Supreme Instruments Corp. History
|Supreme Instruments was formed in 1926 in Greenwood Mississippi.
Supreme designed and produced many of the radio analyzers, multimeters, and tube testers used by radio repair shops and radio service
men from the 1920s into the 1950s.
Jewell R. Williams, owned the company until 1930.
When Williams left Supreme Instruments, he moved to Little Rock Arkansas and started the
Apparatus Design Company
which manufactured Confidence Tube Testers.
You can read more about
Jewell R. Williams here.
B.F. Dulweber took over Supreme Instruments around 1930. Dulweber was previously the owner of the Kratzer Cured Lumber Company from 1925 to 1929 in Dulweber MS.
He was assisted at Supreme Instruments by his son D.N. Dulweber.
Supreme's executives felt that with the tremendous volume of radio distribution at that time and its probable continued expansion, there was not only room for an
organization dealing exclusively with radio servicing, but an organization for this purpose was absolutely
essential to the maximum development of radio potentialities.
Read about the Supreme Philosophy here.
This advertisement appeared in the October 1930 issue of Radio Magazine.
It contains portraits of Supreme Instruments new President B. F. Dulweber and the Executive, Engineering,
and Sales Staff of 1930.
Also pictured is the Supreme 400B Radio Diagnometer and the Model 90 Set Analyzer.
Read a original 1932 Letter to RCA signed by D.N. Dulweber providing the cost of a Supreme AAA-1 Diagnometer.
The engineering staff at Supreme in the early 1930's were Vivion A. Johnson and Floyd Fausett. They each applied for and held several patents.
In 1938 E. G. ("Grady" - Earl Grady Perkins) took over the engineering staff. In 1947 Grady purchased Supreme Instruments.
Supreme did not use production line methods to manufacture equipment until World War II. Each unit was assembled from start to finish by one worker.
A signature of the Supreme employee that assembled the tester can often be found inside the case. Assembly line techniques were
implemented at Supreme during the 1940s when war needs dictated a higher production rate.
During the war Supreme stepped up production and was able to produce over 1500 panel meters a day.
At one point over 200 units per day of the model 542 volt-ohm meter were manufactured for the war effort.
Pictured at right are a WWII era model pocket volt-ohmmeter and some Supreme panel meters from my collection that were produced for the war effort.
Supreme also produced "I" series tube testers and Volt-Ohm-Meters for the U.S. military during the war.
After World War II Supreme continued it's production of radio test equipment and also began designing and manufacturing equipment for servicing televisions.
In the 1950s Supreme produced a full line of TV and radio servicing equipment.
At the left is a photo of one of Supreme's two manufacturing facilities in Greenwood Mississippi as it appeared
1946 Supreme Instruments catalog.
Plant #2 building today on the 400 Block of Howard Street.
Above is a photo of the Supreme Instruments employees at the Carrollton Ave. office and factory in 1948. Photo was supplied by John Willcoxon who is the son of Elmer H. Willcoxon who worked for Supreme from 1946 to around 1958.
Elmer is the tall one in front of the door. Larger Photo
Carrollton Ave. facility today - Original building on right with Hickok expansion on left.
Read a brief history of Supreme models in this article appearing in a 1947 Supreme "Perk-Ups" service bulletin.
The Evolution of Radio Testing Equipment
Supreme and the movies:
|Here's a piece of Supreme trivia for you Sci-Fi movie buffs out there.
In the 1955 Sci-Fi classic "This Island Earth" several references are made about Supreme.
The scientists use Supreme as their parts supplier, but the aliens keep intercepting the telexes they send to Supreme and substitute
alien equipment and parts to build an interocitor.
The scientists even make a call to Supreme to confirm an order, which someone at Supreme tells them they never received.
The Hickok Inc-Supreme Electronics Division
In 1956 Hickok Electrical Instruments purchased Supreme Instruments Corp. and became the Hickok Inc-Supreme Electronics Div.. The Greenwood Mississippi facility
continued to build Hickok tube testers and test equipment through most of the 1960s. In later years they used the facility to build test equipment for the automobile industry.
|The end of Supreme Instruments
Here's a 1958 letter from "Supreme Incorporated" to a customer looking for information on his Model 504-A tube tester.
The "Supreme Instruments" name was dropped after purchase by Hickok in 1956. The letter states that Supreme
Instruments had been sold and the new company Supreme Incorporated, was no longer servicing or supplying parts for Supreme Instruments equipment.
More on Supreme's Founder Jewell Robert Williams