which showed how far we’ve come as a nation since Theobald sold the idea of establishing Honest Weight weights and measures laws. It was about the single one-pound platinum weight at the U.S. Bureau of Standards in Washington against which all weights in the country are checked. It read: “The little platinum cylinder is the most tenderly cared for piece of metal in the country. About 1-1/2 inches high, it’s kept in a platinum lined niche in a quartz plate, mounted on a special brass platform. Three glass bells are placed over it.the second and third each a little larger. The whole thing is kept in an air-tight cabinet which itself is stored inside a vault with double steel doors. This one-pound weight is actually rated in kilograms. It’s officially considered to be 46.35% of a kilogramMany people forget that, as far as weight is concerned, the United States has been legally on the metric system since 1866, when we signed an international agreement to that effect. … Once every ten years the master weight cylinder gets a check-up of its own. It’s sent to be compared with the International Prototype Kilogram that’s housed in a vault in Sevres, France. To get it there, it’s wrapped in a chamois, then put in a metal box wrapped in felt, then repeated through five layers of felt and five boxes.

Toledo Scale’s Industrial Marketing Manager assigned the author, then an industrial marketing specialist, to team with McGiverin on the Swift survey. Terry and McGiverin spent more than two weeks in the plant.

Early in the second week, McGiverin yelled, “Bob, come look at this one!” He had been walking ahead and reached the scale first. When Terry looked at it he saw what had attracted McGiverin’s attention. It was an old Toledo bench scale mounted on a rusted, leaning stand with water standing in the dial head about a third of the way up from the bottom of the dial. The serial number showed the scale was built prior to the first World War. It was over 50-years-old. Terry said, “What the hell, Paul. Let’s check it anyway.”McGiverin put the first test weight in the center of the platform. The indicator was in the water all the way but chattered to a reading in the first quadrant. When it stopped, it showed the scale was reading right on the money. … “All these old Toledos stay remarkably accurate,” McGiverin said, “even when they’re badly maintained and abused like this one. Now you know why the meat packing industry buys Toledos.”

While McGiverin felt right at home, this had been Terry’s first visit to a meat packing plant. He saw that workers faced cold, wet, smelly and dangerous conditions every day. Terry also saw all the parts that were ground up to make hot dogs. He couldn’t eat a hot dog for almost a year.

Before the advent of chicken factories like Holly Farms, Purdue and Tyson, chicken was quite costly. It was usually reserved for Sunday dinner. “A chicken in every pot,” was the politicians cry.

At Toledo do Brasil, a line of industrial scales was manufactured in Sao Paulo.


Marketing produced a 16 mm sales promotion motion picture that told the Verilux story, featuring Fred Carroll’s discovery. It included details on the work he did on his own time in his basement. Continuous loop eight mm copies of the movie were made and used in portable projectors. One projector and two copies of the movie were distributed to each region. The region manager scheduled it throughout his region so each salesmen could carry it into a prospect’s office.

The company’s stock had been traded over-the-counter since 1958. Now in 1964, management concluded it was ready for the big time. Sales were $65.5 million in 1963. Toledo Scale wanted to broaden its list of investors to include institutional investors and endowment funds, which were limited by law, or policy to listed securities. So on July 24, 1964, Toledo Scale Corporation stock made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange with the ticker symbol TDS. It opened at 29-1/2 and rose to 29-7/8 by mid-afternoon. In a listing ceremony with exchange president Keith Funston, Harris McIntosh bought the first 100 shares.

Quertinmont sent retail marketing specialist Bob Terry to Chicago to work with Dee for a few days. He was sent to make calls with Dee and determine what kind of new or different scales and food machines were needed.

Terry summed up what they believed. “You know, Jack never quits selling, always in his own way. He just knows his customers so well, he knows which ones he can bully and which ones call for the velvet glove approach. It’s as simple as that.” They all shook their heads.


Terry had fallen behind in his work and had a stack of correspondence four inches high in his in-basket on Friday when he left work. The whole stack was missing when he returned to work. He worried about it. Some of it had to be important, he thought, and he didn’t know who had written to him or what he could do about it. Several weeks passed and he heard from no one. Then several months. Nobody complained that he had never responded. Terry said, “It’s pretty obvious…people generate a lot of paper that clearly doesn’t mean much. The correspondence couldn’t been very important after all.”

“Checkpoint Charlie” won an international film competition. It was awarded a first-place gold medal at the Ipac-Ima Exhibition in Milan, Italy. Ipac-Ima was a major international exhibition dedicated to material handling, food processing and packaging equipment. “Checkpoint Charlie” was in competition with 18 films from six countries. The medal was presented to Bernie Stanton by Vice President, International Frank Parmelee in Parmelee’s office. An earlier award ceremony was held at the U.S. Trade Center in Milan. Representatives of Toledo Italiana accepted the award on Stanton’s behalf and forwarded the gold medal to Parmelee. Stanton discovered the medal was real 18 carat gold.

In the spring of 1967, Frank Parmelee convinced McIntosh that a technical expert should visit the European affiliates. … While in Zurich, arrangements were made for Hall to visit the research laboratories of Mettler Instrument A.G., the first documented contact between Mettler and Toledo Scale at Mettler’s headquarters. Mettler’s assistant sales manager A. Spoerri, and assistant research director E. Grunder spent about half a day with him. Discussions centered around the possibility of Mettler supplying a low capacity electrical output scale to Toledo for use in automatic counting. Hall’s report made many recommendations to solve the problems at the Toledo affiliates. And about his Mettler visit he said, “The Mettler people were most gracious, although extremely constrained.” The discussions were held in a new building housing the research facility along with the sales department. “This association is significant since it’s in line with other evidence of the strong influence—almost domination—exercised by the technical side of European weighing firms,” he wrote. “Prior to my visit I was informed that Mettler was preparing to enter the checkweighing or automatic filling business,” Hall said. “There was no evidence of this in the facility I visited…but this is not of great significance since my tour was carefully directed. Mettler is without question well qualified to enter either of these fields if they choose. It would be consistent with their present product line.”

Toledo management thought that their stock was undervalued. They wanted to do something to raise its trading price. Many other undervalued companies had been successful in boosting the value of their stock through financial public relations activities.

Dick Herron resigned to become advertising manager for Toledo Edison, and Bob Terry was named to replace him.

On a Sunday afternoon in the early fall of 1967, Ted Metcalf got a phone call from Greg Rothe. “Ted,” Rothe said, “I want you to be at the plant at 7 p.m. tonight for an important meeting. Just go on in to the main conference room.  Sharply at 7 p.m. McIntosh stood and walked to the head of the room. “I have some important news,” he said, “and I wanted you to hear it directly from me.” He paused. “I’ve sold the company,” he said quietly. There was a hush. “Toledo Scale will be merged into the Reliance Electric Company of Cleveland through an exchange of stock,” he said. “All company managers and supervisors will be called to the cafeteria at nine tomorrow morning. We’ll tell them all about it then.” “I’ve determined that none of my children are interested in the business,” he said. “There’s really no one in the family who wants to learn this job, and we have to be sure the company’s future is in solid hands for all our sakes. My family. Your families. All our employees and their families. Everyone. So without considering any conglomerates, we went looking for a merger. ”McIntosh paused and wiped his eyes. Metcalf saw that he was wiping away tears. “And we’ve determined that Reliance is a solid, well-managed company. Though it’s not nearly as well-known as we are, it’s about twice our size in terms of annual sales. Reliance had sales of over $172 million in their fiscal year that just ended October 31. We had sales of $88 million last year.”

The merger marked the end of Toledo Scale as a locally owned and operated independent company, one of Toledo’s top ten employers. And many predicted that it marked the beginning of the end of Toledo Scale in Toledo, Ohio.

The merger called for Toledo Scale to maintain its corporate identity with its present management. It would operate as TOLEDO SCALE Division of Reliance Electric Company. Haughton Elevator was to remain an operating division of Toledo Scale.


The number of pickets was limited by the injunction…but not as limited as Portwood had requested. A large number were permitted. The judge refused to consider the barrier issue. The strikers repaired their barrier and continued to stop every car. Nothing changed. Yet people on both sides seemed to avoid doing anything that would provide an excuse for more violence. The strike continued. The Toledo Scale strike was only a tiny example of a period of violence that hit the nation. The times themselves were violent.

Toledo management people had the feeling that Hugh Luke tended to blame the existing management for the strike. Whether or not this was true, Dick Moss resigned soon after. He remained in Toledo and became an executive recruiter, having acquired a franchise from one of the large firms that specialized in recruiting top executives for large companies. Luke gave McIntosh one more troubling task while he was still available. McIntosh invited Instone to lunch at the Toledo Club. He insisted they order a drink. When the drinks were served and lunch ordered, Instone asked, “What can I do for you, Harris? McIntosh grimaced. “Frank, I have to ask you for your resignation.” Instone paused a moment. “You got it,”he replied. After returning from lunch, Instone packed up his personal belongings and was out of his office by mid-afternoon. The news swept through the building.

Reliance had taken over completely. McIntosh had vacated his office in the plant for Bob Metzger. He rented an office in the National Bank Building in downtown Toledo for personal business but was rarely seen by anyone. When his many friends within the company approached him about a retirement party or ceremony to mark the end of his more than 20 years of Toledo Scale leadership, he refused to have anything to do with it. He was firm—no retirement party for him—saying that he simply wouldn’t attend. He appeared to take his lead from the farewell speech General Douglas MacArthur made before the U.S. Congress after he was fired by President Truman. MacArthur closed his speech with his famous remark, “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”By his own firm choice, Harris McIntosh did indeed choose to simply “fade away”.


Employee apprehension over the leadership changes at the Toledo Scale Division remained even as business continued to grow and new products were developed. Reliance continued to bring in their own people as top managers.

1969 marked the real surge of electronic products at Toledo Scale. The first completely successful electronic digital indicator, the Model 8130, was developed by Roger Williams early in the year. It provided outstanding zero stability and established Toledo’s leadership position in electronic scales and indicators. More electronic scales and instruments quickly followed.

Toledo Scale’s Systems Division developed the Expressweigh, which solved IBP’s problem. It provided random weight package handling, instant in-motion weighing and data recording. Weight data was recorded in a fraction of a second after an item reached the scale. At the Dakota City plant, boxes of vacuum-packed cuts such as tenderloins, sirloins and briskets moved across the Toledo balanced belt conveyors in-motion at a top speed of 20 boxes per minute. Weight and product identification was recorded remotely.

Jenkins, Field Operations Manager John McLellan and Bob Terry personally visited the location to check it out since it would be the first 100% Club meeting held outside the United States.

Reliance management became convinced that the Toledo industrial sales force had to be converted to all engineers, the same as the Reliance sales force. The Toledo Group created a new post and named Bob Terry as Manager, Management and Development to assure the availability of qualified technical manpower for all three divisions— Toledo Scale, Haughton Elevator and Reliance International.

Since Reliance sales people were salaried, it was announced that the Toledo industrial sales force would also become salaried, as engineers were hired to replace commissioned industrial salesmen. The technology explosion would require engineers to sell technical products. No change was contemplated for retail salesmen. Retail would remain commissioned. From the beginning of Toledo Scale in 1901, industrial salesmen had been compensated on a commissioned basis. Many made a large amount of money with their commissions. It was believed, however, that engineers would not accept a commission arrangement, another reason for the change. As word got out about the change, many of the top industrial salesmen resigned, seeing that their compensation would be reduced. Most of them quickly found commissioned jobs with competitive scale companies.

The post of Manager, Management and Development was eliminated and Terry was first given a special assignment to develop an entirely new industrial catalog, then again was named advertising manager.

“You know,” he said, “Even if Toledo Scale hired someone whose only job was to destroy the company, he would fail! The Toledo brand name is so strong, so powerful, by God, he would fail!

Reliance sold Toledo’s Kitchen Machines Division to McGraw Edison since it didn’t fit into the vision of automation.

They agreed to meet all three of Quertinmont’s conditions. His length of service would be the same as if he never left, and Metzger did indeed rescind his announcement that Toledo would go out of the food machine business. In fact, he said that Toledo would be in the food machine business to stay.

In the early 1970s, a rumor went through the Toledo division headquarters that Reliance Electric was seriously thinking of changing Toledo Scale’s name to Reliance. At the time, ad manager Terry obtained approval for a major research firm to conduct a study to determine what comes to the public’s mind when the name of a city is mentioned. The cities selected for the study were Akron, Atlanta, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Seattle, and Toledo. Many of these had what seemed to be an obvious connection to a given product or company. Twelve cities other than those nine being studied were selected in which two questions were asked. More than 100 adults in each of the twelve locations were chosen at random in a shopping mall to provide the answers. The questions were: “What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word (city name)? Second, what company or product comes to mind that you associate with this city? In only three cities was there much of an association with anything. About Milwaukee, 86% answered “beer”.About Toledo, 82% answered “scales”. About Akron, 57% answered “rubber”. While two of these cities were identified with a product, the only association with a given company was Toledo with scales. For the other cities, more than four out of five answered “nothing”. About Atlanta only 10% answered “Coca-Cola”. About Los Angeles 15% answered “airplanes”(people thought movies were being made in Hollywood…not Los Angeles). And about Cleveland—home of Reliance Electric—only a combined 12% answered “Browns” or “Indians”. Over 80% answered “nothing” about Cleveland. Study results were sent to the advertising manager at Reliance headquarters in Cleveland and the rumors stopped.

With electronics everything was happening faster. Products were becoming obsolete much more rapidly. Investments in research and development projects had almost doubled in only eight years, from about $400,000 in 1963 to about $750,000 in 1971. Top management of the Toledo Group changed again. While swimming in the ocean on vacation, Bob Metzger came into the range of a large Portuguese man-of-war, a jellyfish with long, poisonous tentacles. He was seriously poisoned over large parts of his body. Recovery was slow. He couldn’t work and the prognosis was for a long recovery. Reliance decided to put him on extended sick leave and replace him.

“Ah, but let’s not forget that the folks of Toledo unselfishly gave us the scales, ‘No Springs—Honest Weight’ was the promise they made, so smile and be thankful next time you get weighed…”


But features didn’t sell scales: benefits did. What was the real benefit? How would it pay for itself?

Load cells were becoming vital to the manufacture of scales. The operation in the white room in the Toledo plant couldn’t keep up. A decision was made to build a new plant dedicated to the manufacture of load cells. After examining many options, a decision was made to build the plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Quertinmont turned around, pleased to see him. “I’m fine, Mr. McIntosh, how are you? ”Well, okay, but sometimes I’m not so sure. I just can’t believe.” His lips began to quiver as he paused. “I never would have believed when I sold Toledo Scale to Reliance—I never would have believed they would move it out of Toledo! I just can’t talk about it.” Obviously moved, McIntosh shook hands and walked away to catch his flight. It was the last time Quertinmont ever saw him.

In the spring, Don Zelazny challenged Terry and his advertising department to recommend something special for the 100% Club sales meeting to mark the event. Of course it had to stay within budget. … Terry said to Cooper, “Let’s think about holding the meeting in Toledo, Spain. After all, it’s the city name that Toledo, Ohio adopted. So it’s the name Toledo Scale adopted too.” Toledo, Ohio and Toledo, Spain had just resumed their “sister city” relationship first established in the 1930s, but put on hold during the Franco regime. … They visited Toledo’s magnificent, gothic cathedral completed in 1492…the year in which Queen Isabella commissioned Columbus to seek a new route to India from this very city, then the seat of the Spanish throne. And the studio home in which El Greco produced the bulk of his famous paintings. … “I’m sorry, Don…Spain is out. Luke and Ames don’t want this division to be the first to have a glamorous overseas meeting. He was afraid the Reliance sales organization would feel slighted. See if you can find a U.S. spot for the meeting.”

By the end of July [1976], the executive offices on the second floor offices in the Toledo plant were virtually emptyOne of the last to leave the offices was Terry, who had resigned to go into the advertising agency business in Toledo.


Toledo continued to market mechanical scales as top of the line. In spite of their success with many electronic products, they were slow to embrace pure electronics for the full line. They had a large investment in tooling and facilities to produce mechanical scales. The market, however, was moving to electronic scales.

A very unusual Toledo Scale order was booked in 1978. Tom Lloyd, a pharmaceutical industry specialist, sold a $400,000 Toledo system in 1971 that did not include a single scale. He was working with Sterling Drug on a tentative proposal for $20,000 worth of scales for a drug dispensing system. and converted it into a $400,000 order for a security system. … Lloyd commented, “But the interesting part of the project is that we started out trying to get a $20,000 scale order and were having a tough time getting it. So rather than selling just hardware, we sold a solution to our customer’s problem. That solution was worth $400,000 to us. We also sold a maintenance contract with it, and spare parts over the next three years for another $100,000.” Tom Lloyd sold a solution to a customer’s problem. Much like Theobald had advised over 70 years previously.

Reliance Electric sold their electric motors and related control products through distributors. These were pure distributors in that they bought the products from Reliance and sold them with a mark-up. Toledo had a selling organization they called distributors…but they were really agents. Scales were sent to them on consignment and the company was not paid until the scales were sold. Part of the Toledo deal was that their distributors—unlike Reliance distributors—would handle only Toledo products.no competitors. Toledo’s arrangement had bothered Reliance from the beginning. Now they issued instructions to change it…after all, if Toledo distributors paid for the scales when they ordered them, it would increase cash flow significantly. Traditional Toledo distributors were not happy with the new arrangement. To show their displeasure at being forced to become pure distributors, many signed up to handle competitive scales along with the Toledo line. This decision helped spark a new, competitive scale company.


One of his first moves was to call Terry at his agency in Toledo. Dillon needed graphics and print material for everything a new company required: stationery, all business forms, a logo, literature for his first product, ads, and moreTerry’s business partner, graphic designer Jan Robie, designed all of these, including the Masstron logo in a stylized capital M shaped like a scale balance.

Dillon especially admired the shade of orange on his riding lawn mower. He wanted just that shade. Robie determined the color was really PMS Warm Red. She designed the logo and all other elements using this as the second color. The color did the job. It did indeed help identify a Masstron scale from a distance. A bit later it caused some consternation at Toledo Scale.

Dillon knew them all personally and they knew him. He knew which ones did a good job and paid their bills. He signed up the best of those who applied as Masstron distributors. This immediately gave him a highly qualified national sales organization composed of people who liked and respected him.

Soon Masstron had systems capability. The young company acquired a systems-oriented firm founded by Larry Anderson and Bill Pickard, both ex-Toledo employees. The firm quickly became a force in heavy capacity scales and systems in both the U.S. and Canada. … Toledo grain industry manager Tom Quertinmont, Ed Quertinmont’s son, was another who had left Toledo and joined Masstron.


After Ben Dillon had left Toledo to start Masstron, Al Schiff remained the leading executive at the Toledo Scale Division. His solo tenure was brief. Reliance soon transferred Pete Tsivitse to Toledo Scale, naming him vice president of the group. Later David Patterson joined him from Reliance as general manager of weighing and controls. Once again, Toledo Scale decided to get out of the food machine business. They began to phase them out. Food machines made in Franksville still were unprofitable…and still had quality problems.

Then in early 1979, Reliance abruptly announced that they had sold the Haughton Elevator Division to Schindler Elevator A.G. of Switzerland. Schindler was Reliance’s Swiss partner in a joint company, Schindler-Reliance Electronics A.G. It was the last piece left of the Toledo Scale Corporation that McIntosh had put together.

In late 1979, a major change took place at Reliance Electric. Some months before, Reliance had announced the development of a new electric motor that was declared to be extremely energy efficient, requiring much less electricity to operate. The announcement attracted the attention of Exxon, the giant oil company. Exxon made an attractive tender offer for Reliance largely based on the development of the energy efficient motor. The offer was accepted and Reliance was acquired by Exxon. Now it was Reliance’s turn. Exxon soon discovered that the energy efficient electric motor didn’t perform as announced. Exxon replaced many Reliance executives. They started by naming their own John Morley as president and CEO of Reliance Electric. History repeated itself…just as Reliance replaced Toledo Scale top executives, Exxon replaced Reliance top executives.

In 1981, Reliance CEO Morley negotiated to acquire Hi-Speed Checkweigher Company, Inc. of Ithaca, New York, for Toledo Scale. Toledo had manufactured checkweighers as early as 1951 but its checkweigher line was incomplete and never very profitable. Meanwhile Hi-Speed had been quite successful.

An in-motion checkweigher doesn’t provide an actual weight reading, it simply checks package weights within a small, preset weight range. Speeds over a line can be over 1000 packages per minute. They’re used to assure that the package contains at least as much product as is printed on the package to avoid short-weight claims. At the same time it tells packaging line people if they’re giving away too much extra product which quickly adds to extra cost. Hi-Speed kept their own identity. Yet it put Toledo Scale in the checkweigher business with the leading brand.

“Before the advent of electronic weighing, Toledo Scale had three or four major competitors,” Hall explained. “Now we have two or three dozen that are nibbling away at our traditional business. If we can’t quickly produce new and better products we stand to lose some of our market share. This new Engineering Center is a solid investment that will enhance our competitive edge in the scale market.”

Back in Toledo, Ohio, Reliance sold the entire 550,000 square foot Telegraph Road plant and its 70-acre site to Willis-Day Properties for $2.1 million. Willis-Day planned to use the plant for light manufacturing and warehousing.

An Open House for employees and their families was held on Sunday, July 10, 1983. Overlooked was the fact that this date happened to be the exact 82nd anniversary of Toledo Scale. A small booklet was given to each visitor with a welcome by Joel Wise, the plant manager. In the booklet, Wise wrote, “The renovation of our plant was a direct commitment from our parent company, Reliance Electric, to stay in the Toledo community.” Little did he know. Less than a year later Reliance announced they would phase out all operations in Toledo. The work done in Toledo was moved to Windsor, Ontario, and Spartanburg, South Carolina. The last 140 Toledo Scale employees in Toledo lost their jobs.


Meanwhile, Exxon finally took a closer look at Toledo Scale, which they had acquired as part of Reliance Electric. Toledo’s performance had been slipping. They were losing share to Masstron and others. The result was to bring Steve Perry in from Kato Engineering as Toledo Scale’s general manager. Morley had placed him at Kato several years previously. It proved to be an excellent move.

Perry soon became aware of the market share—and top employees—Toledo Scale had lost and continued to lose to Masstron. He determined to do something about it. Perry quietly opened negotiations with Dillon to buy Masstron. Concerned that the vast buying power of Exxon could be used against him, Dillon listened. And he still suffered some trauma from the plane crash that took Susor and Pickard. Perry and Dillon reached an agreement. Toledo Scale acquired Masstron in 1985 and made it their heavy-capacity arm. As part of the agreement, Dillon agreed to stay and run the operation for three more years. All ex-Toledo employees who had resigned to join Masstron had their length of service treated as if they had never left Toledo Scale, which could positively affect their future pensions.

In December 1986, Exxon sold Reliance Electric to its management in a highly leveraged buyout. Reliance became independent again. About two years later, Reliance president Morley announced they were investigating the potential sale of Toledo Scale to reduce the company’s large debt. It went on the block. Reliance had never been very successful in managing their Toledo Scale property. Now identified again as Toledo Scale Corporation, Toledo employees were worried about who might buy the company…and what affect it would have on their lives. Would it be a corporate raider who would milk it for its assets? Would it be a foreign company who would install a vastly different culture? The answer came in December 1988. Reliance Electric president John Morley announced they had reached an agreement to sell Toledo Scale Corporation to Ciba-Geigy, the giant Swiss pharmaceutical and chemical company.

Reliance sold all the assets of Toledo Scale to Ciba-Geigy except for the Brazilian operation, which they sold at the same time to interests in Brazil. Ciba-Geigy merged Toledo Scale’s industrial and retail capabilities with Mettler Instruments AG, another Swiss company they had purchased in 1981 and operated as a subsidiaryMettler manufactured laboratory balances and instruments

Ciba-Geigy had kept the Mettler name for the subsidiary rather than change it to Ciba-Geigy. They were concerned that their chemical and pharmaceutical competitors who used the lab equipment that Mettler manufactured wouldn’t buy products that carried a Ciba-Geigy brand name since it was the name of a major competitor. Mettler was a well-known brand name in Europe. Mettler had marketed their balances and instruments in the U.S. to laboratories and the scientific community since shortly after the firm was founded in 1945 at the end of World War II. Yet it was a little-known brand in the U.S. outside of laboratories

Though Mettler was slightly larger overall, it was much smaller in the United States when compared to Toledo Scale. In the U.S. it looked like the minnow had swallowed the whale. Still, most Toledo Scale employees breathed a sigh of relief. Mettler was, after all, involved with weighing.

The only asset Ciba-Geigy did not buy for Mettler was the Brazilian operationReliance sold it to Ricardo Haegler interests in Brazil. The Haegler family had been associated with Toledo Scale since 1940, first as a distributor. Later Toledo built a manufacturing plant in Sao Paulo, which was managed by the HaeglersThe Brazilian plant produced Toledo mechanical scales for years for Latin America. Later they made them for the U.S. market as well, as mechanical scale sales shrunk in the U.S. Ricardo Haegler acquired full rights to the Toledo Scale operation in Brazil including the existing plant and the right to use the Toledo Scale name. Even today, a small market remains for the mechanical scale line, mostly in Latin America. A few Toledo mechanical scales—and parts for all of them—are still being produced by the independent firm, Toledo Do Brasil, in Sao Paulo. The sale was closed on February 15, 1989.

Dillon’s natural impatience caused him to follow the MBWA rule…Management By Walking Around. At one time or another, virtually every manager and supervisor in the company was surprised when Dillon would show up and ask an unexpected question. If he tried to dance around an answer, he would get the stare, followed by, “Bullshit!”

Hermann Vodicka was Dillon’s boss. Vodicka headed the combined companies and ran Mettler’s European operation as well. Since both Mettler and Toledo had well established identities in Europe, Vodicka put the two names together in Europe, calling it METTLER TOLEDO. The U.S. company kept the Toledo Scale identity using the signature, “TOLEDO Scales & Systems”.

The recommendation was rejected by the Swiss owners. Vodicka announced a single brand global strategy. Toledo Scale would become METTLER TOLEDO, as would every other group with a separate identity…with one exception. The only exception was the Ohaus Corporation, fully owned by Mettler Toledo. Ohaus manufactures and markets balances and scales from their headquarters in Florham Park, New Jersey. Since Ohaus balances competed in the marketplace with Mettler balances, Vodicka chose not to change their name. Ohaus balances and scales are still manufactured and sold under the Ohaus brand name with no visible public connection to Mettler Toledo. A few Ohaus brand products are manufactured for them in Mettler Toledo’s Worthington, Ohio plant alongside Mettler Toledo brand products.

Toledo Scale had been an international company since the Theobald era early in the century, with operations in most major parts of the world, including Australia, Canada, much of Europe, Mexico, South and Central America and the People’s Republic of China. With Mettler’s greater strength in Europe, Africa, the Near East and Pacific Rim, the combination became even more global in scope. Mettler Toledo now had manufacturing plants in seven nations around the world, with sales and service companies in eleven more. These sales and service companies were complemented by established trading alliances with general agents in many parts of the world. To serve these wider markets the company was organized in two parts. Mettler-Toledo GmbH with headquarters in Greifensee, Switzerland, served Europe, Africa, the Near East and the Pacific Rim. Mettler-Toledo, Inc. served all the Americas and Australia out of Worthington, Ohio. In 1992 at Vodicka’s order, the Toledo Scale name was officially changed to METTLER TOLEDO all over the world…including the United States. Thus Ben Dillon became the last president of Toledo Scale Corporation…and overnight became the first president of Mettler-Toledo, Inc. For the first time since it was founded in 1901, Toledo Scale lost its separate, highly recognized brand identity…a valuable identity it had carried for more than nine-tenths of the 20th century. After 91 years, the powerful Toledo Scale brand name and identity were officially ordered to be dropped by its new Swiss owners.


By 1994, awareness/preference studies showed that the name Mettler Toledo was beginning to be recognized, running in 7th or 8th place among all scale companies. The Toledo name by itself was still way ahead at the top position…the most recognized name by far, even though it hadn’t been used for several years. It continued to survive on its own. … Hermann Vodicka was promoted to a different position within Ciba-Geigy. Robert F. Spoerry was named to replace him as president of Mettler Toledo. As a Mettler executive, Spoerry had been instrumental in the acquisition of Toledo Scale. He continued Vodicka’s policies. He continued to endorse the name change and the single-brand strategy. And Spoerry was not happy with the progress being made in the U.S. operation on the identity. … When he was called upon to speak, Spoerry took strong exception to the Toledo Scale mentions. He is a relatively young top executive, appearing to be in his mid-40s, bespectacled and slightly built. Some claim he displays the awkward appearance and manner of a classic, European college professor. Quite fluent in English, he’s usually soft-spoken. He is not the effective public speaker typical of today’s top business executive. But this day he spoke firmly. Prior to launching into his prepared remarks he spontaneously said, “Let me make it clear…you represent Mettler Toledo. Toledo Scale doesn’t exist any more! It hasn’t for over four years. I don’t want to hear any more about Toledo Scale. It’s Mettler Toledo!”  They insisted that everyone use the METTLER TOLEDO signature and elaborate logo.

In spite of their efforts, they were concerned that Spoerry blamed them for the slow pace at which the Mettler Toledo name was being recognized. Internal efforts increased. Yet many distributors continued to resist. They saw only disadvantages to their own business. Their customers knew the old name well…not the new one. In the field they still often presented themselves as representing Toledo Scale…they had no real connection with Mettler lab balances nor did a vast majority of their customers. And in spite of the name, they were not authorized to sell Mettler Toledo balances or instruments.

Meanwhile, Ciba-Geigy was cleaning house to prepare for a $27 billion merger with Sandoz AG. The two later combined under the name NovartisIn October Ciba-Geigy announced plans to float Mettler Toledo in a public share offering. The news sparked a flood of unsolicited offers from prospective buyers. The best offer came from AEA Investors, with headquarters in New York City. AEA Investors is an American investment fund founded in the 1960s as a private investment vehicle for wealthy Americans such as the Rockefellers, Mellons, DuPonts and Harrimans. AEA Investors specializes in leveraged buyouts of small and medium-sized companies. They discovered that their most useful investors were not the advisors of wealthy families as they had anticipated, but retired large-company chief executives. These men could come up with the capital needed and lend their talents to the boards of the acquired companies. Sitting on the boards, their management skills could help build acquired companies into industry leaders before reselling them or taking them public. In April 1996, Ciba-Geigy agreed to sell Mettler Toledo to AEA Investors for $769.2 million. Ownership changed hands on October 15. Named Mettler-Toledo International, Inc., it was now an American-owned company incorporated in Delaware and reporting results in U.S. dollars. Yet headquarters remained in Greifensee, Switzerland. AEA did indeed choose people from their group of retired chief executives to sit on the board. Phillip Caldwell, former Chairman of Ford Motor Company, was named Chairman of Mettler- Toledo International. Among other prestigious retired chief executives named to sit on the Mettler Toledo board were Reginald Jones, former Chairman of General Electric, and John Macomber, former Chairman of Pfizer. Mettler Toledo president Robert Spoerry was also named to the board. In early 1997, Spoerry ordered a major change in the U.S. operation. He gave directions for a complete management shakeup and cultural change in the marketing structure to emulate the structure in place in Europe. What’s more, the U.S. lab balance and instrument group would close and sell the valuable, largely empty building in Hightstown, New Jersey, and merge their operations into the Worthington, Ohio headquarters. And since the Worthington building was already too crowded, headquarters would be moved to a new building in Polaris, a suburban area north of Columbus. In the new structure, management was split into two groups, a Marketing Organization (MO) and a Producing Organization (PO). Retail and industrial POs were established in the Worthington and Columbus plants under the direction of Mettler- Toledo, Inc. president John Robechek, now also titled “Division Head—Mettler Toledo Industrial/Retail-Americas (MTIRA).”

In April 1997, 15 individual teams called Delta Teams were established. The team members were told that they should begin designing the new MO and the newest PO in the Worthington plant. Of the 91 people assigned to the separate teams, seven were distributors and only one was not an employee or a distributor. Jan Robie, president of Mettler Toledo’s marketing communications agency, was a member of the Brand Awareness Team. As a contribution to help the company implement their plans, the agency did not bill her time for the countless hours she served on the Delta team. Several lab group employees who accepted a transfer from New Jersey were assigned to Delta teams as well. It soon became clear that of the almost 60 people in the New Jersey operation, only 11 were willing to relocate to Columbus. Apparently most didn’t want to leave their homes in metropolitan New York. Many were coastal types and didn’t want to live in “fly-over” country.

Also in January Robechek announced that sales in 1997 resulted in “an excellent year!” He explained that, “For the full year we were 7% ahead of the previous year but 3% behind our goal. I am really proud of what we accomplished together in 1997, and I hope you feel the same way.”

Just over a year after buying Mettler Toledo, AEA Investors took the company public. On November 13, 1997, Mettler-To- ledo International, Inc. completed its initial public equity offering in the United States. It sold 6.67 million primary shares at $14 per share. These shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol MTD.


On December 8, 1997, Merrill Lynch published a booklet about Mettler-Toledo International, Inc. titled “The Power of Balance”. In their list of Fundamental Highlights they wrote: Mettler Toledo is the world’s leading supplier of precision weighing instruments. Only supplier to operate in all major geographic regions and in all major served markets. Attractive combination of “ivory tower” intellect in lab business and “street smarts” of industrial and retail settings. One local reader observed, “I always thought that pimps and drug dealers were the kind of people that were usually credited with ‘street smarts’. Now Merrill Lynch seems to have put us in the same category. Their input must have come from the lab people direct from their Swiss ‘ivory tower’. But then, Teutonic people have never been known for their humility.”

The Blade published a story on December 16 written by senior business writer, Homer Brickey. The headline was, “City name still carries weight on stock exchange”. In part, the story read: “Toledo Scale is back on the Big Board. Oh, it’s not exactly called Toledo Scale anymore—it’s called Mettler-Toledo International, Inc., and its headquarters are in Switzerland. And for the second time in the last three decades, stock of the Toledo-born company is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Toledo Scale made its debut on NYSE on July 24, 1964, with the ticker symbol TDS. In its new incarnation, the Mettler Toledo scale company went on the Big Board November 14, with the ticker symbol MTD. They had sales last year of $850 million. Mettler Toledo styles itself as a U.S. company that happens to have its headquarters in Griefensee, Switzerland. If that sounds a bit confusing, it’s only because much has happened to the firm in the last 30 years. For many years, Toledo Scale was one of Toledo’s best known exports and trademarks—ranking right up their with Jeeps and Champion Spark Plugs. Of course, all three trademarks ended up in other hands. After all that has happened to Toledo Scale and to Mettler Toledo, it’s a miracle the name ‘Toledo’ survives at all. But then again, it’s such a grand old name.”

By spring, Mettler-Toledo International shares had risen to the low $20s on the New York Stock Exchange. The IPO appeared to be successful.


In the spring of 1998 the company offered a buy-out package to employees who qualified by age and experience…a group that happened to be made up largely of former middle-management employees of Toledo Scale. It appeared that they were not perceived as willing to accept the new culture and a “benevolent genocide” took place for those painted with the Toledo Scale brush. With a few exceptions, only Robechek, Peters and a few other former Toledo Scale people in top management remained…largely those who implemented the MO/PO structure and the new culture. Most who left were replaced with outside hires. At the same time, many long-time vendors were replaced with new ones.

The original fan and cylinder mechanical retail scales bearing Toledo’s name and the slogan “No Springs—Honest Weight” became prized possessions among collectors and antique dealers. They began to sell for as much as $800…three or four times as much as when they were new. “The Toledos have become very popular in the last few years,” said T. S. Carley, vice president of the International Society of Antique Scale Collectors. “Of course, no one is interested in the new ones, but the old ones that were made in Toledo have become very big, particularly on the West coast,” he said.


Before Ciba-Geigy acquired Toledo Scale, the U.S. lab business for Mettler had their headquarters in Hightstown, New Jersey. Hightstown is near Princeton where Mettler had located their first U.S. office because they believed that a Princeton address carried extra prestige. The office arrangement is an “open environment” intended to encourage a team concept. There are no separate offices…or even any Dilbert-like cubicles.Everyone sits facing each other at an angle in individual, alternating pods each containing a computer. There are meeting areas scattered throughout each floor for when people need to talk face to face.

Then in March 1999, Spoerry announced another change. He consolidated the industrial and retail divisions for the Americas and Europe into one global division, naming Lucas Braunschweiler to head it. Braunschweiler had been head of the European operations but would now move to Columbus to head the global operation. Robechek now reported to him. Three months later, Robechek resigned.

The Annual Report stated: “The company does not have a dividend policy. To date, the company has never paid any dividends on common stock. The company has used its cash flow to reduce debt and make acquisitions.”

The laboratory market now represented 38% of net sales with the traditional industrial/retail market still providing the majority. By 1998, Mettler-Toledo International was a totally different, truly global company. Europe provided 46% of the business, the Americas 43%, with Asia and other areas providing 11%. 1999 first-quarter results showed continued growth. In his April 30, 1999 memo to employees, Ken Peters reported that his marketing group had exceeded the bookings seasonal budget by over 40%, and the billings budget by more than 15%.

One long-time employee offered this possible explanation: “The Toledo Scale brand name remains strongest in American industry. When the Swiss management changed the name, I doubt they considered the long useful life of Toledo mechanical dial scales. Remember, many thousands of Toledo mechanical scales with the familiar large TOLEDO—HONEST WEIGHT dial remain in use in plants and factories all over the world. And person-weigher scales are still before the public in banks, health clubs and supermarkets everywhere. All these Toledo dial scales keep the name alive.”

The Historical Society is in the process of collecting material for a museum of 20 th century Toledo area industrial developments. Since a home for the collection does not exist yet, a “virtual museum” has been created on the internet by the Society, the Toledo- Lucas County Public Library and the University of Toledo. Called “Toledo’s Attic,” the paintings may now be seen on www.history.utoledo.edu/attic

For many years to come, they will display the proud heritage of “TOLEDO—HONEST WEIGHT” throughout the civilized world. Like General Douglas MacArthur—and Harris McIntosh— it seems that the Toledo Scale name will never die, but over time, just…fade away.

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