History

2011

A.O. Smith buys Lochinvar (July 2011).

2010

A.O. Smith sells Electric Motor Division to Regal Beloit Corporation.

2006

A.O. Smith takes over GSW. This makes A.O. Smith world's largest company in hot water supply.

2001

A.O. Smith acquires State Industries, Inc., and its APCOM Inc. subsidiary, nearly doubling the size of its water heater business.

1999

A.O. Smith completes the largest acquisition in its history, purchasing the world-wide electric motor operations of MagneTek.

1998

Water Products Company opens a water heater manufacturing plant in Nanjing, China.

1998

The company acquires General Electric's domestic compressor motor business, becoming North America' leading manufacturer of hermetic motors.

1997

A.O. Smith exits the automotive industry after more than 90 years by selling its Automotive Products Company to Tower Automotive.

1997

The acquisition of UPPCO, Inc. broadens the company's electric motor product line and makes A.O. Smith the world's leading manufacturer of C-frame subfractional horsepower motors.

1995

The company acquires Peabody TecTank of Parsons, Kansas, doubling the size of its storage tank business and entering the bulk dry storage market.

1991

A.O. Smith develops the first hermetic motor insulation system compatible with R-134a non-ozone-depleting refrigerant.

1988

Arthur O. Smith Lloyd R. Smith L. B, (Ted) Smith and Arthur O. Smith II were on hand for the induction. A.O. Smith and L.R. Smith become the first father and son to be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

1986

The acquisition of the Westinghouse small motor division substantially increases the size and scope of the company's electric motor business.

1984

A.O. Smith opens its first electric motor assembly operations in Juarez and Acuna, Mexico.

1978

The company enters the market for industrial and commercial storage tanks with the introduction of the glass-fused-to-steel Aquastore ® structure.

1976

Motor Division opens its first European operation in Bray, Ireland, supplying hermetic motors for large commercial applications.

1974

A.O. Smith's 100th anniversary. Introduction of the Conservationist ® line of residential water heaters.

1972

Water heater division opens its first European operation in Veldhoven, the Netherlands.

1968

The Nelson family is used to help sell A.O. Smith water heaters. A.O. Smith produces its 10 millionth residential water heater.

1965

Motor Division invents the enclosed canopy, two-compartment motor, a design that improves the reliability in pool pump motors by separating the switching components from the motor windings.

1961

Opens a commercial water heater and boiler plant in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.

1959

Establishes glass fiber division to commercialize its research in the use of fiberglass to replace steel in many applications. Business expands into supplying oil field pipe and pipe for service stations, eventually becoming Smith Fiberglass Products in 1986.

1953

A horse constructed out of A.O. Smith motors created a stir at trade shows. The motor division introduces the hermetic motor, a critical component of air conditioning and refrigeration compressors, to meet the growing demand for residential and commercial air conditioning.

1950

A.O. Smith acquires Whirl-A-Way Motors of Dayton, Ohio, and consolidates its electric motor manufacturing operations there.

1949

Introduces the Harvestore ® structure, a glass-fused-to-steel silo targeted at dairy and livestock operations. Over the next 50 years, A.O. Smith installs more than 70,000 structures on farms throughout North America.

1948

A.O. Smith acquires the Burkay Company of Toledo, Ohio, and enters the market for commercial water heaters. The coil-type "instantaneous" heaters served as the foundation for the development of the company's commercial water heater line.

1946

Move over Porky Pig, a special booth and character is developed to introduce A.O. Smith products at a trade show. The company constructs a 400,000 square foot residential water heater plant in Kankakee, Illinois. Life Magazine proclaims it "the most modern water heater factory in the world."

1942

As part of the war effort, A.O. Smith begins producing bob casings, aircraft propellers and landing gear, torpedo air flasks and other material. By 1945, it had built 4.5 million bombs, 16,750 sets of landing gear, and 46,700 propeller blades, as well as nose frames for the B-25 bomber, water heaters, jeep frames and components for the atomic bomb project.

1940

Extending its reach in the oil field, the company acquires Sawyer Electric of Los Angeles, California, a manufacturer of electric motors. One of their products was a pump motor that could be used in oil well applications.

1936

This A.O. Smith giant would bend an 8' section of glass-lined pipe to demonstrate it's ability to flex without cracking. A.O. Smith patents the glass-lined water heater. This concept quickly became the standard of the industry, making hot water an affordable convenience for homeowners. The company began mass-producing residential water heaters three years later, but shifted all production to war-time use during World War II.

1933

The end of Prohibition provided an opportunity to apply our new technology to a revitalized brewing industry. Capitalizing on research in the process of fusing glass to steel, the company introduces the first large, single-piece glass-lined brewery tank. Over the next 32 years, A.O. Smith made more than 11,000 glass-lined tanks.

1930

Company constructs an Art Deco-inspired Research & Engineering building in Milwaukee, one of the first dedicated R&D operations in the U.S. at the time, A.O. Smith employed more than 400 engineers.

1927

Perfects a method of economically forming and welding large-diameter steel line pipe. This new mass production technique was instrumental in launching the natural gas industry and transcontinental oil pipeline business. A.O. Smith was a leading supplier of line pipe until it exited the business in 1972.

1925

Many workers were required to build high-pressure vessels. Introduces the first arc-welded, high-pressure vessel used to refine oil. A.O. Smith pressure vessels were used in a wide variety of chemical processing, refinery, and related applications. The company remained in the business until 1963.

1921

The company, under the direction of L.R. Smith, unveils "the Mechanical Marvel," the world's first fully automated automobile frame assembly plant. Capable of making a frame every eight seconds, the plant operated until 1958.

1918

A.O. Smith engineers develop the coated welding rod, a breakthrough that influenced the development of arc welding as a mass production method. The company remained in the welding products business until 1965.

1914

The company introduces the Smith Motor Wheel, a gasoline-powered device for bicycles. Later brought out the Smith Flyer, billed as the world's first "sports car". The company eventually sold this technology to Briggs & Stratton Company of Milwaukee.

1913

A.O. Smith dies. His son, Lloyd Raymond Smith, becomes the third generation of the family to lead the company.

1906

Henry Ford orders 10,000 steel automobile frames, prompting the company to develop the world's first mass production process for assembling frames. Within four years, A.O. Smith is North America's largest frame manufacturer.

1904

Arthur O. Smith incorporates A.O. Smith Company in Milwaukee.

1903

A.O. Smith begins supplying frames to Cadillac, a supplier relationship that would last for nearly 90 years.

1899

Arthur O. Smith, a son of the founder, develops the world's first press steel automobile frame. Frames at the time were made by costly structural steel. Three years later, A.O. Smith began making frames for the Peerless Automobile Company.

1889

The company enters the bicycle industry by introducing a concept of forming steel tubing from sheet metal. Originally used for the fork that holds the front wheel, this innovation later was employed in making bicycle frames. By 1895, C. J. Smith and Sons was the largest U.S. bicycle parts manufacturer, eventually becoming the largest in the world.

1847

Charles Jeremiah Smith establishes the company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It begins by making parts for baby carriages and other hardware specialties. An earlier innovation was a metal tubular shoe last, developed for Milwaukee's burgeoning shoe industry.