Common Questions

What is this website all about? 

We are here to (1) help create an awareness of the need to preserve original, early-technology electrical artifacts, (2) create products incorporating these artifacts, and (3) do so in a manner that would permit ownership by practically anyone with an appreciation for early electromechanical technology.

Why electric meters? 

Early electric meters are ideal subjects for preservation and restoration because (1) they are small and lightweight, (2) they contain a generous amount of brass, bronze, and nickel-plate components which can be polished to greatly enhance their aesthetics, (3) they are a “natural” for use in combination with an electric lamp, as they can be made to operate in conjunction with lamp use, (4) their operational activity is readily observed through clear glass protective enclosures, and (5) they are engineered to operate for decades, as they commonly employ precision jeweled mechanical bearings for their most active moving parts.

It goes without saying that the liberal use of brass and bronze in today’s meters is unthinkable in light of the cost factor. As a further contrast, modern metering technology is moving in the direction of solid-state equipment, where electromechanics will no longer be employed.

Had Arcman Corporation not stepped in to interrupt the systematic, programmed destruction of such old metering equipment when it did, such devices would only be found today in specialized museums or in the possession of a relatively few, widely-scattered collectors.

How long can you expect to remain in business, selling such original equipment? 

During its first quarter-century in business, Arcman Corporation has amassed the world’s largest inventory of antique electrical instrumentation. We also have signed long-term purchasing contracts to acquire much additional equipment, and this website will certainly stimulate new preservation opportunities.

From the outset, Arcman Corporation has been restoring 1920’s-era meters and we plan to maintain this period for years to come. Following that, we may move to 1910-era meters, then late 1800’s meters, and then forward to 1930’s and 1940’s-era meters.

Factoring in website-engendered business growth with present and incoming inventory, restoration work should continue until sometime between the years 2035 and 2045, the Lord willing, before stocks are finally depleted.

In short, we have in place an established, solid, growing infrastructure upon which to build a lasting business enterprise.

When will you offer more product variety? 

Our stocks thus far are heavily weighted to two major meter builders, Westinghouse and General Electric. Although a few new designs are in the pipeline, customer demand for our existing products is keeping our shop running at full tilt, and we don’t yet have the time available to diversify the offerings to any great degree. We don’t foresee significant additions until at least 2010.

Do you have any competition? 

We have no direct competition, as no one else has comparable inventory. There are always a few other sources building lamps with newer meters, but we’re accustomed to seeing these producers come and go in fairly predictable succession, their lifespans dictated by a limited meter stock, their products’ market appeal, and/or the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

None of these competitors has yet been willing to invest in custom tooling, dies, and equipment to the extent that we have. We believe such investment is mandatory in the interest of creating products for the particular markets we serve.

What else does Arcman Corporation do?

(1) We are a contract meter-comparator manufacturer for an outside agent, CMB Associates, Inc.

(2) We recently started building a new product for members and supporters of the fire-fighting                community: the Masterbox Lamp, based on the classic Gamewell fire alarm box.
     (Visit: www.masterbox-lamp.com for more about this new product.)

(3) We seek to develop internally-generated invention ideas in the commercial and industrial sectors.

Do you accept outside invention ideas for development? 

Apart from new product ideas (see custom work question) we do not accept unsolicited ideas for evaluation. 

Can I buy stock in Arcman Corporation? 

No stock has ever been offered for sale. All stock is presently still in the realm of founder’s stock.

Do you wholesale your products to resellers? 

Over the years, we’ve worked with a few select retailers and cataloguers, but all wholesaling activity has now come to a close. All sales are now direct. We appreciate the opportunities we’ve had in the past to work with our resellers.

Do you export? 

Apart from our longstanding sales activity throughout Canada, we regretfully and respectfully must decline all other export inquiries at the present time.

Who are your primary customers?

Electric utilities, electrical engineering and contracting firms, corporate utility departments, cogeneration plants, electrical manufacturers, federal, state and local agencies, educational institutions, research laboratories, oil companies, and a variety of energy-related enterprises.

Do you sell to private individuals? 

Yes. Private individuals can expect the same high level of service that our corporate customers receive.

Are your products made in the United States? 

Yes. All of the meters we restore were originally built in the United States and were retrieved by us from domestic locations. Certain product components, however, must be imported, as there are no longer any domestic suppliers available. All restoration work is performed in our workshop by US citizens.

How are your products packaged for shipment? 

Products are carefully packed with wadded newsprint cushioning in multiple cartons within one large shipping carton. We don’t use styrofoam “peanuts” or shredded newspaper out of consideration for our customer’s unpacking experience. Our shipping damage experience rate is below 1%.

Do you have a catalog? 

Yes. We print an 8-1/2”x11” color catalog which is distributed on an unscheduled basis. You can get one by
clicking on the "Request Catalog" link on our home page.

Do you sell, rent, or otherwise disclose your customer data base? 

No. We never have and never will.


I’d like to build my own meter lamp. Can I buy parts from you? 

Product or meter components are not available for sale to individuals assembling their own products.

Do you perform custom work? 

We would consider collaborating on a customer-generated idea, provided the work falls within our workshop parameters. Contact us with your concept. All ideas submitted, however, become the property of Arcman Corporation.

I have an old meter I’d like you to restore and convert into a lamp for me. Can you do this? 

Sorry, we are not able to fit this type of work into our assembly schedule.

I have an old electric meter I’d like to know more about. Can you help? 

We’d be glad to research our small old-tech library for you at no charge. Send us a photo or detailed sketch of your instrument, along with complete data plate specifications and a SASE. We will respond as time permits.

I have an old metering handbook. Are you interested? 

We may be. Please contact us.

I have some old meters for sale/trade. Will you buy or allow credit on a purchase? 

We are very selective as to what types of meters we purchase. If the meter is very unusual, send us complete meter data plate information. A photo is ideal.

As a general guideline, though, we tend to shy away from small-lot offers at a distance. Honest misrepresentation is always a concern. We regard meters with damaged curved-glass components nearly worthless. Such damage may not be apparent until the glass is thoroughly cleaned by us. Inadequate shipper packaging to us is common. A once-perfect meter may arrive damaged or even destroyed, making everyone unhappy.

For the above reasons, as well as for a laundry list of others, we, as a rule, also avoid offers to either (a) restore a customer’s meter for them, or (b) discount our products as a trade for a customer’s meter.

We are, however, interested in old utility system caches of desirable equipment, where we can exercise some control over packaging and transport. Large meter collections and old power station decommissionings are another area of interest. 

I have a special insulator type I’d like to have cut and made into a plaque. Can you help? 

It’s possible, provided your insulator isn’t larger than our stock insulators, and that we’re not held responsible for the possible destruction of your property. Contact us with your insulator dimensions. 

I represent a foreign meter source. Are you interested? 

Possibly. Please e-mail us.

Do you offer visitor tours?

Yes, but to a limited degree. Drop-in visitors to our Dunmore PA facility would likely find on-site staff busily involved in their work and unable to take the time to properly entertain visitors. Also, visitors expecting to view our inventory would be disappointed, as nearly all of our inventory is secured and placed in protective long-term storage. Visitors rightly expecting a museum-like experience would also be disillusioned, as we presently lack the appropriate square footage for a proper display of representative meters.

The long and short of it is that we are presently functioning as a fully-involved, no-frills restoration workshop, in successful fulfllment of our corporate mission statement. Within a few years, however, we intend to move to larger quarters and will at that time make our facility into a more visitor-friendly site.

If none of the above has discouraged you, we will be glad to show you around, provided you contact us beforehand to schedule a date and time. Jim is always happy to talk shop. 

How did Arcman Corporation get started?

Please visit our "History" page.