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Our History

Phil Belson

Etchomatic was founded in 1957, making us the oldest continuous operating printed circuit distributor in the United States. As we prepare to celebrate our 50th year of operation, we pay tribute to our founder Philip S. Belson. He conceived the idea to bring together the materials necessary for the manufacture of printed circuits, so as to be available from one source.  Previously, the products for printed circuit board manufacture were available only from other industries and divergent manufacturers and distributors.

Etchomatic was opened shortly after Phil Belson completed military service in the Korean War. He had been recalled to active duty by way of the reserves, in which he stayed after serving in World War 2 (USAF-Europe). A lawyer by trade, upon returning from the military, he saw his law practice in shambles. With a growing family, he entered the industry through a military contact, after a brief stint involved in the metal nameplates industry. The company opened in a warehouse on Huntington Ave, Boston on what is now the campus of Northeastern University.

1962In 1962 the company moved to Waltham, Massachusetts, a city in which the company was to have a long association. Our first location on Newton Street (picture right), was where the company grew until 1967.

In 1967, the company relocated operations to a area which was to serve as its home for over thirty years.

1967In the late 1960's the company developed a service bureau to create artwork for customers who lacked their own facilities. Evolving to the then new technology of laser photo-plotting. The Precision-Reprographics division was born. In 1978 the facilities were upgraded and additional warehouse space was added. The Precision Repro-graphics Division moved to what was then an off-site warehouse.

Early EtchomaticIn 1981, more property was acquired and in 1983 a new ten thousand square foot building was added to the company complex. This building housed an expanded Precision Repro-Graphics facility and a new sales office to handle increased volume and growth.

This growth continued throughout the 1980's and into early 1990. In the early 1990's change came to the industry. An economic slowdown and a national recession caused cutbacks and consolidation in every industry.

The nature of printed circuit board manufacturing was also changing. The shift to more complex multi-layer panels was occurring, the cost of front-end design systems was declining and the move was to decreased board size.

This created many challenges and required a change in product lines to meet the new requirements. New services were provided to value-add materials for multi-layer lamination. The company's first patent was awarded for a "tool" that assisted in the correct alignment of photo package to panel. Named the 20/20 after the company's telephone number of many years (781) 893-2020.

Other changes occurred at this time, the photographic division Precision Repro-graphics was sold to one of the customers and the additional sales offices were leased to a joint venture with a European manufacture of cutting edge no-clean wave solder technology.

The company continued to prosper throughout the mid 1990's. In 1997 the company's celebrated its 40th year. Many of our key customer's and suppliers will remember the Golf outing, celebrations and parties that occurred that year.

In 1997 a management change also occurred, today Etchomatic is directed by a strong executive team, comprised of Peter Loven and Craig Belson. Who along with other seasoned and experienced members of the team provide the formula for success.

One of the early priorities of the new team was to consider expansion to meet the needs and goals of the company. Many new opportunities existed it was important that they blended well with the existing structure.

In 1999, Etchomatic entered into a joint venture and formed a company called Innovative Print Technologies. The company was formed to meet the demand for competent distribution to serve the textile screen print marketplace. In six years of operation, Innovative Print grew to become one of the largest textile screen-print supply houses in the United States. The successes included the 2001 purchased of it’s major competition, Clinton Machine and Supply Company, which provided a warehouse and shipping point in Charlotte, NC. in addition to Miami, Florida.  In 2005, the company was sold allowing Etchomatic to focus on its core business and new ventures.

Etchomatic TodayIn early 2000 in order to achieve another of the priorities set out by the management team Etchomatic moved its general offices and distribution facility to Lowell, Massachusetts, into a new and expanded 15,000sq. /ft facility.

In December of 2003 Etchomatic purchased the spare parts business from the DuPont Riston Printed Circuit Materials Division. The business supplies parts to equipment used to apply dry-film photo resist to printed circuit boards. The equipment such as the DuPont HRL-24 and the Cut Sheet Laminator ASL-24 as well as many versions of the PC-30 / PC-130 printer are used the world over in the manufacture of printed circuit boards. The world famous HRL-24 is now manufactured under the name Etcho HRL-24.

In the year 2004, Etchomatic continued to be position itself to supply quality products and services for companies. A new company EtchoScreen, was formed to specifically service the screen-printing marketplace. It has been build with support from existing products and long-term vendor relationships.

As we enter our 50th year, we are open to suggestions as to how to celebrate. We welcome opportunities from companies who would benefit from our years of experience and expertise. We are constantly looking at opportunities that would provide for a mutually beneficial business relationships.

Finally, we want thank our customers and vendors who have supported us over the years and we look forward to many more years of servicing our customers.


Etchomatic Celebrates 60 Years!