Company History 

Emerson was founded in 1890 in St. Louis, Missouri, as a manufacturer of electric motors and fans. Over the past 100-plus years, Emerson has grown from a regional manufacturer into a global technology solutions powerhouse.
 
1890
Two Scotland-born brothers, Charles and Alexander Meston, see a tremendous business opportunity in developing a reliable electric motor.  With the financial backing of John Wesley Emerson, a former Union army officer, judge and lawyer, they establish The Emerson Electric Manufacturing Company in St. Louis, Missouri. 

1892
The fledgling company builds its business around AC motors and manufactures the first electric fans to be sold in North America.  Under new president Herbert L. Parker, Emerson develops a reputation for quality products. Net sales total nearly $60,000.

1897
The Emerson ceiling fan is introduced, making high-rise buildings livable. Ceiling fans soon become half the company’s business.

1899
Emerson introduces the Parker scalloped blade design, moving air more quietly and efficiently.

1903
A design breakthrough upgrades Emerson Motors to a more useful ½ horsepower, which are then used to power countless time and effort-saving devices, such as washing machines and sewing machines.

1904
At the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Emerson displays its product line in the dazzling Palace of Electricity as the nationwide demand for electricity continues to soar.

1919
By the end of World War I, Emerson’s annual sales approach $3 million dollars.

1920
Under the leadership of Thomas Meston, the company expands into a new, eight-story factory building in St. Louis.

1922
Herbert I. Finch becomes president during the ‘Roaring Twenties’ of general prosperity.  But by the end of his tenure, the company loses almost two-thirds of sales as the effects of the Great Depression deepen. 

1933 
Joseph Newman, 35, is named president and sets out to stabilize the company’s balance sheet. He moves the company to mass production of motors and adds a variety of fan lines to appeal to a broad range of consumers.

1938
With fan sales stagnating, Stuart Symington takes over as president and wins a contract to build arc welders, thereby opening the door to sales at Sears.

1939
Emerson begins construction of a new plant in St. Louis to build hermetic motors, but World War II intervenes and the plant is shifted to the production of shell casings.

1940
Emerson’s metal working capabilities are called on by the U.S. Army Ordinance Department. During the next five years, the company produces more than 10 million brass shell casings.

Much of Emerson’s dramatic growth in World War II results from government contracts to build airplane gun turrets, including the “Model 127” mounted in the nose of the B-24 bomber.

1945
With the end of the war, Symington is asked by President Truman to head the War Surplus Property Board. He accepts and resigns from Emerson.

Oscar Schmitt is elected president and leads Emerson back to commercial production.  Despite the introduction of the bench saw and more defense business, sales lag and Emerson faces another critical transition point.

1953
Upon the sudden death of Oscar Schmitt, William Snead assumes the presidency of Emerson until new, long-term management can be secured.

1954
W.R. “Buck” Persons is recruited as president.  Led by Person’s focus on research and development and creating foreign markets, Emerson is reborn.  He retools and decentralizes Emerson’s manufacturing base and begins a continuing process of diversification.

Over the next 15 years, Persons targets high-growth markets and diversifies the company’s business portfolio, acquiring 36 companies during his tenure, including White-Rodgers, Therm-O-Disc, U.S. Electrical Motors, Ridge Tool, and InSinkErator.

Persons institutes a strong corporate focus on cost reductions, quality improvements and formal planning.

Under Person’s leadership, the company grows from 2 plants, 4,000 employees and $56 million in 1954 to become an emerging global company with 82 plants, 31,000 employees and $800 million in sales in 1973.

1973
Charles F. (Chuck) Knight succeeds Persons as CEO and builds on the solid foundation laid by his predecessor.  Knight defines a new corporate strategy focused on new product and technology development, acquisitions and joint ventures, and international growth.
 
Over the next 20 years, Emerson continues to expand through cornerstone acquisitions such as Rosemount (process control instruments) in 1976, Copeland (compressors for air conditioning and refrigeration systems) in 1986, Liebert (uninterruptible power and precision cooling systems) in 1987, and Fisher Controls (process control valves and regulators) in 1992.

1984
Under Knight’s leadership, Emerson develops its best-cost producer strategy to meet the challenge of low-cost offshore competition.  In the 1980s, Emerson moves into the international arena, investing abroad to meet customers’ needs in expanding markets.

1989
The Emerson Motor Technology Center is established to support engineering and innovation in advanced motor design.  It was the first of several advanced technology centers the company opens to support new product development.

1990s
Knight oversees a series of acquisitions totaling $2.5 billion to strengthen the company’s position in providing reliable backup power for the rapidly expanding telecommunications industry and build-out of infrastructure to support Internet Protocol-based communications.

When Charles F. Knight retires as CEO in 2000, Emerson sales during his tenure had rose more than 16-fold, to over $15 billion in 2000.  The company had also achieved an unprecedented record of 43 consecutive years of earnings growth and 44 years of consistent dividend growth. 

2000
David Farr elected CEO in 2000, succeeding Knight who retains chairman title.

The company shortens its name to “Emerson” and launches a new brand strategy with a new corporate logo to reflect technology leadership and commitment to cross-divisional collaboration.  The company posts annual sales of $15.5 billion.

2001
Emerson makes two key moves in the fast-growing Asian markets, purchasing Avansys, China’s leading network power provider, and forming Emerson Network Power India Private Ltd.

2002
Emerson launches its first corporate advertising campaign with tagline “Emerson. Consider It Solved.”

2004
Farr named chairman of Emerson’s board of directors, upon the retirement of Chuck Knight.

Emerson acquires Marconi’s outside plant and power systems business.

Emerson named one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens by Business Ethics magazine.

The company posts sales of $15.6 billion.

2005
Emerson sales reach $17.1 billion, an 11 percent increase over the prior year.

2006
Emerson airs its first-ever TV commercials to spotlight the company’s global capabilities.

The company acquires Germany-based Knürr AG and Florida-based Artesyn Technologies further strengthening the capabilities of its network power business.

Company sales reach $20.1 billion, and dividends increased for the 50th consecutive year.

2007
Emerson strengthens its network power and its storage solutions businesses with the acquisition of, respectively, Motorola’s embedded communications computing business and Lionville Systems, a leading manufacturer of point-of-care carts for healthcare facilities.

Sales surpass $22 billion for the year, a new record.  Emerson’s international sales total 52 percent, surpassing U.S. sales for the first time in the company’s history. 
Emerson is where technology and engineering come together to create solutions for the benefit of our customers, driven without compromise for a world in action.
Emerson Brand Promise