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An interview with Peter Schönning, president, Polyhistor International

Polyhistor international is a Jacksonville company that helps people and companies take an idea and turn it into a product. We caught up with UNF SBDC client Peter Schönning and asked him to tell us more about his unique company.

How did you come up with the name Polyhistor for a company name?

Polyhistor (ˌˈhis-tər) = A person with broad knowledge, from Greek poluistōr, very learned

(The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition). I was looking for something different, but still a name that had meaning. I figured – what a great name for a consulting company that has experience in a wide range of market segments!

What do you believe are the three most important services you offer.

Bringing rough ideas to finished products

We do the entire product development chain from paper napkin sketch to Industrial Design to 3D CAD to Prototype to Manufacturing. We can do any or all steps. Our designs are always made with the manufacturing process in mind.

Manufacturing and Prototyping

We do contract manufacturing which includes assembly, castings, injection molding, sheet metal, and CNC machining. We deliver turn-key products to our customer.


Designing and reengineering of machinery parts and equipment. We also do some engineering analysis.

I am very proud of that we have worked successfully in so many product fields, like fiber optic and LED lighting, defense contracting, medical, consumer products, and the automotive industry. Additionally, we have helped many inventors with their dream products.

Polyhistor is an 11 year old business here in Jacksonville. What do you believe are the factors that have contributed to your success?

We believe our success comes from a sense of persistency, a smile on our face, and a “can do attitude”. We are driven to maintain our great reputation, and we want our customers to feel good about our workmanship. Inventor, Margaret Bynoe says: “The drawings look Greeeat!! Makes me want to run out and buy one, tell me where to pick it up…” and Brian Clark, an inventor who used someone else before coming to us wrote: “The prototype looks so much better, the gray metallic looks really, really good ”. We stand by our work, this is important in the long term.

What would you say to someone who believes that no one is inventing or making things in this country anymore?

That is not really true. There is still a steady stream of inventors (lots of paper napkin sketches) that are coming up with great creative ideas to solve problems. In fact there seems to be an increasing number of inventors that want to develop their products now when the economy is slow. With respect to manufacturing, it is possible to be very competitive here in the US, especially with shorter lead times and getting to market faster. There is nothing like eye to eye contact and a hand shake with your customer. This is still the land of opportunities and entrepreneurship.

Polyhistor International, Inc.

Peter Schönning, President

11200 St. Johns Industrial Pkwy N.

Suite 7

Jacksonville, FL 32246

904.646.5666 phone

413.332.0315 fax

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