A.J. Tuck Company Legacy

 

Alvin Tuck Sr. worked for Tiffany Studios in New York designing Tiffany Lamps with the beautiful colored glass shades. If you go to the Tiffany Museum in Winter Park Florida (part of Orlando) you will see a lamp that states “designed by Alvin Tuck”. That is not a really pretty lamp, but he did a lot of very nice ones including some of those great dragon fly shades.  We have a portfolio of all his designs.  Tiffany used mostly cast bronze for the lamp bases, but sometimes they would use an electroformed base, which could give much more crisp details.  Alvin Tuck Sr. saw that and realized he could get into his own lamp business. In 1914, he hired a German who knew how to electroform and set him up with some copper electroforming tanks in his basement in Flushing Queens.

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In 1917, Alvin Tuck Sr. left Tiffany’s and opened the A.J. Tuck Company on 346 East 32nd Street in Manhattan, selling his own lamps, and had an electroforming shop in a loft at 329 East 26th Street where he made them.  His lamps had just cloth shades, but the lamp bases had detailed, beautiful designs, only producible by electroforming.

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In the mid 1920’s he moved out into the country, to Brookfield, CT. He had searched around looking for a good place for his shop, and purchased the Lennox Shear Factory on the Still River in Brookfield, which had gone out of business. At the time, the factory was 170 years old and previous businesses it housed included several wood mills and a hat factory which operated in 1865 during the Civil War.  There was a dam and a water wheel, which is what he was looking for. He installed a horizontal turbine and converted the water power into a hydroelectric facility himself, to generate DC power to run his electroforming tanks. The old dam was replaced with a new concrete dam in 1936 and still stands today.

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Alvin Tuck Sr. continued making his own lamps, until the depression put an end to those sales. He went into making electroformed jewelry and elctroformed copper caskets with decorative images on the outsides.  The mandrels for the caskets were also used as the plating tanks.

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In the 1940’s, his son, Alvin Tuck Jr., began working on other options for electroforming.  Here is a picture of him working on an electroformed man for testing flight suits during WWII, before he went in the army himself and was sent to Italy. 

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In the late 1950’s he got into making waveguides. He took on a partner, Mr. Albert Marvin, and in 1962 they built the present day plant next door to the old factory to electroform waveguide hardware for Western Electric, the manufacturing branch of AT&T.

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That was when long range telephone transmission was changing form wire to microwave, and the A.J. Tuck Company made all of the sensitive microwave transitions for all of the long-line towers across the nation. You probably remember those red and white towers with the big “sugar scoop” antennas on top.  They were everywhere. We made all of the microwave transitions and filters for all of them, all across the country, while other companies made the long waveguides that ran down the towers by extrusion. Here is an interesting article (AT&T Long Lines – A Forgotten System)

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That was before CNC machines and we had rows of Bridgeport millers, drill presses and manual lathes.  We machined the waveguides, soldered on the flanges, did silver and cadmium plating, and performed RF electrical testing.

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That was huge business, at one time we were making a whole ton of copper waveguides every week, but it ended when telephone transmission coast to coast went to fiber optics.

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The A.J. Tuck company has a long space heritage. Some of the early platforms which incorporated our hardware, are The Television Infrared Observation Satellite (TIROS) program which began in the 1950s and also legacy Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) systems.

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Alvin Tuck IV started at the company in 1971 after working in New York City in advertising. In June of 1979 he became President and General Manager, and celebrated his 50th anniversary with the company in 2021.

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All that the experience has led the A.J. Tuck Company to what it has become today, a leader in the manufacture of complete electroformed solutions, machining, assembly, plating, testing, and the mastery of overall design to combine all to achieve what our customers’ final designs are.  Our customers send us engineering drawings and CAD models of what their finished complex products need to be, and we work with our customers to identify the optimal fabrication flow, all the processes, manufacturing steps, associated component technologies, and how to meet all of our customer's specifications, dimensions and required tolerances.  We are not just an electroforming facility, we are a complete manufacturing site. We are open to any industry to make anything that in any way that incorporates electroforming into a final design.

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