Within the dense manufacturing area of Chicago, a Swiss immigrant, Adolph I. Buehler was selling a line of microscopy equipment and realized the customers' need for metallographic sample preparation products. Mr. Buehler, had observed how time consuming the current metallurgy methods were. In his travels he saw how primitive the equipment was and realized there had to be a better way.
He was acquainted with two professors that had developed a mounting press and specimen polisher and with those started the idea of creating a business. After reaching agreements with the professors, he began to refine and commercially develop the two machines. In 1936 he launched Adolph I. Buehler, Inc. and by 1939 business had grown and the company produced its first catalog. The first facility was located in Chicago and in 1953 moved to Evanston and in 1981 to the current location of Lake Bluff. The company was involved in exporting equipment since the late 1940s. In the early 60s, there was enough demand outside of the United States to open an office in Basel, Switzerland shortly followed by offices in the Middle East, Latin America, Canada, Australia and several European countries.
The Buehler company legacy comprises of entrepreneurial individuals, innovative designs and valuable brands spanning for more than 100 years. Beginning in 1899, the hardness tester product was pioneered by Mr. Reicherter, Wilson, Rockwell and Wolpert. Over the span of nearly 30 years, these innovators established the groundwork for the hardness testing solutions currently used in industry. Buehler continues to foster the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation to forge a path as a leader in hardness testers under the product brand name of Wilson.
Buehler Leading the Way In Metallography Awards
Since 1946 Buehler has been at the forefront of the industry by recognizing excellence in Metallography and Materials Science achievements.
The ASM Metallographic Award
was established in 1946 for the best entry in the annual ASM metallographic competition. In 1958 it became known as Francis F. Lucas Metallographic Award and has been endowed since that date by Adolph I. Buehler. In 1972, ASM joined with the International Metallographic Society in sponsoring the Pierre Jacquet Gold Medal and the Francis F. Lucas Award for Excellence in Metallography. Beginning in 1976, this award has been endowed by Buehler. The Jacquet Lucas Award
as it is known today continues to be sponsored by Buehler, An ITW Company.
Illinois Tool Works
Buehler was acquired in 2006 by Illinois Tool Works (ITW) and became a part of ITW’s Test & Measurement division. ITW’s Test & Measurement business provides specialized test and measurement solutions with leading technology to a diverse set of customers operating in highly regulated, demanding environments. Strong brand positions, technological expertise, and market knowledge enable ITW to provide value-added testing and measuring equipment with service and aftermarket capabilities that customers value.
In 1912, Chicago financier Byron Smith placed an advertisement in the Economist looking to provide capital to a "high class business (manufacturing preferred) in or near Chicago." He turned down several initial offers, waiting for the right proposal. When a group of inventors with an idea to improve gear grinding came along, Illinois Tool Works was born. From these humble beginnings, the company endured the uncertainties of war and recessions, expanded into businesses across the globe, and transformed entire industries through simple yet ingenious solutions. Today, ITW is one of the world's leading diversified manufacturers of specialized industrial equipment, consumables, and related service businesses.