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This article is intended to give a brief history of Morehouse Instrument Company and Information about what Morehouse is beyond force and torque measurement.

Harry Zumbrun and William S Morehouse

Morehouse has been in business since March 15, 1920. The company started as a local machine shop. Mr. Morehouse owned the company, and Harry E Zumbrun worked with him. When Mr. Morehouse passed away, Harry E Zumbrun acquired the business. Since Harry E Zumbrun had acquired Morehouse, five generations have worked or continue to work for the company, four have been president. Harry E. Zumbrun 1930's- 1940's, Henry A Zumbrun 1950's - 1980's, Harry E Zumbrun 1990's - 2000's, Henry A Zumbrun 2015 - Current.

Henry Zumbrun

Henry A Zumbrun is a fourth-generation leader and current president of Morehouse Instrument Company. He credits the success of the company to the employees of Morehouse, the Customers of Morehouse and to offering products with the lowest measurement uncertainties available. Ultimately, this helps the Morehouse customer base make more accurate measurements, which saves on cost, reduces risk, and increases quality.

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Henry's passion is to help any lab make better force measurements. He wants to explain error sources and how to use this knowledge so that you can make better measurements. He has taught classes for the past decade and has had the privilege to speak and present at several events. There are so many labs out there who take short cuts or do not follow the proper guidelines and they may be calibrating your equipment. This equipment may then be responsible for bridges collapsing, product failures, or satellites exploding. These measurements are serious and we welcome anyone wanting to make better measurements to contact us and have meaningful discussions on how we together, can make the world a safer place.

Why does Morehouse exist?

Boiler Explosion

In the late 19th and early 20th century, boilers and steam engines were exploding, and by the 1920s the problem was getting worse as the demand for these products was increasing.  When a boiler blew up, the material was thrown all over like a huge bomb, and it often resulted in mass casualties. Ship plates were also a major concern. The plates were riveted together, and different materials could expand and contract at different rates, which would pop the rivets. It is speculated that a fire on board the Titanic five days before the Iceberg was hit contributed to weakening the ship and its eventual sinking. The reason all these things were happening is the material was not controlled, and the testing methods were not good enough. 

It is the hardness of the material that drives everything that is built. In order to determine the strength of the material, they needed to develop a test protocol to prove the material was strong enough to withstand the forces exerted upon it. They used what was called a Brinell tester. The Brinell tester used a 10 mm ball and a hydraulic cylinder to push that ball against the material. The indentation of the 10 mm ball was measured to determine the hardness. The main problem was the hydraulic cylinder used to generate the forces was “inaccurate at best”. 

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This drove Morehouse to work with the National Bureau of Standards and create the greatest force-measuring instrument devised by humans in 1925. Harry E Zumbrun was instrumental in creating the Morehouse Proving Ring. The Morehouse Proving Ring would allow much more accurate calibration of the Brinell hardness testers, which would help standardize the applied force and provide a method to more accurately measure the strength of the material. 

The Morehouse Culture

Culture is something that is always improving. Morehouse employees have a strong work ethic and are accountable for their actions. There is a general desire to work smarter and not harder. There is also a bit of humor in we have an eclectic group of people. We have a Vice President who holds a Ph.D. in Engineering and he likes to use cartoons to describe things and people’s behaviors.  He often talks about a cartoon called Jimbo and the Jet-Set.  The premise is that Jimbo was intended to be a jumbo jet, but his designer could not tell the difference between inches and centimeters, resulting in his tiny size.  That resonates not only with us but with industry as well. NASA lost a $125 million Mars orbiter because one team used English units of measure, and another used the metric system. The moral is to focus on what is important, and that is the details in the force and torque measurements and products we make as a team.

Morehouse Proving Ring on the ISS

We take great pride in what we do and whom we work with. Our customers are our #1 priority. Everyone strives to put the customer first and create a positive experience. In the area of customer satisfaction, we are always striving for improvement. The people employed by Morehouse are the ones who contribute greatly to our overall success. Having a great group of people who are willing to grow and learn is the foundational piece to Morehouse thriving beyond these 99 years. Having great customers makes coming to work every day rewarding.

Morehouse Deadweight force machine accurate to 0.0016 % of applied force

What sets Morehouse apart from other force and torque laboratories?

Everyone at Morehouse cares about the measurements we make and the products we produce. We strive to help our customers be better and make better measurements. We use the most accurate force and torque standards that gives our customers the ability to make more accurate measurements. When they make better measurements, they have less risk, which means the chances of bad things happening is less. This goes back to the engineers who design products and the technicians who do the testing on the equipment to make sure the cars we drive, the bridges we drive on, and the buildings we live in do not fail under certain conditions. 

We manufacture force and torque products as well as provide calibration to various organizations, including government labs, and commercial labs.  These are the organizations that support industry, the people who are testing the strength of something or conducting tests that require accurate measurements. They may be weighing a truck or aircraft, balancing a hydro turbine, measuring rocket thrust, crushing concrete, testing asphalt, rebar, or various materials from the simplest soils to the most advanced superalloys.  We support the industry by having the standards with low uncertainties, or that are more accurate than other labs (usually accurate to better than 0.002 % of applied). 

Measurement Traeability Pyramid

It’s like a pyramid, and we are near the top and every measurement or the product we make, finds itself supporting the industry by proving a highly accurate, high level of measurement and service with very little measurement uncertainty or “doubt”, we not only help improve their measurements, but we help them improve quality and make the world a safer place.     

Our business is calibration and calibration products, it is not glamorous, but it matters. We educate our customers on what matters beyond our calibration, which is having the right setups and using the right equipment. We create a safer world by helping our customers make better force and torque measurements. Speaking about the right setups and adapters, we have a paper on proper force adapters that everyone should read. That paper can be found @

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Everything we do, we believe in changing how people think about force and torque calibration. Morehouse believes in thinking differently about force and torque calibration and equipment. We challenge the "just calibrate it" mentality by educating our customers on what matters, what causes significant errors, and focus on reducing them. Morehouse makes our products simple to use and user-friendly. And we happen to make great force equipment and provide unparalleled calibration services. 

written by Henry Zumbrun

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Posted at, January 02, 2020 12:00:00