The History of Honeywell

Current summary at Honeywell.com
Other Histories of Honeywell

Where did it come from? Compiled by Wally Klovstad

1885 Albert M. Butz filed an application with the U.S. Patent Office for his Temperature Control “Damper Flapper” and formed The Butz Thermo-Electric Regulator Co.

1888 Consolidated Temperature Controlling Co., Inc. of Minneapolis, MN acquired the patent and the company.

1888 James Skinner started Skinner Chuck Co. in New Brighton, CT – the forerunner of Skinner Valve Co.

1891 W. R. Sweatt formed the Sweatt Mfg. Co. in Minneapolis, MN to build wheelbarrows.

1892 Consolidated Temperature Controlling Co., Inc. was renamed as the Electric Thermostat Co.

1893 Electric Thermostat Co. was reorganized as the Electric Heat Regulator Co.

1898 W. R. Sweatt committed to a contract to purchase the Electric Heat Regulator Co. for 12.5 cents on the dollar ($5,000) from future earnings.

1901 W. R. Sweatt sold the wheelbarrow business.

1902 W. R. Sweatt completed the buyout of the Electric Heat Regulator Co. and now owned all 400 shares of the company located in Minneapolis, MN .

1906 Mark C. Honeywell started the Honeywell Heating Specialty Co. in Wabash, IN to manufacture hot water Heating Systems for homes. This was the first use of the name Honeywell as a company.

1910 Richard Brown incorporated Brown Instrument Co. in Philadelphia, PA.

1910 Elmer Sperry formed the Sperry Gyroscope Co. in Brooklyn, NY .

1912 Elmer and his son, Lawrence Sperry, developed an automatic pilot – “airplane stabilizer”.

1913 Electric Heat Regulator Co. changed its name to Minneapolis Heat Regulator Co.

1927 Minneapolis Heat Regulator Co. merged with Honeywell Heating Specialists and becomes Minneapolis-Honeywell Heat Regulator Co.

1929 James H. Doolittle flies first blind flight, from takeoff to landing, using a Sperry Gyro Horizon and Directional Gyro.

1932 Depression forced wage reductions and Minneapolis-Honeywell Heat Regulator Co made flour sifters for the Pillsbury Co. to keep employees working.

1933 Another wage reduction: 15% for officers and 10% for employees of Minneapolis-Honeywell Heat Regulator Co.

1934 Micro Switch Co. formed in Freeport, IL to manufacture the “simplest form of control system”, the switch.

1934 Honeywell acquired Brown Instrument Co. of Philadelphia, PA.

1934 Heiland Research Corp. formed in Denver, CO – later becomes part of Honeywell.

1941 Minneapolis Honeywell developed the C1 Autopilot that proved to be critically important for the U.S. war effort.

1946 Minneapolis Honeywell Aero Division was formed.

1950 Honeywell purchased Micro Switch of Freeport, IL.

1953 Production of the Honeywell T86 Round Thermostat was started, which is what most people think of when you say “Honeywell”.

1954 Honeywell purchased Heiland Research Corp. which becomes Test Instruments and Photo Division in Denver , CO .

1954 Honeywell Research developed a germanium power transistor and the Transistor Division is formed in Minneapolis, MN. An early start in solid state electronics which failed to blossom.

1955 A joint venture with Raytheon was formed called Datamatic Corp. and was Honeywell's entry into the computer business. The company's first computer system, the D-1000, weighed 25 tons, took up 6,000 square feet and cost $1.5 million.

1956 Sperry's Aeronautical Division moved to Phoenix, AZ and became Sperry Phoenix Co.

1957 Sperry Phoenix moved into the 19th Ave. and Deer Valley facility in Phoenix, AZ.

1960 Raytheon's share of the business was bought out and the EDP Division of Honeywell was formed.

1964 The company name was shortened from Minneapolis-Honeywell Heat Regulator Co. to Honeywell, Inc.

1965 Development and production of the Apollo Control System began at Honeywell Aero Division.

1966 Sperry Phoenix became Sperry Flight Systems.

1967 Honeywell sales exceeded $1 billion.

1969 Honeywell became the first supplier of digital avionics to commercial airliners with the Flight Computer for the McDonnell Douglas DC-10.

1970 Honeywell bought General Electric's computer business to form Honeywell Information Systems Division (HIS).

1974 Honeywell purchased the Process Control Computer business from GE which later became the current Process Solutions Division of Honeywell located in Phoenix , AZ.

1980 Sperry Flight Systems reorganized forming the Commercial Division, Defense Division and Space Systems Division.

1981 Sperry's Business and Commuter Systems Division was formed and located at 53 rd Ave. and Bell Road in Glendale, AZ.

1986 Honeywell acquired Sperry Aerospace Group for $1,029 billion and combined part of the Honeywell Commercial Division with the Sperry Commercial Flight Systems operations in Phoenix, AZ.

1991 Honeywell Information Systems sold to Bull. Honeywell was no longer in the information processing computer business.

1999 Honeywell merged into Allied Signal and the name was changed to Honeywell International.

2000/2001 GE's attempted purchase of Honeywell International was blocked by the European Competition Commission.

2006 So here we are today – not really Honeywell anymore except in name.

Other Histories of Honeywell from:

The Honeywell/AlliedSignal Retired Employees' Association Northeast Metropolitan Region  (Very detailed!)


Wikipedia  (Includes acquisition history from 2002 onwards)

Encyclopædia Britannica

Funding Universe  (Includes bibliography at end)

The Sperry Gyroscope Company from the Aero Activities Club

Multics in Phoenix  (For HIS, LISD, etc.—includes a timeline and names of employees.)

The link http://www.hls-austria.com/about-us/honeywell-history/ to Honeywell Austria's history of Honeywell no longer works and Honeywell Austria did not reply to any inquiries about it. Here is an archived version from August 2014.)

A history of Honeywell provided on the Honeywell.com website before it was unaccountably removed on 15 May 2019. It is copied from the Internet Archive at: http://web.archive.org/web/20190514065219/https://www.honeywell.com/who-we-are/our-history  (This link may take about 30 seconds to open.)

Our History

Honeywell's story stretches back more than 130 years and encompasses several predecessor companies and the inspiring work of tens of thousands of people. But our core mission and values have been consistent:

A vision for a secure, comfortable, cleaner, more efficient future...

A steadfast belief in the power of innovation...

And a relentless drive for continuous improvement.

And they continue to inspire and guide us as we create new solutions for the challenges of tomorrow.

More than 130 Years of Innovation

Our roots reach back to 1885, when an inventor named Albert Butz patented the furnace regulator and alarm. He formed the Butz Thermo-Electric Regulator Co., Minneapolis, in April 1886, and soon invented a device he called the "damper flapper” – an ingenious predecessor to the modern thermostat. 

Here's how it worked. When a room cooled below a predetermined temperature, a thermostat closed the circuit and energized an armature. This pulled the stop from the motor gears, allowing a crank attached to the main motor shaft to turn one-half revolution. A chain connected to the crank opened the furnace's air damper to let in air. This made the fire burn hotter. When the temperature rose to the preset level, the thermostat signaled the motor to turn another half revolution, closing the damper and damping the fire. The temperature correction was automatic. Over the years, many Honeywell products have been based upon similar, but more complicated closed-loop systems. 

The Consolidated Temperature Controlling Co. acquired Butz's patents and business, and by 1893, had renamed itself Electric Heat Regulator Co. In 1898, the company was purchased by W. R. Sweatt, who, by 1916, named the company Minneapolis Heat Regulator Company, expanded its product line and patented the first electric motor approved by Underwriters Laboratories. 

Meanwhile, in Wabash, Indiana... 
In 1904, a young engineer named Mark Honeywell – from whom our name originated – was perfecting the heat generator as part of his plumbing and heating business. Two years later, he formed the Honeywell Heating Specialty Co. Incorporated, specializing in hot water heat generators.
Our History
The 1927 Merger

In 1927, Minneapolis Heat Regulator Company and Honeywell Heating Specialty Co. merged to form the Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Co., and became the largest producer of high-quality jeweled clocks. W. R. Sweatt became Chairman and Mark Honeywell became President. The company quickly grew as it began to tackle more challenges, including industrial controls and indicators.

Business Around the World 

The company has been selling its products throughout the world for a long time. In 1934, the company acquired Time-O-Stat Controls Corporation and began establishing a track record of global expansion. We established offices in Toronto, the Netherlands, London and Stockholm. By 1941, The company had distributors in Chile, Panama, Trinidad, New Zealand, Argentina, and South Africa. By 1972, we operated 25 wholly-owned subsidiaries, 142 branch offices, and joint ventures in five countries outside the U.S. In 1993, the company opened affiliates in Abu Dhabi, China, Oman, Romania, and the Ukraine. By 1998, the company had operations in 95 countries.
Our History
Products, Developments and Acquisitions 

Minneapolis-Honeywell Regulator Co. leveraged its scientific and engineering talent to adapt to changing times. We radically improved mass production and added an array of aeronautical equipment to our portfolio. In 1942, we invented the electronic autopilot, which proved vital to the U.S. war effort. 

In 1953, the company introduced the iconic T-86 "Round" thermostat, which replaced chunky, rectangular models. One of the world's most recognizable designs, it remains in production today and is used in more households around the world than any other thermostat. 

In 1954, we began working to make gyroscopes more sensitive and precise while reducing their size and weight – and continued improving them over the next two decades. 

In 1955, we established a partnership with Raytheon Corp., marking Honeywell's entry into the computer business.
Our History
In 1957, we began working on fire detection and alarm systems. In many North American cities, the red and black "Protected by Honeywell" window stickers and placards were nearly as recognizable as the “Round” thermostat. Today we are the global leader in the industry. 

The company's name was officially changed to Honeywell Inc. in 1963.

Six years later, Honeywell instruments helped U.S. astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin land on the moon. 

In 1970, Honeywell merged its computer business with General Electric's to form Honeywell Information Systems. In 1986, the personal computer emerged and the company formed Honeywell Bull, a global joint venture with Compagnie des Machines Bull of France and NEC Corporation of Japan. Its ownership level was gradually decreased until, in 1991, Honeywell was no longer in the computer business. The company's digital computer knowledge lives on today in the field of automation control, integrating sensors, and activators.

In 1986, Honeywell took a bold step to increase its investment in aerospace innovation with the purchase of Sperry Aerospace, making us the world's leading integrator of avionics systems. Sperry contributed flight controls, space vehicles, and the first FAA-certified wind shear warning system.
Our HistoryOur HistoryOur History

The AlliedSignal Connection

During World War I, Germany controlled much of the world's chemical industry, causing shortages among the U.S. and our allies of critical drugs and dyes. In 1920, publisher Eugene Meyer and scientist William Nichols formed the Allied Chemical & Dye Corporation as a partnership of five American chemical companies.

In 1928, Allied opened a synthetic ammonia plant and quickly became the world's leading producer of ammonia .

After World War II, Allied began manufacturing other new products, including nylon 6 (used in manufacturing everything from tires to clothes) and refrigerants.  

In 1962, Allied bought Union Texas Natural Gas, which owned oil and gas properties throughout the Americas. Allied focused on it mainly as a supplier of raw materials for its chemical products, but this changed in the early 1970s when CEO John Connor (secretary of commerce under Lyndon Johnson) began investing in oil and gas exploration. By 1979, when Edward Hennessy Jr. became CEO, Union Texas produced 80% of Allied's income.

Now Allied Corp., the company went on to purchase the Bendix Corp., an aerospace and automotive company, in 1983. By 1984, Bendix generated 50% of Allied's income, while oil and gas generated 38%.

In 1985, Allied merged with the Signal Companies, adding critical mass to its aerospace, automotive and engineered materials businesses. Signal was originally a California company that produced gasoline from natural gas and entered oil production in 1928.
Our History
Aerospace was now Allied-Signal's largest sector. In mid-1991, with new leadership in many key businesses, Allied-Signal began taking bold actions to become more efficient, increase productivity, and position the company as a global competitive force. The Allied-Signal name was changed to AlliedSignal in 1993 to reinforce a one-company image and signify the full integration of all of its businesses.

In 1992, the company sold its remaining interest in Union Texas through a public offering for $940 million in net proceeds.

In 1999, Honeywell was acquired by AlliedSignal, who elected to retain the Honeywell name for its brand recognition and the company's headquarters was moved to the AlliedSignal headquarters in Morristown, NJ. Together the companies share huge business interests in aerospace, chemical products, automotive parts, and building controls.

Then in 2000, Honeywell acquired Pittway to gain a greater share of the fire-protection and security systems market.  
David M Cotes
In 2002, David M. Cote was named Chairman and CEO of Honeywell. Under Cote's leadership, Honeywell transformed from a company with three competing cultures from AlliedSignal, Pittway and the legacy Honeywell to “One Honeywell,” a recognized global industrial leader that is making strategic investment in products, processes, people and geographies.

Furthermore, the company had a strong record of financial performance, consistently meeting targets, outperforming peers and delivering a total shareowner return of 400 percent. We also made more than 80 acquisitions and 60 divestitures during this time.
In 2018, Darius Adamczyk became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Before then, he was President and Chief Executive Officer after serving for a year as Chief Operating Officer and holding a variety of positions since joining in 2008.

His focus is on accelerating Honeywell’s organic growth, expanding margins, transforming the Company into a premier software-industrial company, deploying capital effectively, and building a high-performance culture.

In 2018, Honeywell completed spinoffs of its transportation business into Garrett Motion Inc and homes business into Resideo, which uses Honeywell Home under a long-term, exclusive license.

Today, Honeywell is headquartered in Morris Plains, NJ with operations at about 970 sites in 70 countries. With more than 110,000 employees worldwide, including 18,000 engineers and 9,000 software developers, we build on our substantial legacy with a focus on growth, innovation, improved customer experience and shareowner value.