Sixty years ago today, February 26, 1960, Brunson Instrument Company went underground. Literally.
The move to our cave location became necessary when Brunson started adapting surveying equipment for the tight tolerances of the jet age on behalf of what would become one of our biggest customers, the Boeing Airplane Company. The year was 1948, and Brunson’s downtown factory just couldn’t cut it… so founder A. N. Brunson had an idea:
Since the idea of an underground facility gave local banks the jitters, A.N. Brunson had to go it alone. Throughout the 1950s, as Brunson blasted and excavated more than 140,000 tons of limestone, he was mocked by the local business community for envisioning his unique underground factory. He would have the last laugh, however:
The challenges did not end there. On this date in 1960, the vast underground factory was ready, and the move-in began. But disaster would soon strike:
The wi-fi is fast today in the unique Brunson facility, and the cave is an incredibly efficient space. “We were ‘green’ before anyone knew what ‘green’ was,” said third-generation company president Deighton Brunson. The un-treated underground temperature is typically steady at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. “In our cave we have the equivalent floor space of a 10-story office building, but we can heat and cool it with a fraction of the energy used for an above-ground structure.”
And the company is clearly well-positioned for the next 60 years…
For a tour of the cave, watch this recent edition of Quality Digest Live. For more of Brunson’s 90+ years of history, watch here.