Maplewood History: Made in Maplewood – The KECO TESTIT

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An illustration from the patent papers.

KECO being, of course if you’ve been following this space, short for Kalb Electric and Manufacturing Company of Maplewood, Missouri, created by and once under the apparently very capable direction of Mr. R.T.Kalb. In addition to being a prominent local electragist and manufacturer of items of electragy, Mr. Kalb was an inventor as well.

As the following photographs will confirm his KECO TESTIT was or is I should say as I’m told examples survive (we need one for our library’s collection), an intriguing little electragical device.

We are again indebted to Mr. Martin Fischer for allowing me to photograph these items from his personal collection.

Courtesy of Martin Fischer
Courtesy of Martin Fischer
Mr. Kalb's patent papers.
Mr. Kalb’s patent papers.
An illustration from the patent papers.
An illustration from the patent papers.
Side one of the KECO Testit brochure unfolded.
Side one of the KECO TESTIT brochure unfolded.
Side 2 of the same brochure.
Side 2 of the same brochure.
A promotional card with the new price of $2.00 printed over the old of $1.50. Business must have been good.
A promotional card with the new price of $2.00 printed over the old of $1.50. Business must have been good.
The printing block used to print the prior card. Incredible. Good job, Marty.
The printing block used to print the prior card. Incredible. Good job, Marty.
Bonus: an earlier brochure when the price was still a buck-and-a-half.
Bonus: an earlier brochure when the price was still a buck-and-a-half.
I'll finish with this enlargement from the last brochure. It's an exceptionally fine drawing of this quirky little device. Wish we had one.
I’ll finish with this enlargement from the last brochure. It’s an exceptionally fine drawing of this quirky little device. Wish we had one.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Based on the patent date, March 1935, this would have been marketed during the Great Depression. $2.00 was a lot of money back then.
    Thanks for this fascinating post Doug.

    • I’ve no doubt that you are correct, Tom. I googled the figures and found this. “$1 worth of 1935 dollars is now worth $17.54”. That would make the value of the TESTIT in todays money about $35. Sounds about right doesn’t it? You are welcome. I always appreciate your comments.

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