The pictures on the table tell a story but not as well as the faces of the staff and workers who came through the door of what was once Herco Inc. in Newcomerstown.
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the company, a special event was hosted at the original home for Herco, Inc., and what is now the Olde Main Street Museum, 218 W. Canal St., Newcomerstown. Today, Herco is The H3D Tool Company / High Definition Tooling / Terminus Companies.
Gary Dyer, owner of the company (along with his two sons, Chris and Gary), reminisced about those early years while welcoming employees to a dinner at the museum on Friday, Oct. 5. The event included a tour of the facility, an overview of the history of the company and a luncheon and presentation of "The Many Faces of Old Glory" by Vane Scott.
Standing near to what is now the Sam Douglass Saloon near the front of the museum, Dyer noted, "That was my office" and later laughingly called it the "penthouse." The majority of the pictures put out by Dyer show employees in light-hearted moments.
Information provided by the company notes that on July 1, 1968, two professionals in the cutting tool industry recognized the need to start a manufacturing and service/sharpening company to meet the needs of a fast growing market in the wood processing market for V grooving also called miter folding. This type of operation was widely used in the manufacture of wood speaker cabinets of the time and also furniture components.
The information noted, "Harold Rivers was 36 years old, married with four children, and Gary Dyer was 24 years old, married with two children. Both worked together during a previous adventure but had the vision to see the potential of this opening market. Together they formed Herco Cutting Tools and searched for an affordable facility with close proximity to existing and potential markets. They also wanted to insure that the community supported an environment that was appropriate for raising their children and offered a pool of potential workers that would be available for the future growth of the company."
One of the five leading companies that used this type of cutting technology was located in Newcomerstown which was Groovfold, Inc. As the partners researched the area to become comfortable with what the community had to offer, the decision was made to locate in Newcomerstown. With the promise of $500 per month in service and sharpening from Groovfold, the company’s founders shook hands and a long standing relationship was started that has lasted through today.
As the pioneers in V Groove technology, Rivers and Dyer developed the idea of cutting a path in a wood based product with plastic adhered to one side in the shape of a V. The material would have a special tape applied at the cut line that would act as the hinge. The V groove tool would cut through the wood based product but not through the tape allowing the tape to act as a hinge. The folding of the cut material allowed for many profiles to be formed on the edges of the board. Many of the edges were very complex and required a series of six or seven tools working as a single unit to create. Customers like Zenith, Motorola, RCA and Sony changed the profiles every year resulting in the need for new tooling which was very beneficial to the company.
The first 20 years in business saw substantial growth of the industry and the company. Rivers and Dyer always relied on the resources of the community to provide willing and hardworking individuals, including high school age children through the OWE program at Newcomerstown High School. Having a philosophy and desire to train local individuals to meet the demands of the company resulted in many long term associates, some who are still employed by the company today.
In the 1990’s, the direction of the market and the company caused a shift in the vision shared by Rivers and Dyer. While Rivers was approaching retirement, Dyer was committed to continued growth of the company for himself and his family. While Rivers decided to retire and return to his roots in Georgia, Dyer was joined in the business by his two sons both expressing an interest in the day-to-day operations of the business.
In 1994 Dyer purchased Rivers’ share of the business to become sole owner. By adding a nationwide distribution network and professional technical sales representatives across the US, the company was able to offer onsite training and technical advice to their customers as an added service.
In the mid-90’s, the cutting tool market continued to change and in order to stay a leader in the industry, the acquisition of CNC equipment was necessary. The Dyers also became acquainted with a product called poly crystalline diamond or PCD (a manmade diamond product) that was being used in Europe for wood based products. Unfortunately, the technology for manufacturing this type of tooling was also only available in Europe, so Dyer made his first trip overseas to acquire the machinery and technology necessary to offer this type of tooling to their customers here in the USA.
In 1994, Dyer formed the 3-D Diamond Tooling company to pursue and offer this technology to the American market. Maintaining the philosophy of providing tooling to the woodworking market that was state of the art, machinery was acquired, the training was arranged, and the company grew to become the leading manufacturer of this type of tooling in the USA.
At this time, the product offering was expanded beyond V groove tooling to include profile tooling, saw blades, and other commodity tooling, as the company focused on providing all of the tools and accessories for each of their customer’s applications. If a wood based product needed to be cut or shaped, Herco and 3-D Diamond Cutting tools could provide the total cutting solution. At this time the company also explored the cutting and shaping of other materials and have provided tooling for the solid surface industry for countertops, the metal working industry cutting and shaping aluminum, brass and bronze, cutting exotic material such as plastic explosives and solid jet fuel, to shaping the ends of baby carrots. If it needed to be cut or shaped, the company would work to find the technology required to meet the customer’s expectations.
In 2000, the Dyers decided to enter the insert tooling market. This type of tooling completed the third and final product offering, adding to the brazed carbide tooling and PCD Tooling already manufactured by the Company, covering all options for the wood market. Insert tooling allows a customer to remove and replace the cutting edges on their tooling when dull, saving the removal of the tool and sending it out for service / sharpening. As a result, investments were made in technology to manufacture and shape this new style of cutting edge. While the steel tool bodies could be manufactured with the same equipment as V Groovers and profile tooling, the Dyers went a step beyond, acquiring new precision CNC equipment to manufacture the steel tool bodies to a standard previously not available in this market. By manufacturing a close tolerance tool body, the customer’s ability to align the cutting edges in the field resulted in all the cutting edges working in unison providing a cleaner edge on the customer’s material and an even load on the tool resulting in additional tool life.
The company continued to grow and eventually became aware of a competitive company with similar product lines that was for sale in North Carolina. In April 2012, the company acquired Carolina Specialty Tools in Connelly Springs, NC.
Over the next several years the Dyers invested heavily in new equipment and technology to bring the company’s standards to match what had been established in Ohio. The company acquired a larger facility and moved to 1968 High Definition Drive in Connelly Springs, NC, and changed the name to High Definition Tooling.
The most recent acquisition of the Dyer family was the well know Terminus Company from Switzerland which was completed in December of 2017.
"This year we have accepted delivery on all of the equipment from Switzerland necessary to manufacture their complete line of cutter heads and have offered this additional product line to the market," company officials said.
Today, The H3D Tool Company / High Definition Tooling / Terminus Companies are the largest capacity privately owned tooling manufacturer for the wood industry marketplace in the United States.