S.H. Couch

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Couch F5GX non-coded fire alarm pull station and F294 10" bell.

Summary[edit]

The firm S. H. Couch, often known as simply Couch, was a Quincy, Massachusetts, manufacturing company founded circa 1901 in Boston[1][2][3] after the dissolution of Whitman & Couch, a partnership, and a second entity known as Couch & Seeley.[4] S. H. Couch launched during and participated in the turn of the century Independent Telephone Movement which ensued after the expiration of the foundational Bell telephone patents in 1894.[5] The company specialized in electrical devices including telephones, intercoms, and fire alarm systems.[6][7][8] S. H. Couch had offices in Boston and in Chicago by 1907.

S. H. Couch was re-organized and became a subsidiary of Couch Associates some time between 1926 and 1941. Couch Associates apparently was a financial holding company that served the founder, his spouse, and his adopted brother William Couch. According to an undated letter written by Mr. Samuel Couch, the assets of the original S. H. Couch company consisted of plant, machinery, inventories, cash in banks and on hand, accounts and notes receivables, and securities such as stocks and bonds of other companies. Mr. Couch noted the plant, machinery and tools, patents, and inventories were sold to the new S. H. Couch company for $240,000.00. Three individuals, Mr. Atkinson, Mr. Cameron and Mr. Morrison, all attached to the new company, were to issue $210,000.00 of 6% preferred stock and $30,000.00 of common stock back to Couch Associates, Inc. The remaining assets of the old S. H. Couch were retained by Couch Associates. According to Mr. Couch's estate tax filings, he held preferred and common stock shares in Couch Associates to his death in 1954.[9][10]

Information on file in the United States Patent and Trademark Office sketches a quick history of the S. H. Couch company. Those records indicate the trademark "Couch" was first used in November 1903, but was registered only in 1948. In 1969, the trademark was transferred to ESB Corporation of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Another transfer of the trademark, to a relocated S. H. Couch, now in Michigan, took place in 1978.[11] The trademark and the associated transfers can be viewed here.

Couch was well known for[citation needed] its fire alarm control units including the FABC-series and the advanced Fire-Voice high rise detection and evacuation signaling system, apartment building intercom/telephone systems, and Nurse Call intercom systems.

The later history of S. H. Couch should be considered in light of developments across the American Fire Alarm and Signal industry generally, and modernization efforts in the Boston area in particular. A quick overview of this industry is available through several sources including the National Fire Protection Association's Guide to Fire Alarm and Signaling System Installation. Section I of the Pocket Guide notes the very first public fire alarm reporting system in the world, the Boston Fire Alarm Telegraph, went into service in April 1852. The Guide also highlights key transitions that affected the fire alarm industry such as smoke detectors beginning in 1960, visible signaling in the 1980s, and adoption of microprocessor and software technology. A more detailed look at the evolution of Boston's public fire alarm system, from 1859 to 1973, can be seen here courtesy of the Boston Sparks Association. Eventually, a fire alarm industry consolidation phase took place.[12]

Couch closed in 1985. Advanced Signal Corp., of Randolph, Massachusetts, purchased the remaining inventory and continued to support the line of products until 2003.[citation needed]

Based on advertising and six other sources, there was a related corporate entity known as Couch Ordnance, Inc., located at 3 Arlington Street, North Quincy, MA, by 1958.[13][14][15][16][17][18][19] In 1959, Couch Ordnance purchased a two story and basement building at 36 River Street, Dorchester, MA.[20] One 1965 trade publication focused on leading American ultraminiature electronic component parts manufacturers cited Couch Ordnance and products in an annual review.[21] Couch Ordnance advertising in 1966 indicated it was a subsidiary of S. H. Couch.[22]

S.H. Couch held Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code number 05587 issued by the Defense Logistics Agency in October, 1974. The CAGE code was active while the firm was in Michigan.[23][24] Earlier, as a division of ESB, S. H. Couch held CAGE Code number 14740.[25]

Company Facilities[edit]

At launch in 1901, S. H. Couch was based at 200 Sumner Street, Boston, MA. Based on later S. H. Couch company advertising, the firm had offices at 156 or 162 Pearl Street, Boston, MA, by 1905.[26] By 1915, the Boston Office was at 170 Purchase Street.[27]

The firm's home office and manufacturing plant moved to Quincy in 1910. It was probably located at 1 Arlington Street, at the corner of Arlington and Squantum Streets, Norfolk Downs, Quincy, MA. A photograph of the S. H. Couch company building in Quincy, circa 1870-1930, is available from the Thomas Crane public library.[28]

The S. H. Couch office in Chicago, Illinois, opened in 1907 under the direction of Peter F. Hensel. It was originally located at 324 Dearborn Street.[29][30] That Couch office later moved to 337 West Madison Street from 1913 to at least 1917.[31]

Key Leaders[edit]

Mr. Samuel Henry Couch, of Milton, MA, (b. 1872, d. 1954)[32][33] was the founder of this firm. An early article notes he was President and Treasurer when the firm incorporated circa 1904.[34] State of Illinois foreign corporation registration records from 1913 and another source both describe him as the firm's President.[35][36] He is cited in a 1915 patent assigned to the company.[37] Finally, the Norfolk county, MA, Registry of Deeds records a series of real estate transactions between Mr. Couch and his eponymously named firm, his spouse, and others.[38][39]

Mr. Couch was born in Kingsteignton, United Kingdom, and emigrated to the United States as a youth with his family.[40] A photograph of Mr. Couch, dated circa 1899, is available here. The caption to that photograph identifies Mr. Couch as one of the leaders of the Independent Telephone Movement. Mr. Couch contributed to that movement as early at 1897 when he represented the Eastern Region to the national association's founding meeting that took place in Detroit on June 22 of that year.[41][42] By 1921, Mr. Couch also was a Director of the Quincy Trust Company,[43] a position he retained through 1953.[44]

Mr. Benjamin Fredey Jaques (b. 1905, d. 2001) also served as President of S. H. Couch and Couch Ordnance while the firm was still based in MA.[45] As of October 1952, Mr. Jaques concurrently held the following positions: President of the Jaques Company, of 67 Batterymarch Street; President and Director of the S. H. Couch Company; President and Director of Couch Ordnance; and Board Member of the New England Trust.[46]

Industry Consolidation[edit]

From 1969, S. H. Couch was associated with Exide Safety Systems, of Randolph, Massachusetts. Publications issued in 1973 and 1974 describe S H Couch as a division of ESB.[47][48] ESB Brands Incorporated, associated with the Electric Storage Battery Company, the latter the predecessor to Exide, was created in 1964 as a domestic corporation in Pennsylvania under entity number 101773, according to that state's business records.[49] It was dissolved through consolidation in 1980. While controlled by ESB Corporation, the relay manufacturing portion of S. H. Couch, based in Boston, was sold to Deutsch Relays of East Northport, NY, on 14 Feb 1975. The remaining S H Couch elements were to consolidate into ESB's Excide Safety Systems division at a new plant in Randolph, MA.[50] By 1977, Exide Safety Systems, a division of ESB Inc., included two branches: Exide Lightguard and Exide Couch, according to one source.[51] S. H. Couch was sold again later that year. Photographs of Exide-Couch co-branded manual fire alarm pull stations exist.[52]

Faraday's parent corporation purchased S. H. Couch in 1977 and closed the Quincy, Massachusetts facility moving the factory and engineering group to 225 Patterson Street, Tecumseh, Michigan. Business licensing records held by the state of Michigan note the S. H. Couch Company was registered as a Foreign Profit Corporation (also known as a foreign corporation) in August 1978.[53] According to the state of Michigan, the firm filed annual reports through 1982. Its registration with the state was cancelled in 1984.

State of Ohio business records from the same period indicate S. H. Couch may have been legally domiciled in that state as of July 1978.[54]

Products[edit]

Early S. H. Couch products included the 1898 (SIC) Intercom,[55] the 1908 IBX (Intercommunicating Branch Exchange),[56] the 1910 Inter-Phone,[57] and other design concepts.[58][59][60][61][62][63]

An additional patent filing in 1931 shows the evolution of "private" telephone systems for use in apartment houses, businesses, and offices.[64]

The firm published a booklet in 1936 titled "Electric Reset Annunciators, Signaling Systems and Accessories."[65]

Photographs and videos of S.H. Couch alarm products from circa 1960 are available on the Fire Panels Forum,[66] and elsewhere.[67][68]

The February, 1969, issue of Popular Mechanics describes fire alarm systems and includes S.H. Couch in its list of manufacturers.[69]

By 1970, the United States Code of Federal Regulations noted S.H. Couch manufactured mailboxes were appropriate for apartment buildings.[70]

Some S. H. Couch patents[edit]

File Date Patent Number Patent Title
22 Oct 1904 US 781391 A Guard for incandescent lamps[71]
02 Oct 1905 US 830770 A Automatic resetting-switch.[72]
12 Apr 1906 US 846827 A Telephone-service apparatus[73]
28 Jul 1911 US 1134996 A Annunciator-drop.[74]
24 Oct 1912 US 1107610 A Annunciator-drop[75]
31 Oct 1913 US 1187671 A Automatic telephone system[76]
19 Jun 1914 US 1130971 A Intercommunicating telephone[77]
19 Jun 1914 US 1204765 A Hand-micro telephone[78]
12 Jan 1915 US 1173961 A Mail-box[79]
12 Jan 1915 US 1204766 A Selective signaling device[80]
3 May 1915 US 1190548 A Telephone-receiver[81]
18 Aug 1915 US 1240974 A Telephone wall set[82]
7 May 1929 US 1847061 A Intercommunicating telephone[83]
8 July 1931 US 1936245 A Telephone[84]
27 July 1931 US 1909153 A Thermionic amplifier[85]
01 Jun 1937 US 2214968 A Switch box[86]
21 Nov 1939 US 2263877 A Transmitting system[87]
07 Sep 1943 US 2328556 A Transmitting system[88]
24 Jan 1944 US 2405735 A Hospital plug connection[89]
4 June 1945 US 2500184 A Electrical apparatus[90]
09 Feb 1950 US 2581861 A Electrical apparatus[91]
30 Aug 1950 US 2652171 A Cover securing means for wall boxes[92]
17 Mar 1952 US 2731518 A Telephone unit[93]
25 Mar 1955 US 2822435 A Switching system[94]
24 May 1957 US 2866870 A Rotary armature and stator for use in relays[95]
19 Oct 1959 US 3170070 A Current detecting system[96]
21 June 1960 US 3253272 A Coded alarm station[97]
09 Aug 1961 US 3164697 A Rotary armature miniature relay[98]
23 Jan 1963 US 3230296 A Contact terminal assembly with different geometric configured contacts on either side of a plate[99]
04 Mar 1963 US 3226520 A Illuminated push button switch assembly including latching means[100]
06 Mar 1964 US 3255333 A Push button switch construction[101]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kammeyer, Carl (January 1902). "Telephone Magazine". Google.com. Telephone Magazine. p. 15. Retrieved 24 October 2015. Samuel H. Couch, formerly with Couch & Seeley Co., desires to inform his friends and former customers that he has disposed of his entire stock and interest in the Couch & Seeley Company and is now in business at 200 Summer Street, New England Building, opposite South Station, under the name and style of S. H. Couch Company. 
  2. ^ "Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments". Wayriser. Harvard University EMuseum. Retrieved 10 October 2015. S. H. Couch Company was founded in 1894 in Quincy, Massachusetts. It established itself as a maker of telephone equipment for home and office use. Principals in the company included S. H. Couch and William Couch. 
  3. ^ "The Electrical Engineer, Volume XXIII, No. 453". Google.com. The Electrical Engineer. January 27, 1897. Retrieved 24 October 2015. Mr. Samuel H. Couch, of the firm Whitman & Couch, of Boston, is at present traveling... 
  4. ^ Kammeyer, Carl (Fall 1899). "Electrical Engineering and Telephone Magazine, Volume 14". Google.com. Electrical Engineering Publishing Company. p. 83. Retrieved 24 October 2015. Couch & Seeley Company. This company which succeeded some months ago to the business formerly conducted by Whitman & Couch... 
  5. ^ "The Western Electrician, Volume 22, Number 9". Google.com. Electrician Publishing Company. pp. 117–123. Retrieved 24 October 2015. 
  6. ^ "Trade Catalogs". Smithsonian Institution. American History Museum Library. pp. Record ID SILNMAHTL_11830. Retrieved 10 October 2015. Collection content: Intercommunicating telephones; microphone speakers; electricians' insulated staples; telephones; fire alarms; apartment house telephones; mail boxes; annunciators; signaling systems; private line telephones; etc. 
  7. ^ Architectural Record Company. "Sweet's Indexed Catalogue of Building Construction of 1907-1908, Vol 2". google.com. p. 1349. Retrieved 10 October 2015. S. H. Couch Company, manufacturers of telephone apparatus, 156 Purchase Street, Boston MA 
  8. ^ Bernhard, Frank H. (June 1921). "EMF Electrical Year Book". Google.com. Electrical Trade Publishing Company. pp. 43, 70, 199, 391, 501, 575, 737, 837. Retrieved 12 October 2015. Business established in 1901. President and Treasurer Samuel H. Couch. Vice-President and manager William Couch. General Manager A. T. Morrison. Main office and factory, Arlington and Squantum Streets, Norfolk Downs, Quincy, Mass. 
  9. ^ Couch, Samuel Henry (c. 1926). Personal Letters. Family Collection: Unpublished. 
  10. ^ Estate of Samuel H. Couch (1955). Form 706. Not Published. pp. Schedule B, Page 3. 
  11. ^ "Trademark Assignments". United States Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  12. ^ Bunker, Merton. "NFPA Pcket Guide to Fire Alarm and Signaling System Installation, 3rd Edition". Google.com. Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Retrieved 23 October 2015. 
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  14. ^ "Electronic Design, Vol. 9, Part 3". Google.com. Hayden Publishing Company. pp. 30, 220. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  15. ^ Moynihan, William (1961). "The Boston Directory". Mocavo. Mocavo. p. 657. Retrieved 30 August 2015. " Wm P elec tech Couch Ordinance r521 
  16. ^ "Bowdoin Alumni Magazine". Archive.org. Retrieved 30 August 2015. Pete Runton served as Milton Chairman for this fall's Greater Boston United Fund campaign. He is a sales engineer for Couch Ordinance, Inc., of Dorchester, Mass. 
  17. ^ "Bruce Gray". legacy.com. The Dover Press. Retrieved 12 October 2015. Bruce became manager of the relay division, then sales manager of products and components, to become vice-president of sales at Couch Ordnance, Inc., a division of S.H. Couch, Inc. (Later, Couch became part of Exide Safety Systems, in East Randolph, MA). Responsible for all Couch Ordnance products, Bruce was instrumental in the research, development and marketing of relays and other special electro-mechanical equipment for missiles, rockets, and aircraft. He received awards for his work with the NASA space program, and the U.S. military, from the United States Congress in Washington, D.C., as well as from several business and technical associations. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/wickedlocal-dover/obituary.aspx?n=bruce-gray&pid=170356737#sthash.U9ygLJpU.dpuf 
  18. ^ "Manufacturing firms by gnrp area and major sic groups". Archive.Org. Boston Redevelopment Authority. Retrieved 12 October 2015. Couch Ordnance, Inc., Div. S. H. Couch Co., Inc 
  19. ^ Jackson, Thomas. "THE CONCEPT OF A BALANCED PRESSURE ACTUATED TOGGLE ACTION ELECTRICAL SWITCH" (PDF). Georgia Institute of Technology - School of Aerospace Engineering. Georgia Institute of Technology. p. 45. Retrieved 20 October 2015. Couch Ordnance, Inc., 3 Arlington Street, North Quincy, Massachusetts 
  20. ^ "Building, Land sold for $35,000". The Boston Globe. 21 June 1959. p. A41. 
  21. ^ Dummer, G. W. A. "American Ultraminiature Component Parts Data". Google.com. Pergamon Press. p. 294 through 298. Retrieved 20 October 2015. 
  22. ^ "Electronics" (PDF). American Radio History.com. McGraw-Hill Publications. p. 162. Retrieved 21 October 2015. A subsidiary of S. H. Couch, Inc. 
  23. ^ "CAGE 05587, NSN Catalog". NSNCenter.com. NSNCenter. Retrieved 10 October 2015. CAGE 05587 COUCH S H CO 
  24. ^ Department of Defense. "Business Identification Numbers Cross-referencing (BINCS) System". Defense Logistics Agency. United States Department of Defense. Retrieved 10 October 2015. CAGE Status: Obsolete Record 
  25. ^ "CAGE Information". Logistics Information Service. Defense Logistics Agency. Retrieved 20 October 2015. Company Name: COUCH S H DIV ESB INC ; CAGE Status: Cancelled/Replaced by: 05587 
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  30. ^ "The Electrical Record". Google.com. May 1907. p. 47. Retrieved 10 November 2015. The S. H. Couch Company, Inc., 155 Purchase Street, Boston, Mass., makers of intercommunicating telephones, have opened an office in Chicago, at 324 Dearborn Street. It is under the management of Peter F. Hensel. 
  31. ^ "The Electrical Record, Volume 22, July-December 1917". Google.com. The Gage Publishing Company, Inc. p. 195. Retrieved 17 October 2015. Private telephone systems for factories, offices, residences, apartment houses, schools, colleges, hospitals, banks, etc. etc. 
  32. ^ "Town of Milton Annual Report". Archive.Org. Town of Milton, MA. p. 151. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 28 Samuel Henry Couch 83 6 26 
  33. ^ "Obituary Database". Boston Public Libraries. Boston Globe and Boston Herald. Retrieved 17 October 2015. Date of Death: 9/29/1954 
  34. ^ Gould, Geoffrey. "Telephone Magazine, Volume 23, January to July 1904". Google.com. Telephone Magazine Publishing Company. p. 223. Retrieved 30 August 2015. S. H. Couch Company, Boston. Capital stock $25,000. President and Treasurer, S. H. Couch. The purpose of the company is the manufacture of telephones. 
  35. ^ "Certified List of Illinois Corporations and Supplemental List of Foreign Corporations". Google.com. Illinois Printing Company. p. 573. Retrieved 19 September 2015. "President or Manager" Samuel H. Couch, Quincy (Wollaston), Mass. 
  36. ^ "The Aerospace Year Book". Google.com. University of California: American Aviation Publications, Inc. 1945. p. 618. Retrieved 30 August 2015. S. H. Couch, President; J. E. Atkinson, Vice President, Sales Manager, and Advertising Manager; A. T. Morrison, Vice President, Production Manager, and Purchasing Director; D. F. Cameron, Treasurer; C. Johnson, Chief Engineer. 
  37. ^ United States Patent and Trademark Office. "Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office". google.com. United States of America. pp. 370–371. Retrieved 30 August 2015. Annunciator Drop -- Samuel Henry Couch and William Weir Henry, Wollaston, and Anton E. Stevens; Atlantic, MA; Assignors to S. H. Couch Company, Inc., Atlantic, MA; Filed July 28, 1911. 
  38. ^ "Norfolk County Registry of Deeds". Records Database. Norfolk County, MA. Retrieved 4 October 2015. See BK1126 Pg330; BK1582 Pg206, etc. 
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  41. ^ "The Electrical Engineer: A Weekly Review of Theoretical and Applied Electricity, Volume 23". Google.com. The Electrical Engineer. p. 714. Retrieved 6 November 2015. Mr. Raymond L. Whitman called the meeting to order and explained the nature of the business to be considered. There were about twenty representatives present. "The time is ripe," said Mr. Whitman, "for the formation of some sort of a combination where we can go into the field with a solid and substantial backing. I do not think one company should be forced to bear the brunt of a suit. The Bell Company has the capital and the best talent to represent it, and we should stand together." ... After some further discussion, the following named delegates were elected to attend the meeting at Detroit: J. D. Leatherbee, of the National Telephone Company, and S. H. Couch, of Whitman & Couch. 
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