History of Robert E. White Instruments, Inc.
In 1875 George
W. Eldridge published the first Eldridge Tide and Pilot book. "The
Tide Book" has been published annually by the same family for over
130 years (see History of The Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book for more).
Captain Eldridge's eldest Daughter Ruth married Wilfrid O. White of
Williamstown Australia. Wilfrid came from a family of shipbuilders
and he was fascinated with navigation. He took an opportunity to study
with Lord Kelvin in the UK and when he returned to Boston in 1918
he opened up a small nautical instrument dealership. Kelvin and Wilfrid
O. White Co., was located on historic State Street in Boston, a couple
of blocks from the busy waterfront. He offered sextants, compasses
in large binnacles, chronometers, binoculars, taffrail logs, barometers,
and charts for all oceans. For two generations the company manufactured
the highest quality navigation instruments.
Our Boston showroom in 2008, before our move to Medfield, showing the Marine section: tide clocks,
clocks and matching barometers on panels, barographs, sextants, compasses, and binoculars.
In 1950 the company became Wilfrid O. White and Sons, Inc. Wilfrid
and his two sons, Robert and Gordon, expanded the company's production
to include compasses, binnacles, auto-pilots, depth sounders, and
wind and weather instruments.
In 1961 the company was sold (Eastern Company purchased the patents
to the compasses and merged it with the Danforth anchor division).
Gordon worked for Danforth for a little while but then he left to
develop a line of weather indicators that he called "Maximum" because
of the clever patented maximum gust register in the anemometers. Maximum
Inc. is still making Gordon's instruments along with many newer designs.
Although the Maximum company is no longer in the family, we have maintained
a very close relationship and are one of their biggest dealers. All
Maximum instruments are sold at a year-round discount.
While Gordon was developing Maximum, his brother Robert Eldridge White
established Robert E. White Instruments, Inc., a distributor and dealer
of premium quality navigation and weather instruments. Included in
his offerings were his brother's Maximum instruments and his father's
(now Danforth's) compasses. Today the company is run by his eldest
son Robert Eldridge White, Jr., ("Ridge"), and it continues
to have a reputation others would envy. We offer only high-quality
marine and weather instruments as well as a wide range of hard-to-find
instrument repair services. Both Ridge and his wife Linda are the
fourth generation of publishers of the Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book,
“the most trusted guide to East Coast waters, since 1875.”
The Weather section of our former showroom: digital weather stations, thermometers, hygrometers,
barometers, rain gauges, Chelsea clocks, and Maximum panel stations.
Today, Robert E. White Instruments, Inc. continues to have a reputation others would envy. We offer a
tremendous array of high quality marine and weather instruments supported by an exceptionally knowledgeable staff.