Gustav "Gus" Meister was born in Boecklund, German in 1910. In 1929, at the age of 19, he finished his apprenticeship as a machinist in Kiel, Germany and came to America, with only $20 in his pocket. Arriving in New York City on January 26, he first worked as a dishwasher, then spent some time working for the Waltham Watch Company in Massachusetts. In 1932 he moved to Los Angeles, California permanently, finding work as a toolmaker and machinist, and marrying Edith Annemarie Fuhrmann. Together thay had two daughters, Karin (1943) and Ann (1946). In 1936 they move to a house in Altadena.
Gus established the Meister Engineering Corporation in Pasadena, specializing in prototype and short-run machining jobs for various industries, including aerospace and photo equipment. He was a life member of theSociety of Manufacturing Engineers.
Gus's daughters liked to collect minerals while on camping trips, and he became interested as well. In 1954 Gus attended his first meeting of the Mineralogical Society of Southern California, and minerals became his lifelong hobby thereafter. To educate himself he took classes in geology and mineralogy as Pasadena City College and made the acquaintance of the most prominent collectors in his area.
Gus was especially fond of collecting thumbnails, and helped to establish rules for competition. He also became involved in micromounting. He served regularly in various official capacities, including as President of the California Federation of Mineralogical Societies, and chairman of their annual show (the Gus Meister Trophy was established in his honor). He invented a faceting machine called the Alta Faceter (later renamed the Facet-Meister) and also a precision rock trimmer called the "Meister trimmer" in the 1960s.
Edith Meister died in 1985; Gus Meister died quietly in his home on May 30, 2008, at the age of 98.
LEICHT, D. (2008) Gus Meister 1910-2008. Bulletin of the Mineralogical Society of Southern California, 79 (7), 7-9.
California Birth Index, 1905-1995.
New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957.
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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Biographical Archive, at www.mineralogicalrecord.com.]
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Tucson Show, 1986)