GROCO (Gross Mechanical Laboratories, Inc.) was born in the basement of a Baltimore row house in (approximately) 1918, with a pair of workers trained personally by founder Angus Roy Gross, Sr. This was a time when the entrepreneurial spirit flourished in America and when the industrial boom stood on the shoulders of an expanding steel industry and quickly growing automotive and marine industries.
Angus was blessed with creative talent and an adventurous tinkering spirit, and as the story goes, no product was ever safe from his keen eye for innovation, product improvement or redesign - a quality that ultimately yielded an impressive list of patents, the most recognizable of which were a carbonating Faucet (every bar and soda fountain has one), a Blow Torch, an Automobile Tail Light (your car was insured against collision damage if you had one of these), an Ice Shaver (evolved into the Snowball Machine), and a Combination Lever (commonly known as the combination steering and throttle for outboard motors). There is even a patent on a design for a Sedan Cruising Yacht. Each new idea presented a decision to be made, and a fork-in-the-road: Do we produce tail lights? Do we manufacture Ice Shavers? The right choice is usually not obvious or clear.
Most founders of marine industry companies were here because of a love of the water and a passion for boating, and Angus was no exception. An avid boater, he raced early versions of hydroplanes in the 1920's and briefly held the speed record for one class of boats in 1926 while piloting the Lady Baltimore off the coast of Palm Beach, Florida. In 1929 Angus founded the Corinthian Yacht Club in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay.
Angus became friends with legendary yacht builder John Trumpy (Trumpy Yachts, Annapolis, Maryland). In the years that followed, the Gross family owned several Trumpy yachts, and it was during those years that son Bill (Angus, Jr.) developed his love of boats. More importantly, the "fork-in-the-road" question was answered - GROCO had found its home in the marine industry.