Honeywell's story stretches back more than 125 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 from the start:
- our vision for a secure, comfortable, cleaner, more efficient future,
- our steadfast belief in the power of innovation and
- our relentless drive for continuous improvement.
From our genesis in 1885 to today, these are the principles that led us to the advancements and innovations of the past century and a quarter and they continue to inspire and guide us as we create new solutions for the challenges of tomorrow.
More than 125 Years of Innovation
Honeywell's roots reach 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.
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.
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, the 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.
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 one of the foremost manufacturers and suppliers of equipment for fire detection system in the world.
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 world's leading integrator of avionics systems. Sperry contributed flight controls, space vehicles, and the first FAA-certified wind shear warning system.
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 in 1981 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.
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 shares huge business interests in aerospace, chemical products, automotive parts, and building controls.
Then In 2000, the Honeywell acquired Pittway to gain a greater share of the fire-protection and security systems market.
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 is one of the foremost manufacturers that is making strategic investment in products, processes, people and geographies and has a strong financial track record, disciplined processes and an outstanding, mobilized workforce of more than 129,000 worldwide.
Cote led the implementation of key process initiatives that make Honeywell work better every day. The Honeywell Operating System (HOS), inspired by Toyota’s Total Quality Management, drives continuous improvement in sustainability, safety, quality, delivery and inventory. Velocity Product Development (VPD) ensures alignment across the functions that are necessary to successfully launch new technologies at the right time and at the right price, and Functional Transformation (FT) standardizes our administrative functions, including Finance, Legal, HR and IT, standardizing the way we work and reducing costs. In 2012, Honeywell evolved the HOS initiative into HOS Gold, a total business operating system that aligns all of these internal processes to grow sales, become more productive and deliver highly differentiated solutions to market faster than the competition.
Included in the HOS Gold initiative are the Honeywell User Experience (HUE), which is helping us design more intuitive, desirable and value-add solutions that meet customer needs, and a focus on software where we can blend our strong legacy manufacturing physical products with software that connects solutions, improves user experience, efficiency and productivity.
Under Cote’s leadership, the company has had a strong record of financial performance, consistently meeting targets, outperforming peers and delivering a total shareowner return of 400 percent. Honeywell has also made more than 80 acquisitions and 60 divestures, building a company that has great positions in good industries globally including aerospace, oil and gas, homes, commercial buildings, defense, industrial and utilities, transportation and more. Our diverse portfolio focuses on addressing some of the world’s most critical challenges around energy, safety, security, productivity and global urbanization.
A key pillar to that growth has been Honeywell’s focus on High Growth Regions (HGR). We are working to meet the demand of these rapidly-growing economies with established regional organizations that allow for local innovation, manufacture and support. In 2015, approximately 53% of Honeywell’s sales were from outside the U.S. and HGR are expected to account for more than 50% of our growth over the next five years.
Following this decade of financial outperformance, Honeywell laid out our new Five-Year Plan in 2014, focusing on continued strong shareholder returns through innovation, global growth and execution, enhanced customer experiences, and robust capital allocation to yield double digit earnings growth.
Today, Honeywell is headquartered in Morris Plains, NJ with operations at about 1,250 sites in 70 countries and. With more than 129,000 employees worldwide, including more than 22,000 engineers and scientists, we build on our substantial legacy with a focus on growth, innovation, improved customer experience and shareowner value.