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75th Anniversary - Smith Meter PD Meter

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PD Meter Patent   patent 2014 PD Meter
Left to Right: the original 1940 PD meter patent with 
our most recent 2014 patent, the Genesis PD meter

In 1940 when Reuben Stanley Smith's patent for a “fluid flow mechanism” (now known as the rotary sliding vane positive displacement meter) was awarded, he could not have imagined he had designed the prototype for one of the most famous meters ever produced in the industry for custody transfer of crude oils and refined fuels.

Since then, FMC Technologies’ Smith Meter® PD Meter has stood the test of time, developing the original design concept to meet changing industry needs in all global markets, and continuing the legacy with even newer patents for revolutionary enhancements as recently as 2014. For 75 years, the PD Meter has represented excellence in longevity, reliability and accuracy. It is the reason FMC Technologies’ Smith Meter is and will continue to be the industry standard and most trusted name in measurement.

PD Meter's
PD Meter's

In 1926, the Erie Meter Company was founded and started manufacturing service station and hand pumps. Reuben Stanley Smith continued to advance his knowledge in the meter industry after selling a piston-type-designed gasoline meter to Badger Meter Company. During this time, all volumetric meters were essentially piston meters: loud, slow, less durable and somewhat inaccurate. Liquid passing through the piston meters came to a stop when filling and emptying a cylinder, causing it to accelerate again and in the end resulting in pressure loss. Reuben believed the liquid passing through should not have to change velocity, which resulted in his idea to design a rotary meter.

In the summer of 1933, the Smith Meter Company was founded in Los Angeles, California. The first tested rotary meter was a 2-inch meter that needed some improvements. Following that came a 3-inch truck meter, which became the first commercial sale for this young company. The truck meter was sold to the Seaside Oil Company in Santa Barbara, California, and was the first rotary meter ever to be used successfully in a commercial environment. From there, improvements on accuracy and performance in the meter continued, forever changing the standards for meters in the oil industry to this day.

In 1934, the Smith Meter Company started limited production on 100 meters. With around 60 employees, new meter designs were developed, including high-pressure double-case meters. During WWII, the Smith Meter Company designed and built over 40,000 truck meters for U.S. Air Force Refuelers. At the same time Erie Meter Company was dedicated to manufacturing cartridge cases for the war. In 1958, A. O. Smith Meter Systems Division purchased the Erie Meter plant on 16th Street and Wagner Avenue in Erie, Pennsylvania.

By 1965 the double-case, rotary vane and positive displacement meters had been introduced and were being manufactured out of the Erie plant. A line of stainless steel meters was developed for the industrial market. Now with over 400,000 units working in custody transfer applications, the Smith Meter® PD Meter has become universally accepted. And after 75 years of design and raising the bar in design and performance improvement, the PD Meter exceeds safety, weights and measures performance, electrical and mechanical safety design codes throughout the world.

R.S. Smith 

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