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SHELBY -- Nick Clay doesn't remember when the fire protection equipment manufacturer, Autocall, operated out of the building at 41 East Tucker Ave. in Shelby.

Instead the 27-year-old Shelby resident learned about the company's products and history when working in the fire protection industry, often repairing Autocall systems at area businesses. 

This intrigued him to learn more about Autocall's former location, situated only a short distance from his house. So when looking to start his own fire protection business, he decided it would be the ideal location. 

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Nick Clay.

He set out to "bring Autocall back to Shelby." 

The history of Autocall

Autocall was founded in 1908 by W.W. Van Horn and J.C. Fish, both of the Shelby Electric Company. They designed a fire alarm system with an automatic calling feature, and named their company a shortened version of this. 

According to information provided by Clay, Autocall was purchased by Wormald International, which then sold it to Thorn Security. The new ownership closed the Shelby plant.

Later, Thorn Security sold Autocall to Grinnell Fire Protection, and the Autocall brand disappeared in the early 2000's, when merging with Tyco International.  

Yet another merger in 2016 -- this one between Johnson Controls and Tyco International -- led to Autocall's return. The brand was relaunched in 2017. 

Bringing Autocall back to Shelby

Clay started his fire protection and home security business, called Echelon Systems, in late 2018.

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"Once I got started, it just kind of occurred to me, how cool would it be if I could get in touch with the makers of Autocall and see if they'd be interested in being represented in Shelby, where the Autocall brand started," Clay said. 

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The former Autocall building in Shelby will be the new home for Echelon Systems, which will use Autocall products.

As he began making phone calls to Johnson Controls, he also dug into Autocall's history in Shelby. He learned that a portion of its former building is now used by Diversified Assemblies, a business offering liquid painting, ceramic coating and assembly services. The front office, however, was not in use. 

"What I found was everybody just got excited about putting that brand name back in the original building," Clay said.

Clay has since began remodeling the front office at 41 East Tucker Ave. in Shelby. He hopes to finish and celebrate the opening of Echelon Systems' new space in early autumn. 

To contact Echelon Systems, call 419-528-8749 or nick@echelonsystemsohio.com.

Staff Reporter

Proud Pennsylvania native. Joined the staff in April 2017. Formerly Tracy Geibel.