Xavier Kaufmann retired in 2016, but the company he founded and the Astral name live on. Precision Gage Company, also a long time gaging distributor, has acquired Astral Precision Equipment and continues to manufacture Astral Granite products. Together, we now provide a full line of metrology equipment for the best in inspection and quality control.Explore All of Our Products at PrecisionGage.com
Early in the decade, Swiss toolmaker Xavier Kaufmann got his start as a journeyman with a manufacturer in Chicago. Returning from frequent trips to visit family in Switzerland, he would bring back micrometers, Vernier Calipers, and dial test indicators from Tesa, Etalon, and Interapid, and he would sell them to his co-workers. As word spread and he received more requests for the Swiss gages, he started working at night, selling them from his trunk.
In 1957, business was so good that he established Astral Tool Company in a storefront in Skokie, Illinois. Business quickly took off so he moved his operation to a larger facility in nearby Elk Grove Village, renaming it Astral Precision Equipment Company. By this time, he was a leading American authority on Swiss-made precision instruments and tooling.
Xavier was contacted by Fred Fowler, Sr., who encouraged Xavier to look at some Japanese gages that he was thinking about selling. Xavier purchased some of them, soon traveling the country to set up dealers for this new line of gages from Mitutoyo in partnership with Fowler. Astral Precision became the first distributor in Chicago to sell the full line of Mitutoyo precision instruments.
Also during the 1960s, Xavier also met a man named Ray Standridge and was introduced to granite surface plates. Ray taught Xavier how to resurface and certify granite plates, which Xavier added to his list of services. Within a few years, companies throughout the Midwest came to trust Astral with their granite resurfacing and certification needs.
With a keen familiarity with the various grades of granite surfaces and their degrees of durability, Xavier began selling top-quality granite surface plates that had quartz in the surface. This surface was more durable than anything else on the market, allowing for a longer interval between calibrations. These plates became known as “Astral Pink” and quickly became the standard for excellence in the industry.
Xavier was asked if he could get a specific type of manual lathe, leading him to source the product through Mori-Seiki lathes. This focus on customer service also let Xavier to identify and begin selling manual milling machines from Webb.
As CNC machines came to market, Xavier started selling Matsuura products as well as other brands of CNC machinery. Surface grinders and other types of machine tools soon followed. Coordinate measuring machines were the hot item in the mid-80s, so Astral Precision started selling Mitutoyo CMMs and soon became one of America’s largest Mitutoyo distributors.
Astral Precision Equipment is acquired by Precision Gage Company.
Now that Astral Granite is a division of Precision Gage Company, our full line of services includes the design and manufacturing of custom gages created to serve your specific needs and specifications, as well as the ability to certify all types of gages within our inspection lab.
We continue to provide the resurfacing, calibration, and certification of all Astral Granite products, as well as creating T-slots and custom-drilling holes in existing products for inserts and columns.