Our History

Foundation for The Connected Enterprise

Our history began with an initial investment of $1000 and a prototype controller. Today, Rockwell Automation has become the largest company in the world that is dedicated to industrial automation and information.

1900 — 1929

  • 1901 – Lynde Bradley invents the compression rheostat to control the speed of electric motors
  • 1903 – Dr. Stanton Allen and Lynde Bradley form the Compression Rheostat Company
  • 1909 – The company is re-incorporated as the Allen-Bradley® Company
  • 1917 – WWI government contracts fuel growth and plant expansion
  • 1923 – Octagon logo debuts as the Allen-Bradley brand trademark
  • 1924 – As radio skyrockets, manufacturers order millions of Allen-Bradley rheostats
Dr. Stanton Allen, Lynde Bradley, and Harry Bradley

Dr. Stanton Allen, Lynde Bradley, and Harry Bradley

Checking Hot-molded Fixed Resistors

Checking Hot-molded Fixed Resistors

1930 — 1949

  • 1934 – The first solenoid starter with a single moving part creates a sensation
  • 1935 – Allen-Bradley engineers invent hot-molded fixed resistors, revolutionizing electronics
  • 1941 – Components go to war in walkie-talkies, RADAR, fighter planes, and defense plants
  • 1942 – Lynde Bradley dies and younger brother Harry assumes leadership

1950 — 1969

  • 1951 – Allen-Bradley resistors help power UNIVAC, one of the first computers in the world
  • 1954 – Allen-Bradley ferrite magnets are in all color televisions and computer memory cores
  • 1962 – The largest (at the time) four-sided clock in the world is lit for the first time
  • 1965 – Company launches the Sonic Sifter product, used by NASA to sift moon dust
  • 1969 – Allen-Bradley components go to the moon and back with the NASA Apollo 11 mission
Clock Tower Construction

Clock Tower Construction

NASA Chooses Allen-Bradley Components

NASA Chooses Allen-Bradley Components

1970 — 1989

  • 1970 – Allen-Bradley pioneers the programmable logic controller (PLC)
  • 1979 – Introduce Data Highway, the first plant-floor network that replaces miles of wiring
  • 1981 – NASA chooses Allen-Bradley components for its American Space Shuttle fleet
  • 1985 – Rockwell International® purchases the Allen-Bradley Company for $1.651 billion
  • 1988 – Pyramid Integrator links the plant floor and information world for the first time

1990 — Present

  • 1992 – First Automation Fair® event in Philadelphia, PA
  • 1994 – Merges with ICOM to create Rockwell Software®
  • 1995 – One millionth PLC is shipped
  • 2001 – Company is officially renamed Rockwell Automation
  • 2003 – The Allen-Bradley brand celebrates its 100th anniversary
  • 2007 – PartnerNetwork™ program begins
  • 2013 – First cloud-based mobile access to plant floor data via smartphone
  • Present – Innovation and technology leadership make The Connected Enterprise a reality
Making The Connected Enterprise a Reality

Making The Connected Enterprise a Reality

Historic Videos

A look back at over 100 years of history, innovation, and commitment to customer success.

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