Mechanical Technology, Incorporated

The 1960’s

MTI Incorporates and Launches Turbomachinery Business

In 1961, two engineers, Harry Apkarian and Beno Sternlicht, left General Electric to go out on their own. They scraped together $380,000 and in October of that year, Mechanical Technology Inc. opened its doors.  The partners had two primary objectives, which together became known as the MTI Concept. The first was to provide technological advances to support American industry and defense agencies. The second was to develop marketable proprietary products from these technologies.

Invented helium blower with gas-lubricated bearings
  • MTI’s first proposal, submitted to the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratories in 1962, outlined plans for the development of a helium blower with hydrodynamic, gas-lubricated bearings.
  • By 1966 MTI had developed and produced more gas-lubricated turbomachinery than all other US industrial corporations combined and was winning 80% of the contracts on which it bid.
  • The Hydresil Fluid-Film Foil Bearing, introduced in the late 60s, represented a significant improvement over rigid-film bearings because of its tolerance of temperature extremes and suitability for gas, liquid or mixed-phase applications.
Introduction of vibration and displacement measurement instruments
  • In 1964, the Instruments division was spun off and introduced the Fotonic Sensor, a noncontact fiber-optic instrument used for measuring vibration or displacement to millionths of an inch.