HunterLab’s overall objective is to provide the most effective instruments and services available for the identification, measurement and control of the way things look. With over 55 years of experience, we are able to apply state-of-the-art technology to our systems to ensure their suitability for “real world applications.” These systems are application driven and are geared to making the user’s product measurement job simple, straightforward and successful. HunterLab instruments are used in a wide variety of industries including building material, chemical, food, paint, paper, pharmaceutical, plastic, textile and many others.
HunterLab is an employee-owned, ISO 9001:2008 registered, U.S. company. Each of us has a stake in the company’s future. As a result, our corporate philosophy is focused on total customer satisfaction. We are a global company that provides worldwide support through local representation in more than 65 countries. In fact, more than 50% of our business is from international markets.
In October 1952, with a dream, great courage and a wife willing to dust off her high school shorthand, typing and junior high school bookkeeping, Richard S. Hunter set up shop in the three upstairs bedrooms of his childhood home in McLean, Virginia, which was a rural area at that time. A hand-painted sign portraying an abbreviated color spectrum with “HunterLab” superimposed in black announced its presence.
About Richard Hunter
Prior to 1952, Richard Hunter had a long and varied apprenticeship in the field of color and appearance. He left his position as Chief Optical Engineer with the Henry A. Gardner Laboratory of Bethesda, Maryland, to fulfill his dream of offering consulting services to solve a wide variety of appearance measurement problems and designing prototype instruments (to be manufactured by others) for special applications.
The First Instruments
Consulting was not what Richard had thought it would be, but things turned around in 1956 when Proctor and Gamble put HunterLab into the manufacturing business. P&G, which already had Hunter-Gardner Colorimeters, asked if Richard would build an updated version that would better meet their needs. When P&G increased the order from one to twenty-six instruments, HunterLab was on its way Thirty-five years later, P&G gave HunterLab its D25 Color Difference Meter #25. It was rusted and stained but it still was operational. Since then the instrument has been restored by the Smithsonian Institution and is in our exhibit of historical instruments in the lobby of our current location.
HunterLab Now and in the Future
The company continued to grow and in the early 1960s added a manufacturing location in nearby Arlington, Virginia, but working in separate locations was difficult. So in 1965, the company moved both locations to Fairfax, Virginia. Finally, in June 1978, HunterLab broke ground on its own building in Reston, Virginia. Originally, HunterLab I was built, and in 1985 HunterLab II was built next door and this is the current corporate headquarters.
Passing Down the Tradition at HunterLab
Phil Hunter, Richard’s son, joined the company in 1973 in the Service Department. In 1981 he became President and CEO and officially took over the day-to-day operation of the company. In 1990, he became Chairman of the Board of Directors. Under his direction, Hunterlab developed one of the first vision-based color measuring systems, for the first time giving customers the ability to easily and accurately measure samples of almost any size containing many different colors.