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Titan Tool Supply, Inc. is Listed on IndustryNet

Ted Kahn - Dec. 20, 1929 – March 4, 2018

Ted Kahn, Founder of Titan Tool Supply

When Ted Kahn landed two new customers for his uncle’s optics supply company in the early 1950s, his uncle proposed reducing his commission.

Mr. Kahn’s father, who also worked for the company, had a better idea.

“His father said, ‘We’ve got these new customers, let’s start a business,’” said his daughter, Peggy Sullivan.

They founded Titan Tool Supply Co. in 1952. Mr. Kahn gradually built the company into a multimillion dollar worldwide operation.

He died Sunday in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Amherst after a short illness. He was 88.

Theodore Maxwell Kahn was born to Jewish parents in Stuttgart, Germany. They were forced to emigrate abruptly in 1937 after his father was taken into custody by the Nazis. His wife appealed to authorities, telling them that he was a decorated hero of World War I, and he was released on the condition that he leave the country immediately.

They fled to Switzerland, then arranged to join relatives in the Buffalo area. They arrived penniless after a friend entrusted with their money in Switzerland failed to send it to them.

Mr. Kahn attended Buffalo School 56 and quickly learned English. He began at Lafayette High School, then transferred to Buffalo Technical High School. He was drafted into the Army at the end of World War II and served for a year as an engineer on the Alcan Highway.

Returning from service, he was an apprentice in a tool and die machine shop in downtown Buffalo.

His daughter recalled, “He used to say, ‘I was the low guy there, so they sent me out for beer and soup.’”

Called back into the Army during the Korean War, he heard of an opening at Fort Niagara for a position that nobody wanted – handling the finances for soldiers who were being discharged. He took a business course, got the job and soon was dispersing large amounts of cash.

Following his discharge, Mr. Kahn joined his uncle’s business and was sent to a school in Germany to study optics. In his own business, he used his expertise to develop his own line of optical instruments.

“He would buy parts from various places overseas, then assemble them here so nobody could replicate them,” said his daughter, who is in the photograph with Mr. Kahn.

He traveled extensively for his business. In the 1960s, he was called to consult with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for optical equipment in rockets.

Mr. Kahn retired about 15 years ago. The company is now run by his son-in-law, Frank Menza.

In retirement, he continued to travel, frequently taking lengthy cruises to different parts of the world. His last trip was in January to Aruba.

“There were very few places he didn’t go and see,” his daughter said. “His favorites were African safaris.”

An Amherst resident, he was an avid fisherman and took many fishing trips to the wilderness in northern Canada.

He enjoyed playing duplicate bridge and last year became a Bronze Life Master, with more than 750 master points. He also collected Audi cars, priceless watches and unusual walking canes.

He married Suzanne Gross, the sister of one of his school fraternity brothers, in 1955. She died in 1997.

Survivors include another daughter, Terry Menza; a close friend, Eva Posner; and three grandchildren.


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An Industry Standard Since 1952

Best quality since 1952

Titan Tool Supply, Inc. is a leading supplier of optical instruments, measuring instruments, inspection equipment and remote visual inspection.

Titan Tool Supply, Inc. has been serving since 1952 the Research & Development Departments and Quality Control Departments for Aerospace and Defense Manufacturers, Automotive Manufactures, Electronic Manufacturing, Medical Manufacturing, Printing Industry, Universities and the Tool and Die and Mold Manufacturing Industry.

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