Zinsco History -

**A History of Zinsco Electric **
Dear Mr. Holt & company,

My great-grandfather Emile Zinsmeyer and his son, my grandfather Martin Zinsmeyer started the company Zinsco Electric. I was looking up information about the company for my son’s school project and came across your website. When I read a few things that people were saying on there I thought I should post on there too, but since you have to be an electrician, I thought maybe you could post this for me.
Here is a short history about my family and the company they owned.

Frank Adam Electric (formed 1891 in St, Louis, Missouri) came out of Blacker and Adam Watch Co. In addition to watches, Blacker and Adam sold surveying equipment. Frank Adam hired only people they knew and Emile Zinsmeyer (my great-grandfather) was a sharp young salesman working at the store. They offered him a job as sales manager. In 1904 The World’s Fair put Frank Adam Electric on the map.

The family moved to Santa Monica, California in the late 1920’s so that Emile could run the Frank Adam west coast operation. After the Stock Market Crash, Emile negotiated with Frank Adam to buy the west coast stock (rather than ship back to St. Louis) and started Zinsmeyer Co. with his son Bill and six others.

They started with an 8,000 sq. ft. garage and a station wagon. They would get an order in the morning, build in the afternoon and get to the job site by night. The distributors would not deal with them, so they got to know the contractors, which eventually really helped them after World War II.

Martin Zinsmeyer (my grandfather) started working at Zinsmeyer Co. with his father and Bill, after graduating from USC. He bought the company from his father in 1943 and renamed it Zinsco.

In 1973 Zinsco was sold to GTE Sylvania.

I was told by my family that he was the inventor for many things that changed the way circuit breakers are used today. I know that the parts that were used then do not compare to what is available now, but many electricians have told me that his company was ground breaking and it paved the way for other electrical companies.
Please tell your posters this. My grandfather was a great man and I hate to see the Zinsmeyer name trashed. He died in 1986, so he’s not able to defend himself.

Thank you for your time.
Heather Hill

**Mike Holt Comment: **Thank you Heather for allowing me to share the great works of your grandfather with the electrical industry.

Compliments of Mike Holt Enterprises ( Thanks Mike :slight_smile:

Just because he died in 1986 and was a nice guy will still not dissuade me from noting that Zinsco breakers and panels did not hold up to the test of time. This is a fact that is proven over and over again, every time I examine a Zinsco installation.

Thanks, Paul. I enjoy history like that. :smiley:

lol…you act like I wrote it Marc…lol…just passin it along fella…:slight_smile: I ain’t no Zinsco lover fella…:slight_smile:

no, no. It was just my commentary on the linked piece. Not a commentary on the person who linked to it. Calm down… I am not your enemy.

Apparently there is still some need for these breakers and they are available.

I found this place just now:


I the meantime, I think that there are many panelboards of the types described here, and even the old Federals that are still in use, might have too do with the installer and the location.

May the gentleman rest in peace!

One of my customers has two side by side mid rise apartment buildings, with the GTE/Sylvania variant of the Zinsco panel in every unit. They must have a couple hundred of these panels. I don’t expect they’re going to replace them any time soon. I’ve been trying to talk them into an annual PM, but no dice so far. I’ve been saving cherry buss bars and such from other people’s tear outs to service this customer. (before anyone has a cow, there’s a spec on the reuse of old electrical material … http://www.pearl1.org/pdfs/pearl.pdf )

For that matter, I still have one customer with 6 or 8 Frank Adams panels in their building (the precurser to Zinsco). I can still get breakers for those too. They are on an annual PM program, for obvious reasons. That’s a really old installation.

lol…ahhh…Marc…I was joking fella…I know what you were saying…lol…