In 1927, my grandfather, A. N. Brunson, was 22 years old. That was the year he established Brunson Instrument Company in the back room of a map business in downtown Kansas City, repairing surveying instruments. When the Great Depression came along, he was fortunate to keep very busy because no one could afford new instruments – so they came to him to repair their old ones.
My grandfather was a very persistent thinker and inventor. He saw the instruments that came across his workbench, and analyzed what went wrong with them. He was always thinking of ways to improve their design. During the dustbowl of the 1930s, he saw how dust destroyed the main bearing systems of those transits and levels. He knew there had to be a better way. This led him to his very first patent – the “Brunson dustproof ball bearing spindle”. It became a hit and he started retrofitting this base on a lot of other manufacturers’ instruments.