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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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THERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC. The predecessor of Thermolyne, the THERMO ELECTRIC MANUFACTURING COMPANY, was founded in Chicago in 1942. C. J. Ecklund, the first president of the firm, graduated from college with a degree in business administration. C. E. Anderson and Paul Dale, vice-presidents, were engineering graduates.

Thermo Electric moved to Dubuque in 1943 and established business at 480-482 West Locust. (1) Later expanding out of its plant on Huff Street in Dubuque, Thermolyne purchased four acres in the industrial park near the MISSISSIPPI RIVER and constructed a plant in 1962 at 2555 Kerper Blvd. (2) The company continued to produce furnaces for university and hospital laboratories where constant temperatures were critical and in industries for heat-treating metal. Other products included hot plates, incubators, laboratory lights and magnetic stirrers. The products were produced under the trademarks Temco, the company's original brand name, and Thermolyne. In 1945 sales totaled $52,000. This figure grew to $776,100 in 1960.

In 1967 Thermolyne was sold to the Ritter Pfaudler Corporation of Rochester, New York, for approximately $4 million. Later the same year the company became a division of Sybron Corp. In August 1982 the company announced a $2.6 million expansion to their plant at 2555 Kerper Boulevard. The company then employed an estimated two hundred people.

Thermolyne received the President's E Star Award in April 1983 for its role in expanding exports. Previously the company had won the award in 1976 and the Governor's Export Award in 1980. In 1983 exports accounted for an estimated 22 percent of Thermolyne's output. By 1983 the number of sales had more than doubled.

Thermolyne merged with Barnstead, another subsidiary of Sybron in 1986. This created Barnstead/Thermolyne Corporation.

In 1987 Forstmann Little and Company announced the sale of its Sybron Corp., including its Thermolyne division, to the Dallas-based firms of Hicks & Haas and Donaldson Lufkin & Jennrette Securities Corp. and members of the Sybron management. The cost of the purchase was $390 million.

In 2006 the company name was changed to Thermo Fisher Scientific. On October 6, 2009, company officials announced the Dubuque operation would be closed during 2010 putting 350 employees out of work. The functions of the Dubuque plant would be transferred to other company locations primarily in the United States.

Operations ended on August 30, 2010 despite an offer of an $18 million incentive package from city leaders. Production at Dubuque was transferred to China, the United Kingdom, and Germany according to records of the U. S. Department of Labor.

The 1987 Dubuque City Directory listed 2555 Kerper.



1. "Industrial Park Site for Firm," Telegraph Herald, September 19, 1962, p. 1

2. Ibid.