Young Carl Wilhiem Dieckmann came to the U.S.A. from Ploen, Germany. He was trained as a butcher and sausage maker (wurst macher). In the early 1920's, the shaving industry was evolving from the old straight edge razor to the new disposable safety razor blade. This gave Mr. Dieckmann the idea for a removable blade (insert) in a meat grinder knife. The design proved so superior to the old solid knife designs that he received a patent in 1924. This was truly the start of the Specialty Manufacturers Sales Company.
It was also the start of many innovative cutting tool designs used in the food industry.
It wasn't too long before he came up with the first reversible meat grinder plate with a locking bushing. This allowed the customer twice the life before the plate needed sharpening. The combination of reversible plates and disposable inserts were a big success in the industry. During the early days Speco did not manufacture the product, they just stocked inventory and sold it to customers. The company was all operating out of a private home in Chicago.
In the early 1930's, Mr. Dieckmann's grandson, Charles William Hess, started helping out in the business. The two worked well together and as time evolved Charles took over. Charles was a very mechanically minded person and started focusing on manufacturing the product. Soon he acquired a lathe and drill press, and set them up in the garage. Things were going so great that in 1942, Charles had to hire a secretary and bookkeeper.
In 1946, the Specialty Manufacturers Sales Company was incorporated and shortened to Speco. Running a manufacturing business out of a residential home in the city just was not going to last, and around 1950 the city and neighbors told Charles he must move! He purchased a 3,000 square foot building in Schiller Park, west of Chicago, an area where there were only tomato farms and dirt roads.
Speco was the first manufacturer in the United States to use an alloy steel high in chromium and carbon, that would be far superior to anything on the market (Triumph).
In 1957, Speco set another industry precedent by designing and building the first automated four spindle drill press. It was such a new design it consisted of a metal template with low voltage contacts, it also was patented. With this higher production it brought costs down and quality up.
By rendering plates with precisely drilled holes, fewer broken drills, equally and accurately spaced holes, the greater the overall strength of the products made by Speco.
In 1962, Speco was the first to incorporate Numerical Control punched tape six spindle drill presses. These machines were more precise and had higher productivity then had previously been available.
In the mid 1960's, Speco was the first to introduce the retainer bearing, eliminating much wear on center studs and plates, improving the cut, and reducing temperature rise. Of course through all of this, the existing building was expanded to meet capacities. In 1972, the next generation Craig W. Hess was employed and started working full time. In 1973, Speco was the first to introduce a European style double cutter that could be adapted to all American style meat grinders.
Around 1976, Speco introduced the free-floating emulsifier blade, which required no pre-leveling or pre-grinding. The blade literally floated to a cutting position. Speco also received a patent on this design.
In 1977, Speco introduced Dura Plates for the first time. It had a titanium carbide coating for extended edge life.
In 1978, Speco introduced the bone collector system to the market and it was patented. To this day Speco's bone collector system is the most widely used bone collector in the world! Why? It has been proven to be the most effective, the simplest, and most efficient system on the market.
In the early 1980's, Speco acquired the building just north of it, almost doubling the manufacturing size. Over the past 20 years, Speco has worked on a local full service distributor network. These highly trained distributors are great for quick response, local sharpening, and keeping the customers inventory levels low. Also in the last 20 years Speco has worked to build its export markets. We export to over 40 countries, carrying our quality, value and name around the world. Speco's fully intergrated use of computer aided design and manufacturing is what makes us a world class manufacturing company. Speco acquired two more buildings in 1997 and 2005 helping to increase production.
Speco has the largest finish inventory of anyone in our field. We are located within minutes of the world's largest airport for the quickest response to deliveries to anywhere in the U.S.A. or worldwide.
We will keep on striving to provide you, our customer, the highest quality, best value, and most responsive service available.
It took over 80 years of hard work, problem solving, and creative thinking, to make Speco the premier manufacturer of size reduction tooling in the world.
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