Today, GRS is the result of dozens of dedicated people. Historically, there are three individuals who built its foundation with their talent and hard work. They are Don Glaser, John Rohner, and years later, D.J. Glaser.
GRS began with the love of the art of engraving. In the mid 1960s, John Rohner (the R of GRS) was already an accomplished hammer and chisel firearms engraver. At family get-togethers in Iowa, his brother-in-law, Don Glaser (the G of GRS), was fascinated with John’s engraving and wanted to learn it himself. John convinced Don there was a need for an effective power tool to help people engrave. The idea of advancing engraving techniques while respecting the art's tradition appealed to both John and Don; their partnership naturally developed.
John, with his engraver's perspective on tools, guided their product development. In his Kansas workshop, Don used his engineering experience with pneumatics to design what became the Gravermeister. Soon, the GRS product line included the Magnablock and the Power Hone. Since John was known and respected by engravers, he introduced GRS tools to the trade and trained people to use them. Rohner widened the marketing of these tools to jewelers and other artisans, and Glaser concentrated on designing a growing product line. In the beginning, Don Glaser made many GRS tools in his home machine shop in Emporia, Kansas, while John Rohner marketed them from his home in Boulder, Colorado. A few years later, the growing GRS line was moved to a contract manufacturing firm in Wichita, Kansas. That firm built and shipped finished products to Rohner in Boulder.
After several successful years, the Wichita manufacturing company was sold and GRS had to find a new source. In 1977, Don’s son D.J. left an engineering job in Cincinnati, Ohio, to join his father. Together, they started Glendo Corporation. Today, GRS tools and other products are designed, manufactured, and marketed by Glendo in Emporia, Kansas, and are used by customers around the world.
This photo was taken in early 2005, just a few weeks before Don passed away. It shows John Rohner (left) and Don Glaser (right) in the newly completed GRS Training Center. The 3,700 square ft. facility has two classrooms, twenty-four student benches, two instructor stations and a central commons area. Today, the GRS Training Center provides engravers and other artists with advanced tools and the proper training to use them creatively. The legacy that began in John Rohner’s Iowa studio and Don Glaser’s Kansas workshop continues today with the GRS Training Center in Emporia, Kansas.
Here are Don and D.J. Glaser in 2004 in the manufacturing business they started together 27 years before. Today, Glendo Corporation has over twenty CNC machines and 34,000 square ft. of modern manufacturing space. Glendo not only produces the line of GRS tools, but a wide variety of custom manufactured parts and products for markets around the world.
Read more about Glendo Corporation →
As part of the Glendo Corporation based in Emporia, Kansas, GRS has created the well-known engraving systems such as the original GraverMeister and the new GraverMax and GraverMach, along with the Airtact touch control unit. GRS also produced the System 3 and the Power Hone sharpening system for engravers. Jewelers around the world use the innovative GRS BenchMate system holding fixtures for a variety of jewelry work.
Not only does GRS provide engraving and jewelry tools to these creative fields, GRS also provides training at the highly successful GRS Training Center in Emporia, Kansas, and at several international locations.
These courses offer world-wide training for jewelers and engravers alike. Intensive 5-day courses provide a learning environment for skills ranging from basic to advanced, enabling the individual to remove years from the learning curve. Whereas these fields were once secretive trades with little published knowledge, now hand artists share information readily in an effort to keep this wonderful trade alive and strong.
The GRS Training Center provides courses for a variety of hand work, such as scrimshaw, metal engraving, stone setting, wood carving, and several other areas. Professional artists from the United States and countries abroad come to the Emporia training facility to pass on years of experience and knowledge to the students.
Read more about the GRS Training Center on the GRSTC website →
This annual engraving program brings the finest artists in the field together for a twelve-day event featuring exciting discussions, informative demonstrations, and powerful insight into this once secretive trade.
GRS developed The Grand Masters Program to provide an annual event that would spark creative minds, aid in advancing the industry, and allow a fun, interactive atmosphere for engravers. 2011 marked the Seventh Annual Grand Masters Program.
What’s the Alley for and who works there? This special work area provides developing engravers and other artists access to the latest tools for engraving, jewelry making, carving and similar skills. These tools include the latest GRS power and hand tools, plus experimental versions and entirely new tool concepts as well.
Read more about this special part of R&D at GRS in the news article Artisan Alley Expands →