The Way It Was

Wagner Meters began as a business in the early 1960s when Delmer Wagner saw an innovative opportunity in the forest products industry of the Pacific Northwest.

At That Time:

American population: approximately 175 million.
Average American salary: $4,750.00/year.
Life expectancy: males: 66 years; females: 73 years.
Minimum wage: $1.00/hour.

Since then, trade has gone global, both for buyers and sellers. Manufacturers produce their goods due to a greatly-expanded set of considerations, among them: cost. Increasingly, companies send production contracts to cost-efficient countries to maximize profit and stay competitive. As with any cultural tectonic shift, globalization has its positives and negatives. Informed individuals can decide, for themselves, on the risks and benefits.

The Way It Is

Globalization has, of course, impacted the moisture content test industry. It is not possible to overstate the importance of this issue, because it so profoundly affects the products used in a moisture content test. Every time a contractor or consumer purchases a moisture content test kit or a moisture meter, they enact a certain degree of support for the nations that produced them.

wagner-meters-wayThe Wagner Meters Way

Wagner Meters to design the first solid state, non-contact, in-line lumber moisture detector. Soon, clients approached Wagner Meters for hand-held moisture content test meters for spot-checking. Wagner Meters has spent the ensuing decades building a family of moisture content test products for wood and relative humidity test products for concrete, from its original home base of Rogue River, Oregon.

Time has not changed the Wagner Meters business ethic. Delmer’s son, Ed, continues the legacy of pioneering moisture content test equipment, from hand-held meters to lumber mill processing systems. Wagner Meters has grown with the world, but it has chosen to remain rooted in the American vision which motivated Delmer Wagner to innovate. Wagner Meters remains an American employer with global reach.

Only a business committed to a vision of growth and sustainability recognizes that cheaper may not be better in the long run.

View a list of Wagner Meters affiliations here.

Wagner Meters History

’60s

Early '60s

’60s

Delmer Wagner worked for a sawmill in Redmond, Ore.

 

To measure moisture in lumber, mills used “contact moisture detectors” that were in a cabinet the size of a man and came quipped with radio vacuum tubes. They were hard to use, hard to calibrate, and hard to interpret.

1963

1963

Delmer develops the first in-line moisture detector using transistors for the Redmond sawmill.

 

The detector is smaller and more compact than traditional detectors. It was also more reliable, and easier to calibrate. Pleased with Delmer’s newly-designed moisture detector, the mill took out a patent on his device.

 

Delmer Wagner left the mill to teach at a local college.

1965

1965

1965

Delmer Wagner founded Wagner Electronics.

 

He designs a second in-line transistorized moisture detector.

 

Delmer designs first transistorized in-line moisture meter with the first non-contact meter.

 

He also figures out how to calibrate the meters in percent moisture content.

1967

1967

1967

Ed Wagner, Delmer’s son, starts working for Wagner Electronics. He begins with wiring, assembling, soldering, and testing meters.

Late '70s

Late ’70s

Ed Wagner is promoted to Production Manager.

 

Delmer Wagner invents an in-kiln moisture detector: Model 778.

 

Delmer introduces the in-kiln moisture detector.

 

Delmer figured out a way to use in-line meters to troubleshoot kilns.

 

Delmer develops a process to track season changes, comparing kilns performances with specific wood species and tracking exact location of each stack of wood. The amount of wood that came out too wet, with a need to be run through the kiln again, or too dry, causing it to warp, split and crack, had been significantly reduced.

1981

1981

1981

First Wagner pinless wood moisture meters invented: L600.

Mid ’80s

Mid '80s

Mid ’80s

Microprocessors are added to in-line systems to aid in-kiln troubleshooting…the combination of computers and the in-line moisture meters are sold to the Forest Products industry.

1987

1987

1987

Delmer Wagner retires and sells the majority of stock in Wagner Electronics to Ed Wagner.

 

Ed Wagner becomes president and CEO of the company.

Early ’90s

Early '90s

Early ’90s

Recession hits and Wagner begins to offer smaller hand-held pinless meters to the wood flooring and woodworking markets.

 

The L609, L606, L607 and L601-3 models are introduced.

Late ’90s

Late '90s

Late ’90s

The L610 and L612 meters are introduced.

 

The Stack Probe is also introduced.

 

Industry experts estimate annual flooring failures due to moisture in concrete at more than $500 million.

 

Ed Wagner chairs a number of ASTM Standards committees and is a driving force in updating and publishing several ASTM Standards for testing moisture in wood.

2004

2004

2004

Howard Kanare (employed by CTLGroup, Portland Cement’s Material Testing Laboratory Service in Skokie, Ill.) and Wagner Meters suggest the first concepts of what was the first Rapid RH® tool for measuring moisture in concrete.

2005

2005

Wagner Meters and CTLGroup collaborate to develop the Rapid RH®, an in-situ relative humidity testing system for concrete.

2006

2006

2006

The original Rapid RH® wins the “Most Innovative Product” awards at the World of Concrete (WOC).

2007

2007

2007

Ed’s son, Eric, begins working at Wagner Electronics by assembling meters and occasionally helping out in the engineering and marketing departments.

2010

2010

2010

Company name changes to Wagner Meters to better express the solution they offer to the market — moisture meters.

2013

2013

2013

The Rapid RH® DataMaster™ wins the “Most Innovative Product” award at WOC. A hand-held device, the DataMaster paired touchscreen capabilites with Bluetooth™ technology to allow users to quickly and easily record all test data for a particular job site.

2015

2015

2015

Wagner Meters offers the first Rapid RH® reusable moisture meter: the Rapid RH 5.0.

 

Wagner celebrates 50 years of offering quality moisture meters — now including four company divisions:

 

  • Forest Products Industry
  • Woodworking
  • Flooring
  • Building Inspection

 

Wagner Meters has developed numerous patents over the years and holds many valuable patents that protect current products.

Wagner Meters’ Mission Statement

The mission of Wagner Meters is to create and provide solutions in moisture measurement technology to enhance the quality and value of our customer’s products.

Ed Wagner President and CEO standing with his son Eric Wagner. Wagner Meters is a family-owned company.

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