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.

How May We Help You?

We have helped customers to achieve their best for over 100 years.