Our History

 

History of the O.C. White Company - Established 1883

Vintage Lamp In 1883 Dr. Otis C. White, a dental surgeon from Hopkinton, Massachusetts, obtained the first of many patents for his adjustable joints, which included a dental head rest and a universal ball and socket joint. These inventions garnered numerous technological awards, including The John Scott Medal (awarded by the Franklin Institute), and the "Gold", "Silver", and "Honorable Mention" medals at the 1893 Pan American Exposition (precursor to the World's Fair). These same universal ball and socket joints can still be found in use today in various "Machine Lite" products in the O.C. White line.

In 1894, the company became a Massachusetts corporation producing gas light fixtures. Less than a decade later, with the introduction of the "Mazda lamp", the factory turned its attention to the field of adjustable electric lighting fixtures and was the original pioneer in the field of adjustable task lamps and machine lighting.

In 1901, Mr. Otis C. White Jr. became president of the firm, and oversaw all operations until the early 50's.

During World War I, specialized arms were produced and "Patented", and used in large quantities by the U.S. Signal Corps to hold resonator signaling devices. The company was cited by the U.S. government for its part in "Helping to produce victory over the enemy."

Vintage LogoIn 1939, fluorescent lamp technology was introduced, and O.C White began to design lamps for desk use, physician's exam units, hospital floor lamps, and fixtures for the stitching trade.

During World War II, O.C. White lights were extensively used as Chart lights on board ships, both in the US Navy and the Merchant Marines. Like many companies of the day, our manufacturing efforts were shifted to 100% War production with many other products being used in other war facilities, such as the special units that were designed to be parachuted into field operations.

In the 1950's, O.C. White became the dominant producer of OEM Machine Lighting for the American machine builders, such as New Britain Machine, Cincinnati Machine, Bryant, and many other manufacturers. O.C. White arm assemblies were also used in mass quantity for other manufacturers' own lines of fixtures.

In 1956 the company introduced its illuminated magnifiers as well as its famous adjustable broadcast arms. The original factory was located in Worcester, Massachusetts, which was one of the early hubs of industry, and was utilized until 1980, when the factory moved to a new location.
Vintage Logo
In 1964 Robert L. May became President and owner of the firm after twenty years of lighting experience with Sylvania Electric, Westinghouse Electric and then as a manufacturer's representative for O.C. White.

Today under its new President, Richard L. May, who has over forty years experience in the lighting field, the company has again moved to its new location in a renovated (1920), 72,000 sq. foot brick building in Thorndike, Massachusetts.

Considered the World's Oldest Industrial Lighting manufacturer, O.C. White has earned an unparalleled reputation for the quality of its superior products and  fixtures. It is not unusual to find the company's early fixtures in high end antique shops where high prices are demanded for the unique products.
 

Read "Key Elements for Good Visual Inspection" by Richard May, President, O.C. White Company

Read "Applied Illumination" by Otis C. White, President 1883-1901, O.C. White Company