You Got a Meter? . . . We Got You Covered!

“GOOD OLD AMERICAN INGENUITY”  -  The Founding of M-R-S, Inc.

In 1963, Jack Moran was employed in Oklahoma City, traveling and selling electrical supplies.  One day Jack was calling on the Rural Electric Cooperative in Lindsay, Oklahoma when he noticed several electric meters on the workbench in the meter shop. 

They were being repaired because the glass covers had been shot, apparently with a B.B. gun.  The glass had chipped off inside the meters; these fragments stopped the meters from registering.  This vandalism also left a small hole in the glass exposing the meter workings to the elements.  Jack briefly discussed remedies with the technician but could not come up with a solution. 

For some reason, Jack couldn’t get this problem off of his mind.  Finally he arrived at the idea to make a cover from some sort of transparent material that would not break or shatter from the impact of a B.B., a rock from a slingshot or any other similar calamity.  Namely, plastic!   

Traveling to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Jack visited with several of the scientists at the Phillips Oil Companies’ plastics research lab.  The scientists informed him that at that time they knew of no plastic material that would do the job.  Jack also visited a plant in Shawnee, Oklahoma where he got the same story. 

A short time later, Jack contacted a company in Oklahoma City that did injection molding, a process of forming plastic, which Phillips Oil said he would have to use to make this work. At that time, there wasn’t a material on the market that could be used to fit the product.  However, some time later, Jack received a call to come back to Oklahoma City to see a new product that had just been introduced. 

It was a “saucer shaped” piece of transparent plastic, about an eighth of an inch thick.  Jack placed it on a workbench, hit it with a hammer, and to his surprise, it did not break! The General Electric Co. had perfected a new material, Lexan®, a polycarbonate resin that was “tough as nails”!

Jack’s first idea was to make plastic meter covers instead of glass, but was soon discouraged by “seasoned” meter men relating their stories of people who drilled minute holes in the glass with a “jewelers drill”, and then by inserting a small wire stopped the meter from registering. 

After much thought, he decided on a cover to enclose and protect the entire glass of a meter.  This new Cover would seal under the same ring as the glass cover on the meter base.  Thus, the idea for the Meter Mate was born! 

A local attorney had a draftsman draw prints of Jack’s cover, and submitted them to the D.C. patent firm for application.  The resulting patent search by the D.C. attorneys ended with favorable results!

By this time Jack was spending considerable effort on research, and working hard at getting everything ready to start. He painstakingly researched the entire process nailing down every detail, from the price of the mold, to manufacturing costs, down to the cost of shipping.

M-R-S Inc. borrowed $18,000 from a bank in Oklahoma City, instructed the patent attorney to proceed with the new patent application, had a mold made, and ordered 10,000 Meter Mates. 

When the Meter Mates were ready for marketing, Jack came to Oklahoma City with one of his partners, calling on mostly municipalities.  At the outset they made sixteen Sales Calls and received fourteen purchase orders.    Judging by this initial reception, the partners knew they’d launched a winner!  

In 2002, M-R-S, inc., moved to its current location in Oklahoma City.  We now manufacture 127 products and have many of the same customers we’ve had since the company was formed.

Views from the Past

 

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