TECLA COMPANY, INC.
TECLA COMPANY, 125 YEARS YOUNG
A brief history of the company and the inventors who inspired us
By Dick Clark
Tecla, based in Walled Lake, Michigan, was founded in 1897 by Thomas E. Clark, the grandfather of brothers Robb, Jeff and Dick Clark, who have been managing the business for more than 50 years.
Our five divisions serve several industries:
- Tecla Marine Products makes custom marine hardware and boating accessories for the pleasure power boat industry.
- Bert’s Custom Tackle and Walker Downriggers make fishing tackle.
- Resco Pet Products makes pet grooming products.
- And Tecla Innovation designs and makes products for industrial applications primary for the automotive and robotics industries.
We have a team of next-generation family members and colleagues trained to someday take over management of the company. It is awe inspiring to us all how innovation has changed our lives – and those of our customers – over the decades, and how it continues to do so.
In celebration of this, Tecla’s 125th anniversary and of the spirit of innovation on which Tecla was founded, it is our great joy to share this brief history of our grandfather, the other inventors – including Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Nikola Tesla – he worked with, and how they influenced him and the company whose name still bears his initials.
Thomas E. Clark, the making of an inventor
Tom, as our grandfather was known, was born in Tecumseh, Ontario – near Windsor – in 1869. His father worked for the Grand Trunk Railroad and moved the family to Detroit when Tom was a boy. He attended school until age 15, when, like his dad, he went to work for the Grand Trunk Railroad at one of its train stations in Ontario.
It was there that Tom was first exposed to telegraph communication, learning Morse Code and, sometimes to the exasperation of his bosses, taking telegraph keys apart to see how they worked. He soon went on to become a night telegraph dispatcher for the railroad. Understanding telegraphy then was like knowing how to write computer code today and was foundational in building his career as an electrical engineer and inventor.