July 6, 2020 by Jonathan Lance

Fredericks Company Celebrates 85-Years

For more than 85 years, Fredericks has specialized exclusively in tilt and vacuum measurement products. Today, our precise manufacturing processes produce the most accurate and advanced products on the market, ensuring perfection every time. A true specialty service provider, we are willing and eager to put our experience and capabilities to good use, helping OEMs achieve even the most complex designs.

This year, The Fredericks Company is proud to celebrate our 85th anniversary. Much has changed since George E. Fredericks worked as an engineer for Leeds and Northrup Company, and was encouraged to start a scientific glassware company to meet the growing needs of his employer. In 1935, Mr. Fredericks founded The Fredericks Company in suburban Philadelphia to produce glass conductivity cells, pH, and reference electrodes.

From 1935 to 1940, The Fredericks Company perfected the manufacturing of fine tungsten filaments for optical pyrometer bulbs while also developing a thermocouple vacuum gauge. At the time, there were no vacuum gauges on the market that could reliably measure vacuum below 1 mm of mercury, where a thermocouple vacuum gauge was able to read down to 0.001 mm of mercury (1 mTorr).

In 1941, The Fredericks Company achieved a breakthrough in thermocouple vacuum gauge technology, and began manufacturing the gauges. This was the beginning of the 2A series of thermocouple vacuum gauges, which we still manufacture today. In 1942, a hot filament ionization vacuum gauge similar to the optical pyrometer bulb was developed with a unique feature to automatically shut off the filament when the system was subjected to bursts of air. At the same time, the first chassis-mounted vacuum gauges of this type were sold and became the basis for expanding the Televac® brand.

The company experienced continued growth throughout the years, and we expanded our product line to capitalize on our glass skills. Products were developed and produced for critical military applications such as infrared dewars used in heat-seeking missiles, gravity reference sensors used in aircraft orientation instruments, ship, and submarine guidance, and tilt sensor/inclinometer systems.

In the 1950s, The Fredericks Company’s Televac® brand became NASA’s vendor of choice for vacuum measurement for their space shuttle programs by developing the 2A NASA Mini thermocouple vacuum gauge. Its ability to withstand severe shock, vibration, and temperature fluctuations made it uniquely suited for NASA’s unique applications.

In the 1960s and 1970s, we introduced our Levels Division, which allowed us to enter the commercial market for surveying instruments, automotive wheel aligning, and wheel balancing equipment. Today, The Fredericks Company continues to produce electrolytic tilt sensors, inclinometers, tilt switches, and MEMS technology for these and many other markets and industries.

In 1992 The Fredericks Company purchased Electron Technology Inc., also known as ETI®, to expand our technology base. With the Televac® and ETI® brands, The Fredericks Company was able to produce a full range of thermocouple, convection, diaphragm, cold cathode, and Bayard Alpert vacuum measurement solutions. Over the years, the Televac® brand became particularly well known in the vacuum furnace/heat treat industry for our robust cold cathode vacuum gauges, which are highly contamination resistant in dirty vacuum environments.

Today, The Fredericks Company remains a global industry leader in tilt and vacuum measurement products. We work directly with OEMs to produce highly accurate, repeatable, and robust solutions for a variety of markets and industries. These include RV leveling, laser leveling, agricultural and construction vehicles, vacuum furnaces and heat treating, research and development, and e-beam welding, among many others.

We pride ourselves on guaranteeing customer satisfaction, and our ‘not too big, not too small’ operation is what enables us to offer a true partnership experience. Our dedicated representatives and engineers offer exceptionally responsive service and some of the fastest lead times in the industry, knowing that uptime is the key to your success. With anytime-access to our leadership team and solutions that enhance your products, you will feel the Fredericks difference.

We are proud of our history and look forward to the continued success of our tilt measurement and vacuum measurement solutions!

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