The roots of LINEMASTER® extend back to the great depression of the 1930’s. With a generous gift of $500.00 from his Aunt, and a business machinery loan from the Reynolds Company in Providence, Rl, Albert Simonds, incorporated the Simonds Machine Company in Southbridge, Massachusetts in 1937. From this modest beginning, he produced the Lensmaster optical machinery line to grind lenses of all sizes. As his business grew, he found a need for a good, reliable foot switch to operate his equipment that required the operator to maintain hands-free capability at all times. Consequently, he invented the foot switch, and LINEMASTER® was born. His first foot switch, the Senior, came to fruition through the sale of Al’s optical machinery to a company called New Era in Chicago. The management of a tool shop in the same building saw it and asked if they could acquire some of those switches. This request was forwarded back to Al at Lensmaster, and the ball began to roll.
The Second World War interrupted the growth of Lensmaster and delayed the development of LINEMASTER®; however, in the early 1940’s, the Junior and Duplex models were added to the Senior family and expanded Al’s offerings. The housings of the switches were made of cast iron manufactured by the Connecticut Foundry and the interior switching mechanisms were designed and developed by Arrow-Hart & Hegeman of Hartford, CT. The Treadlite, Compact and Electro-Lok followed in rapid succession at the close of the war and Mr. Simonds felt that LINEMASTER® was now capable of its own business destiny. Lensmaster was growing quickly and LINEMASTER® needed to move to a quieter, more desirable location. When Al Simonds married Nancy B. Blakely in Woodstock, CT during November 1951, they started to look for a future home for LINEMASTER® in the Woodstock area. Bald Hill Acres was available and on April 11, 1952 was purchased as their home, office and manufacturing facility. On May 1, 1952, Linemaster Switch Corporation was officially established as a privately owned and operated manufacturing facility in the state of Connecticut. Soon the Simonds family needed additional space and added the first of many structures to the small wooden carriage house on the property. The mansion remained Al’s and Nancy’s home and office until 1964.
LINEMASTER® acquired the components for the assembly operation from other small companies in the area. Connecticut manufacturers were favored, however, firms throughout the country aided the growth of LINEMASTER®. During the ’50’s, additional models were added to the foot switch family. Led by the burly Hercules, an onslaught of different designs and application specific switches were introduced to the American public. The Nautilus, Cadet, Clipper, Executive and Deluxe models, to name a few, increased the company’s core product line. To this day, most remain the bread and butter of Linemaster Switch Corporation. Al Simonds’ untimely death in 1966 left the company with a strong legacy that its employees have maintained. His wife, Nancy, who had been very active in the business since 1942 at Simonds Machine, became President and Treasurer and has carried on in the same manner until her retirement in 2002. Their daughter, Nancy Iris, has held many key positions with the company.
Joseph Carlone joined LINEMASTER® as Vice President/General Manager in April 1996, bringing to the company his knowledge and experience in manufacturing. He was named President in 1998, and is responsible for the engineering enhancements and cutting edge technologies that ensure Linemaster’s continued growth and integrity. Mr. Carlone purchased Linemaster Switch Corporation in June 2002 and takes great pride in guiding “America’s Foot Switch Leader” into the new millennium.
The growth of LINEMASTER® and its facilities is the story of a small business success that has repeated itself many times across America. Small business is the backbone of American industry that fires the ingenuity in all of us. Over the decades, LINEMASTER® has continued to grow while remaining faithful to its original small company focus of service, quality and integrity. America’s Foot Switch Leader offers a complete range of electric, air-powered and variable speed foot switches. Today, the manufacturing facility is situated in the heart of the 91 acres that is still referred to as Bald Hill and has expanded to over 50,000 square feet. It produces over 200 standard catalog items featuring heavy, medium and light-duty switches. These switches are found in industrial, medical and commercial based applications of all types worldwide.
LINEMASTER® has become the foot switch of choice to those who require exceptional quality and engineered technologies that are uncommon and not standard. The changing needs of our customers have brought LINEMASTER® to new levels, embracing new technologies such as solid modeling design and stereo lithography. LINEMASTER® is currently able to design and test new foot switches in only a fraction of the time it took LINEMASTER® in the past. New models such as the Air Seal, Atlas and Aquiline are examples of foot controls designed to meet tomorrow’s standards today. LINEMASTER® looks forward with great enthusiasm to the challenges of the new millennium, striving always to provide excellent service and uncompromising quality in its 50 year old tradition.
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