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Allen Bradley

The History of Allen Bradley

Rockwell Automation represents a long history of product innovation. Here are the milestones in their evolution.

Lynde Bradley, at age 15, uses college level textbook to help him design his first carbon pile rheostat, which is used to operate a wood lathe.

Milwaukee physician Stanton Allen befriends Lynde Bradley during visits to Bradley's first business venture, the Milwaukee X-Ray Laboratory.

Always at home "in the shop," Harry Bradley develops a lifelong love of research.

The company's principal designer, Lynde Bradley, takes on the role of vice president and treasurer of the Allen-Bradley Company in 1909.

Recent high school graduate Fred F. Loock is hired as a draftsman and starts his 57-year career with the company, which culminates in the presidency in 1947.

The octagon logo becomes the company trademark. The Bradleys' desire for quality is the company's guiding force. As a result, the word "Quality" replaces "Allen-Bradley" at the bottom of the logo in later years.

Bradleystats, the "perfect filament control," represent  more than one million dollars in sales by the mid-1920's.

Harry Bradley invisions a new business opportunity — ferrites, a key component in early television picture tubes. Ferrites are compounds composed of iron oxide, a metallic oxide and ceramic, which are compressed and cured to yield magnetic properties.

Allen-Bradley's Orchestra and Chorus remains a part of civic and sales-related functions for years.

The office and research center completed at Milwaukee headquarters takes the octagon logo to new heights in the form of the largest four-faced clock in the world.

Allen-Bradley expands its manufacturing capabilities beyond North America with the opening of its first plant  in Europe. Allen-Bradley U.K. Ltd. In Bletchley (later renamed Milton Keynes), England.

Realizing the increasing significance and productivity potential of networks and software, Allen-Bradley introduces products that features Ethernet and TCP/IP connectivity in 1993. The next year, the company launches DeviceNet.

By 1995, Rockwell Automation encompasses a family of brands and is Rockwell International's biggest business, accounting for 28 percent of company sales.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, birthplace of the Allen-Bradley brand, becomes the base of Rockwell International headquarters.

Rockwell International spins off Rockwell Collins avionics and communications business unit to shareowners and renames it Rockwell Automation.


  • Lynde Bradley and Dr. Stanton Allen start the Compression Rheostat Company with an initial investment of $1,000.


  • One of the first commercially manufactured Allen-Bradley brand of crane controllers is delivered for exhibition at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.


  • Compression Rheostat Company now named Allen-Bradley Company and moved to Milwaukee.
  • Dr. Allen named president, Lynde Bradley, vice president and treasurer, and Harry Bradley, secretary and superintendent of Allen-Bradley.


  • Allen-Bradley's first sales office opened in New York.


  • Allen-Bradley sales hit $86,000.


  • Dr. Stanton Allen passes away.


  • Allen-Bradley sales reach  $404,683.


  • The "Bradleystat," a rheostat for use in automobile dashboards and radios is offered.


  • The octagon logo is now the Allen-Bradley company trademark.


  • Bradleystat sales hit $1,161,380.


  • Allen-Bradley employment rebounds to pre-depression levels and company sales hit nearly $4 million


  • Lynde Bradley passes on.


  • Eighty percent of company's orders now war related and center on two broad lines of products, industrial controls and electrical components.


  • Harry Bradley turns the switch to illuminate the largest four-faced clock in the world.


  • Harry Bradley Passes on.


  • Allen-Bradley U.K. Ltd., located in Bletchley England, becomes the company's first facility outside North America.


  • Allen-Bradley starts the new decade as a global company. International operations expand rapidly throughout the 1980s.


  • Allen-Bradley sets a new sales record with sales of $1 billion.
  • Allen-Bradley buys Electronics Corporation of America and acquires the Photoswitch line of photoelectric sensors.
  • Rockwell International purchases Allen-Bradley, the North American leader in the industrial automation equipment market, for $1.651 billion, marking the biggest acquisition in Wisconsin's history. (February 20, 1985)


  • The company launches DeviceNet, an open device-level network that becomes the de facto standard in North America.


  • The Allen-Bradley line of software is combined with the ICOM lines to form Rockwell Software Inc., the world leader in development and support of software for the automation marketplace.


  • Enterprise Technology Group is acquired. A Pittsburgh headquartered software development and consulting company known for client-server Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) applications.
  • Rockwell buys Anorad Corporation, a market-leader in linear motor based precision positioning equipment.
  • Company buys Dynapro, expanding human machine interface hardware and software offering.
  • Acquisition of EJA, a U.K. based company brings the expertise of the Guardmaster brand to the safety product portfolio.


  • Rockwell acquires Entek, adding predictive monitoring technology to its automation controls lines.
  • Buys Systems Modeling Corporation, known for discrete event and process simulation software and for finite-capacity scheduling software.


  • Rockwell Automation becomes an independent, publicly traded company with the New York Stock Exchange symbol ROK.
  • Sequencia acquisition is finished, adding batch control software, services and support.


  • Tesch (Germany) is bought, bolstering safety hardware lines.
  • Propack Data (Germany) purchase adds tracking and tracing software capabilities.
  • Samsung Controller Division (Korea) purchase adds world-class programmable logic controller design and development center in Asia


  • The Allen-Bradley brand celebrates its 100th anniversary The celebration ends with Rockwell Automation's annual customer trade show and education event, known as Automation Fair. The event is held for the first time in its 12 year history in Milwaukee, the home town of Rockwell Automation. Over 15,000 people come.


  • Rockwell Automation and Intel Corporation start working together to expand the use of Intel's new high-performance network processor technology in industrial automation applications.


  • DataSweep acquisition adds more manufacturing systems information ability to software portfolio.


  • Purchase of GEPA mbH, a leading provider of software in the change management marketplace, expands the capabilities of Rockwell Automation's FactoryTalk integrated production and performance suite.



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