RIDGID MACHINE COMPANY (MCD)
The company was founded in 1964 by a group of engineers from Germany. They were interested in developing a portable computer for military use. After several years of development they succeeded in creating the first working prototype, which was named “Pegasus”. At that time it had only one function: to store and retrieve data from a hard drive.
In 1972, the company was sold to a consortium led by Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI). TI had been developing their own line of computers called the “Texas Instruments TMS991” at that time. The new owners decided to continue with the project using TI’s technology. However, instead of selling off the rights to develop a computer based on TI’s technology, they decided to license them out and create their own computer system.
That’s when the name “Ridgid” was chosen.
The new computer system was called “Ridgid Computer Systems”, and it consisted of a series of small computers connected together to form a larger unit. Each computer contained its own processor, memory, disk storage, keyboard and monitor. The operating system used TI’s TMS991 chip.
At first the product was marketed under the brand names “Tiger” or “Lion”. The smaller computers were sold to a wide variety of customers such as banks, large companies or government institutions. The larger unit was sold to manufacturing companies like Ford, General Motors or Toyota.
The company was bought back by the original founders in 1982, who decided to concentrate on the manufacture of the small computers rather than the large computer system. In 1983, they decided to sell off the small computers with the acronym “Ridgid” directly to the customer. There were two advantages to this, one was that they were no longer limited to manufacturing large expensive computers for big companies alone. The second advantage was that they could now sell the smaller computers for a profit and use these profits to reduce the price of the larger systems, thus making them more attractive to potential customers.
The company later changed its name to RIDGID Machine Company (MCD).
The company experienced a large growth during the 1980s, and in 1991 it had achieved a stock market capitalization of 6.2 billion dollars. The computer systems were sold to customers in over forty countries around the world. In the late 1980s, the company developed a new type of computer system that used a common keyboard and monitor.
Several of these systems could be networked together, allowing a large number of people to share the same data base. This technology was later sold to Olivetti in exchange for a five percent stake of the company.
Ridgid 100 datatrak Made by RIDGID MCD
In 1991, the company’s stock market valuation started to fall rapidly. Many mistakes had been made in the way that the company was being managed. For example, the company had invested huge sums of money in new technology that never paid off. The disk drive manufacturer “Seagate Technology” and the printer manufacturer “Xerox” were two such investments that never paid off.
In 1992, a new board of directors was elected and immediately set about finding a way to restore the company’s profitability. One of their solutions was to sell off some of the more exotic technologies that the company had developed over the years. One such technology was the manufacturing rights to a new type of battery that could be used in cordless power tools.
The rights to this technology were sold to a small company called “Eveready” for $40 million, giving the company enough money in the bank to cover its debts. The company was then able to refocus itself on producing and selling its core product, which was the manufacture of industrial computer systems. The company also bought back the majority of its shares, making it once again a private company.
By the mid 1990s, the company had managed to restructure itself and become profitable once again. It decided that it would concentrate on manufacturing computer-controlled power tools for professional users. It also started to design and manufacture its own battery packs for these power tools, a move that saved money and gave the company more control over the product.
In 2000, the company changed its name back to “Tristar”. At this point it had 1,200 employees and a five percent share of the power tool market in North America. Since then the company has continued to grow, both in terms of sales and profits. In 2006, a majority stake in the company was purchased by Newell Rubbermaid, a large American company that manufactures numerous household products.
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Sources & references used in this article:
- The design and testing of soil pressure sensors for in-field agricultural and forestry traffic. (JL Eweg – 2005 – ukzn-dspace.ukzn.ac.za)