By 1947, the Hastings Instrument Company could count many successful projects. Their list of products included the following:
- Raydist Navigation System
- Magnetic Switch and Coil
- Maximum Recording Accelerometer
- Visibility Meter
While the list of projects was impressive, the company wanted to grow their profits further. Charles Hastings decided to look at his business model and make some changes. The company needed to raise capital for further development in order to become a sizeable company. Growth would give the company the ability to attract and close larger contracts. To do this, Hastings decided to incorporate the business and offer 3500 shares of stock. The company charter was received from the Commonwealth of Virginia on Valentine’s Day 1947.
After several sales pitches and demonstrations, Hastings received two large contracts for Raydist. Along with these two contracts, the company was busy building Air-Meters for commercial sales. Before selling the Air-Meters, the instruments needed to be calibrated. In those early days, calibration was done by driving down the road holding a probe out the window while someone in the passenger seat held the Air-Meter. When the car reached 5, 10, 15 etc… mph the passenger would make a note on the blank dial face and then return to the house where they would neatly letter the dial face.
During this period of growth, Hastings realized that it was time to find a new location for the business. By now, there were 17 people working elbow-to-elbow at the Hastings’ home and that could not continue. The company settled on temporary location in an old brick distributorship building that had a leaky roof and flooded at spring tides, but it was at the price they could afford.
By the spring of 1948, several Raydist contracts were in the works. Air-Meters continued to sell very well, and several instruments were about to be introduced. That same year, the Hastings Company also moved into a more permanent building for its now 75 employees, which would grow to 118 by 1950. To secure the company and continue to make profits, Hastings realized he needed to produce a Raydist for commercial use. The company achieved this goal in 1950 with a sale to the Norfolk Corps of Engineers for hydrographic surveys and channel dredging.
By 1950, the line of Hastings Instruments increased to the following:
- Precision Air-Meter (for higher ranges and more accurate readings)
- Maximum Indicating Accelerometer
- Voltage-regulated Power Supply
- Electronic Standard Cell
- Vacuum Gauge
In addition to the list of commercial instruments above, Hastings developed specialized instruments for specific customers. For example: the “Ventimeter” was used by the army to measure ventilation in clothing to keep wearers comfortable under extreme weather conditions. The Hastings Company was now growing fast and generating handsome profits for its stakeholders.
For more information on Teledyne Hastings be sure to visit our website www.teledyne-hi.com or contact us
Information for this blog was derived from “The Story of Hastings-Raydist” book by Carol Hastings Sanders 1979