Information about The Triplett Electrical Instrument Company,
and Bluffton, Ohio.
   - Click on the photo's to get a larger one!

last update: 2018-11-28

  Links to my other Triplett pages Links to other Triplett related pages
  Link to HOME - www.vanzwamcs/greenpages/

Look at my Triplett Signal Generator 3433
Look at my Triplett Tube Tester I-177B
Look at my Readrite Tube Tester 432A
Look at my Triplett VAO-Meter 666-H-H
Look at my Triplett VAO-Meter 630
Look at my Triplett VAO-Meter 3C

Well, it seems there's coming more info from Bluffton, so we'll keep this page "under construction" for a while....
Steven Johnson's Triplett & Readrite Collection
Triplett - Jewell website

Schematics & Manuals of some Triplett meters


Anecdotes & Stories
from the Triplett-plant

This is an excerpt of what Darrell E. Groman wrote on 08-29-2007. To fully understand, you will have to read about the retoric question on the Triplett Tube Tester I-177B-page :
  "Our village of Bluffton is inhabited by 3,500 and is a location of Bluffton University with a student body of another 1300 (?) students. Many of the local residents are of Swiss - German Mennonite or German Reformed origin. My family can be traced back to Krankengen, Germany. My ancestor left Krankengen in 1850 to arrive in this community in present-day Bluffton area.

Our town's web site can be found at This shows photos of the tragic flood we had 7 days ago, last Tuesday (08-21-2007). This was the worst flood since 1913. Our home was not damaged as we do not have a basement. My office in Pandora was not harmed, either ( Pandora is village of 1,000. The flooding damaged many homes and businesses in Bluffton and neighboring towns, cities and counties."

To learn more about every-day-life in Blufton, Ohio, a good starting point would be a  visit to:

Next, is an overview of The Triplett Electric Instrument Company's history. This information was taken from and completed with information and photo's from the the Triplett-family archive.




Triplett Corporation was founded in 1904 in Bluffton, Ohio by Ray L. Triplett.

When: What:
Ray L. Triplett (R.L.) worked for a local watch maker while attending High School.





R.L. Triplett. Photo taken around 1950~60.

1903 R.L. went to Jewell Instruments in Chicago after graduating from High School.  After a few months, R.L. was a Production Line Supervisor.
R.L., returning to Bluffton after the death of his mother, felt that he could make a better product than Jewell.  So, at the age of 19, R.L. launched the TRIPLETT METER COMPANY.  The Triplett Meter Company was housed on the 2nd floor of a building on Main Street in Bluffton.  The 1st product that the company developed was the "Hot Wire" meter which was housed in a nickel watch case.  The first meters were marketed under the name POCKET METER COMPANY.

A picture of Triplett's first meter (1904-1905), built into a pocket watch case as a "Pocket Meter". This instrument was used frequently by earlier owners of automobiles to test their electric starter batteries. It's portability allowed it to be easily carried in a pocket or in the tool box.


Triplett developed a new Recording Meter under the name READRITE.


A picture of the Triplett Meter Co. employees in front of their second building (taken in 1907)

1910 Triplett developed a new 8-12 volt READRITE Telephone Tester.  This tester was used by hundreds of "handy-men" to repair rural telephone lines throughout the U.S.
Triplett expanded and merged READRITE Meter Company with Diller Manufacturing.  The company then moved into a manufacturing building on Cherry Street in Bluffton (the building was razed in 1962).

This is a photo of the assembly of the early meters. The key point of interest is, that this was the first of its kind building which used natural daylight for manufacturing. The large wall of windows provided plenty of light for the delicate assembly required for the precision meters. Other manufacturing companies at this time did not have such a large wall of windows. It also gave a very cheering environment for the workers.

1920 Triplett worked out "wire size & winding" procedures which led to the development of the new 50 Volt Meter used for Battery Testing.  Demand was so high that Triplett produced 1,200 of these Battery Testers per day.  Triplett also introduced the use of hair springs to provide the necessary torque for meters.
1925 Triplett introduced the READRITE Model 201 Tube Tester.  Most of Bluffton's production of the Tube Tester went to the Montgomery Ward mail order house since it was featured in their catalog.  During this time, Triplett introduced the first "dual" meter (amperes and volts) and developed the Model 9 & 11 which housed 9 meters and 11 meters in one case for use by radio repairmen.
The company name was changed to:  TRIPLETT ELECTRICAL INSTRUMENT COMPANY.  Various products continued to be marketed under the name READRITE until 1945 when the line was sold to JBT Instruments (the T stood for Triplett).
Triplett introduced the 1200 series Radio Tuning Tester, producing 2,000 units per day.  A new modern brick building was erected on Harmon Road in Bluffton (currently corporate headquarters and the main production facility on Triplett Drive (27,000 sq. ft.).
1940 Triplett & Readrite employed approximately 300 full time employees.
Pearl Harbor was attacked, deeply involving the U.S. in WW II.  Because very few 1st line meter manufacturers existed at this time, Triplett was chosen to supply the needs of the U.S. Signal Corps.  The demands were so great that Triplett trained GRUEN Watch Company to make meters.  In return, BULOVA Watch Company trained Triplett employees to set and polish jewel bearings and pivots, hence the Pivot & Jewel movement.  Due to the demand, Triplett built a new two story building (currently the 'Engineering Building') for its Laboratory and also constructed a one story building termed 'the Magnet Shop'.  The labor force reached 700 as the plant operated around the clock for the war effort.  Wooden boxes were loaded with metal-cased meters and shipped in box car quantities.  Both sons of R.L. (Morris & Ropp) served in the U.S. Signal Corps.

Add in "Radio" - november 1942

Adds in "Radio"- march & april 1943
Morris and Ropp were sent to Europe to train army personnel and construct communication systems.





Add in "Radio" - may 1945

1946 A new 2 story building was built on the Triplett complex (currently the Machine Shop).  Morris returned to Triplett and became Vice President of Engineering.  Ropp returned to Triplett and became Vice President & Assistant General Manager.
1949 With the introduction of the Television, Triplett developed the Model 630.  The Model 630 became the "2nd" all time seller.  It had the exclusive "bar ring" shielded Movement.  It was developed with "one" switch so that the operator had one hand "free".
1951 Triplett built an assembly plant 8 miles from San Juan, Puerto Rico, which became TRIPLETT ELECTRIC COMPANY OF PUERTO RICO.  This facility closed in 1963 due to changing economic and political conditions.





Add from November 1951 for Model 630.

1952 Ropp Triplett was named Vice President and General Manager of Triplett.
1955 Fifty-one years after founding Triplett, R.L. relinquished management of Triplett;  Ropp was named President.  The "all time" best seller was introduced, the Model 310.  This unit used the 1st circuit board and completely dominated its field.  It became an industry standard and continues to do so today.  The trades stated " with all of its capabilities, the Model 310 was virtually a portable instrument laboratory".
1956 Triplett built a new building in Oceanside, California (just north of San Diego) and was named:
TRIPLETT ELECTRICAL INSTRUMENT CORP. of CALIFORNIAThis facility was later closed in 1985.
1958 Triplett expanded again by purchasing two properties on the corner of Poplar Street and Harmon Road in Bluffton.  Later sold in 1985.
1960 The main plant on Harmon Road (now Triplett Drive) expanded to double its size.
1965 Triplett opened another assembly plant in Holgate, OH (40 miles north of Bluffton).  This facility was later closed.
1966 Triplett purchased the Paige Dairy complex across the street on Harmon Road.  The majority of this facility was lost to fire in 1976.
Morris was named Chairman of the Board.


1972 Triplett opened another assembly plant in Tijuana, Mexico: TRIPLETT DE MEXICO.  This facility was closed in 1993 after a labor insurrection.
1975 Triplett opened an assembly facility in Weston, Ohio.  This facility was later closed.  The Model 60 was introduced and became the principal measuring instrument for industrial plants, trade schools, and technical colleges.  In 1975 a Model 60 was dropped from a 265 foot Electrical Tower and continued to work
1983 The Triplett brothers decided to retire.  Thus began a search to sell the Company.  In October, Penril Corporation purchased Triplett, thus ending its 79 year history as a family owned private company.  The sons continued to manage Triplett until a new president could be found.
1984 80 years of family management ended when Warren J. Hess was named President.
1987 Penril, experiencing severe cash problems, placed all 8 companies that it held on the market.  Then, in September, the management team of TRIPLETT purchased the Company from Penril: Warren J. Hess was elected President, CEO and Chairman Daniel J. DeLong was elected Executive Vice President, CFO and Treasurer.  Once again Triplett was a Private Company and Locally Owned.  The company name was changed from Triplett Electrical Instrument Company to: TRIPLETT CORPORATIONThe new management began developing test equipment for the cellular industry resulting in the Model 5000 Analog Cellular Test Set & the Isolation Box.  Due to the development of the new cellular test sets, the R&D department budget swelled to approximately $900,000 in 1988.
1989 Triplett entered into a subcontract agreement with Westinghouse/Sundstrand Aerospace.  Triplett produced capacitors for the on-board electrical system in various aircraft.  This agreement expired in early 1996.
1991 Triplett developed a line of Testers for the Railroad Industry (2000 Series).
1992 Triplett developed a new line of LAN Testers.
1993 The line of Railroad Testers were re-designed and re-introduced as the 2000 Series.
1995 Warren Hess, the Triplett President, decided to retire and placed Triplett on the "block".  In November, Harris Corporation acquired the Cellular, LAN and Telco product lines.  Triplett became a member of the information highway with the introduction of its new website [].
1996 In February, Daniel J. DeLong formed a group of investors, including various current managers, and acquired Triplett via an LBO, at which time he was elected the 4th President & CEO of Triplett in its 92 year history.  Triplett re-acquired the Telecommunication Tester line from Harris Corporation.
Triplett acquired LFE/api Instruments and relocated the company to Bluffton, Ohio.  Triplett introduced the revolutionary digital "heads-up" display VOM, the VisualEYEzer . Triplett introduced a new line of Analog Indicators.
1998 Triplett introduced a new line of Analog Instruments, including the "Big Look", to become the only instrument supplier in the world to offer the complete "spectrum" of Analog Instrumentation.  Triplett introduced a new line of Digital Multimeters, the 9000 Professional Series.  Triplett re-acquired the LAN Tester line and Mitigator line from Harris Corporation.  By the end of the 1st quarter, Triplett's employment has increased by 60% since December, 1997.  Triplett re-designed the VisualEYEzer to expand its range to 600 Volts DC/AC as well as redesigning the test probes to include a "high energy" 1A/600V fuse in each.  We believe that this unit is not only "revolutionary", by its design, it is the "safest" VOM on the market today.
2007 Jewell Instruments LLC of New Hampshire purchases the Triplett product lines. LFE/api Instruments continues in Bluffton, Ohio under their own brand name.
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