Skarshaug Testing Laboratory began after World War II when the Skarshaug boys returned to Ames, Iowa. E.G. “Ozzie” Skarshaug had a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State College and had worked in management of two of Iowa’s Rural Electric Cooperatives prior to the war. His brother, Herold, worked with an instrument repair shop at Iowa State College. After returning, Ozzie and Harold decided to start their own business and opened an Engineering Consultant and Meter Repair Shop in 1946.
Ozzie and Herold’s youngest brother, Paul, was finishing college at Iowa State and went to work part-time for the brothers. It was Paul’s job to travel around Iowa and the surrounding states to encourage power companies and electric cooperatives to send their watt-hour meters to Ames to be reconditioned in Herold’s lab. The customers kept asking Paul where they could get their safety gloves tested. Paul then decided he would start his own testing laboratory after graduation. In 1950, Paul Skarshaug bought some equipment and set up a lab in the basement of Ozzie’s home. Over time, Paul was able to sell power companies, REA’s and contractors on the idea that most of the tests previously run on insulating rubber gloves were not entirely safe and a periodic retest was necessary.
After five years of steady but slow growth, Paul purchased an acre of land on West Lincoln Way in Ames, Iowa. The 2000 square foot facility was completed in early 1957 to house the “Skarshaug Testing Laboratory.” Herold’s “Skarshaug Meter Laboratory” moved into the facility in August of 1957, and in July of 1966, the “Skarshaug Engineering and Test Laboratory” owned by Ozzie moved in as well.
Skarshaug Testing Laboratory operated from 1956 through 2004 at 4803 W. Lincoln Way in Ames, Iowa. The new facility was completed in February of 2005 at 505 South Bell on the east-side of Ames, Iowa. The current facility more than doubled the square footage of the older facility with 23,000 square feet under roof on the 2-acre plot of land.
In 1979, Paul conceived the idea of an organization that would act as an accrediting board for independent testing labs across the country. In 1980, the National Association for Independent Laboratories (NAIL) for Rubber Goods Testing* was started with Paul Skarshaug as the founder and first president. Skarshaug Testing Laboratory became the first NAIL accredited laboratory in 1982. NAIL was incorporated two years later. (* Today the formal name for NAIL is the Association of North American Independent Laboratories for Protective Equipment Testing).