Double A Products Co.

By dhowell - Posted on 03 January 2008

Double A Products Co. is a subsidiary of Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Co. The Double A factory is an autonomous unit employing in excess of 450 people. Except for general guidance and direction from the parent company in Rhode Island all management, sales, engineering and manufacturing is located in Manchester.

Hydraulic pumps, valves, and fluidic controls for industrial machinery make up the product line. The factory is primarily a machine shop operation, somewhat on a job lot production basis. Machines are the conventional lathes, milling machines, drill presses, grinding machines, etc. Also, there are valves and pump assembly departments. Approximately two-thirds of the employees are associated with production. The non-supervisory production employees are represented by the International Association of Machinists Union. There are job standards for most of the machining operations and the general productivity of the shop is good. Other than a profit sharing plan, there are no production type incentives used within the company.

The company was incorporated and started in Ann Arbor in 1934 by Herbert H. Upton and Finley Riggs. The original business at that time was the production of inexpensive power tools for five and ten cent stores and later Sears Roebuck and Company. News reached Manchester that Herbert Upton and Finley Riggs were interested in a new location because the building occupied by the company was very old, inefficient, and costly from which to conduct the operations. James C. Hendley, President of Manchester Chamber of Commerce, and Robert C. Merithew, Secretary, went to investigate and found out they were interested in a new location with more adequate facilities. Mr. Upton and Mr. Riggs agreed to meet with the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and outline their needs and plans. It was as a result of this meeting that the Chamber of Commerce sponsored the obtaining land and constructing a building for the company. This was accomplished in 1940 and the move was made about the first of July. Most of the key personnel moved to Manchester with the company. Some of them are still employed by the company. Finley Riggs retired from the company and Herbert Upton became President and General Manager, and it was through his efforts and ambition that the company expanded and grew.

Gun parts were manufactured for the government during World War II. After the war power tool business was resumed with Sears Roebuck as the principal customer and this business flourished in the post war boom. In 1947, Mr. Upton felt the company should diversify. He became interested in the hydraulic field and acquired a small hydraulic valve company in Detroit. This business was moved to Manchester. The company grew and expanded rapidly during the Korean War, and consequently, power tools were replaced as the principal product of the company. The power tool business was finally eliminated and discontinued.

After the company became well-known in the hydraulic field, Mr. Upton felt the need for further expansion. Then in 1957 it became a subsidiary of Brown & Sharpe Manufacturing Co. It is from this time on the company again grew rapidly. In 1958 hydraulic pumps were acquired from a company in Baltimore and the business moved to Manchester. It made it possible to have a product line of complete hydraulic and pump facilities. The company is continuing to grow and is now under the management of Donald A. Roach. Manufacturing and office facilities occupy over 125,000 square feet. The company has a plant operating in England.

The Chamber of Commerce committee responsible for obtaining the relocation of the company in Manchester are shown in the picture.