SUTER DENTAL MANUFACTURING COMPANY, INC
P.O. Box 1329
632 Cedar Street Chico, California 95927
FAX 916 893-0473 May 22, 1991
Dr. Bruce Smith
1110 Cobb Medical Center
Seattle, WA 98101
Dear Dr. Smith,
Thank you for the postcard that you sent to Bo. He has read it and asked me to drop you a line.
Enclosed is. a copy of Bo’s original story that was written several years ago. You may have seen this in the Operative Journal about a year ago. Bo has asked me to send this to you.
Bo sold Suter Dental to me approximately two, years ago. He still comes in daily to offer advice, assistance, and friendship. I have reminded him a couple of times to try to think of some unusual or interesting stories concerning the “early days” or Otto or Seattle. So far he has not come up with anything. But, I will continue to try to get information and will send it your way.
I look forward to possibly visiting with you next week in Seattle. Thank you for your years of support and kind words.
SUTER DENTAL MFG. CO., INC.
Suter Dental Company
By Bo Suter
My father, Otto Suter, worked for a few years for the Cleveland Dental Company. In 1929 he left the company and took out on his own.
Dad had a 1926 Chevy four-door sedan. We removed the back seat and built a work bench with a grinding head and vise in place of the back seat. We ran a line shaft under the frame from back to front. We put an extra pulley in front of the fan belt pulley so he could put a belt from that pulley to a pulley on the line shaft. On the other end of the shaft was a V belt pulley with a belt that ran up to the grinding head.
We remodeled a Coleman camp stove so it would produce a needle point flame.
Dad would call on a dentist and pick up his broken or worn out instruments, take them back to the car parked at the curb. There he would heat and straighten the instruments, then put on the belt, start the motor and let it idle and, sitting at the curb, he proceeded to grind, flatten (with a hammer), shape, bend, heat treat and sharpen the instruments. Then he would take them back to the dentist.
Dad charged 25 cents for each instrument he repaired. (In those days there were very few double end instruments). In this way, he worked his way across the northern states to Spokane then south to Los Angeles.
There in 1930, he met W. I. Ferrier in George Hollenback’s office, and Ferrier made Dad promise to come to Seattle. I joined him there in 1932.
Dad, Ferrier and I worked closely together in designing the Ferrier Study Club Set, both cutting and condensing instruments. I remember Ferrier spending evenings and Saturdays in our shop, which was in the basement of Dad’s house.
At that time there were only Dad, Mother and myself. The Ferrier separators were planned and designed in my mouth. They would put a separator in my mouth, then stand there and argue about changes.
The 212 Cervical clamp was also designed in my mouth. I was their human guinea pig.
In 1940 we moved to Southern California and expanded by hiring three employees. Over the years we have expanded and now we have 12 employees.
Provided by Dr. Bruce Smith
*Digitized and made Web available by Dr. Von Hanks & Dr. John R. Sechena
*Any additions or corrections send to Dr Von Hanks & Dr. John R. Sechena