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Edwards Signaling Company History

Founded by Robert Edwards & David Rousseau in 1872 The Edwards Company has had a rich history of accomplishments.

The History of Edwards Signaling



  • 1872- Edwards and Company was founded by Robert Edwards & David Rousseau to explore the new phenomenon of "Electricity" and to manufacture, sell and install battery-operated gas-fixture igniters. Among the company's first customers, a New York City church where sextons previously had climbed a 100-foot ladder to light gas fixtures located high above the pews.

  • 1873 Rousseau withdrew from the partnership and his place was taken by Adam Lungen. They invented and developed and electric doorbell and a burglar alarm.

  • 1880- Edwards Company left the basement of the Lungen family's jewelry store, moved into a three-story plant, and began manufacturing wooden conduits and housings for burglar alarms.

  • 1881- Robert Edwards obtained his first patent for an electric bell. Other patents quickly followed: a drop-type annunciator (1882); an electric gas burner lighter for push-button operation (1883); and an electric door opener (1884).

  • 1884- Edwards displayed its wares at the first electrical show in the United States. Held in Philadelphia, it was called the "Electrical Exhibit, National Conference of Electricians."

  • 1886- Along with burglar alarms and fixture igniters, the Edwards catalog listed for the first time electrically wound clocks, program systems, and coils.

  • 1896- Edwards stopped installing electrical devices and limited its activities to the design and manufacture of signaling, communications and protection equipment.

  • 1900- Bell with horizontally actuated plunger devised. The basic design is used for today's Edwards AdaptaBel .

  • 1901- First national distributor of "electrical house goods" appointed by Edwards Company.

  • 1903- New York Stock Exchange bell installed to start the beginning and ending of trading each day.

  • 1912- Edwards carriage call, an all-weather annunciator for department store marquees, introduced.

  • 1915- Bronze Medal of Honor for electrical products awarded to Edwards at the Panama-Pacific Exposition, San Francisco, CA.

  • 1917- Watertight bells and submarine detection devices built for the Navy, special telegraph apparatus developed for the Signal Corps.

  • 1927- Holland Tunnel opened with Edwards emergency signaling installed in twin 2-mile tubes. Electrical devices for the White House ordered from Edwards.

  • 1929- Montreal Curb Exchange ordered "Silent Paging" annunciators. Edwards & Company of Canada was founded.

  • 1935- Lungen buzzers 11,300 feet below the earth's surface vibrated survey instrument at the bottom of the world's deepest oil well. Edwards watchman's tour, sprinkler, and fire alarm system installed at Rockefeller Center in New York City.

  • 1936- New break-glass fire stations introduced to replace hammer and chain types.

  • 1938- Edwards annunciators and signaling systems specified by Boeing Aircraft Co. for double-deck flying clipper ships.

  • 1941- World's largest car ferry, the City of Midland, left its Michigan waterways equipped with Edwards watertight signals. Budd Co. equipped its newest "Silver Meteor" trains with Edwards annunciators.

  • 1945- Edwards awarded its fifth Army-Navy E.

  • 1948- Edwards-made fire alarms installed aboard SS President Cleveland and SS President Wilson, new round-the-world cruise ships. James H. McGraw Award, Manufacturers Medal of the Year, presented to R. S. Edwards.

  • 1950- New Edwards plant in Canada opened at Owen Sound, Ontario.

  • 1951- Tear-drop fire alarm station introduced: called by Associated Press "a model of fool-proof simplicity."

  • 1956- Manufacturing facilities for distributor products transferred to new Pittsfield, Maine plant.

  • 1961- Audio-visual nurse call with patient privacy feature shown at American Hospital Association Exposition, Atlantic City, NJ.

  • 1962- Edwards Company becomes an operating unit of General Signal Corporation.

  • 1964- Edwards fire alarm system specified for world's largest structure, the 52-story Vertical Assembly Building at Cape Kennedy.

  • 1965- Edwards systems installed in Visual Arts Museum designed by LeCorbusier for campus of Harvard University.

  • 1966- Police and fire control centers for the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, largest municipal public system in Canada, designed and installed by Edwards.

  • 1967- Edwards supplied 77 fire alarm systems to Expo '67, Montreal.

  • 1971- JFK Center for the Performing Arts equipped with Edwards fire alarm system.

  • 1973- Edwards acquires Electrons, Inc., maker of the Cat. 280 series heat detector.

  • 1976- Edwards introduces a new ionization smoke detector.

  • 1979- Edwards introduces the new Greenline Series Fire Alarm Bells.

  • 1981- Edwards incorporates state-of-the-art micro-processor technology into a new generation of "programmable" signals with the launch of the Adaptatone product line.

  • 1982- Edwards begins a planned expansion of hazardous location audible and visual signals that will result in the most up-to-date and complete line in the industry.

  • 1984- The first Edwards piezo-electric signals are introduced, marking the introduction of the latest technology in light duty signaling.

  • 1985- Edwards begins a planned expansion of industrial strobes and beacon products that will result in the highest quality and most complete line in the industry today.

  • 1986- A new, current technology photoelectric smoke detector is introduced by Edwards.

  • 1994- Edwards acquires the signaling product line from Benjamin Division of Thomas Industries. These new products, previously manufactured in Sparta, TN are consolidated into the Pittsfield, Maine plant.

  • 1994- Edwards introduces highly advanced, multi-element sensor technology into the "Commercial" fire alarm market place. State-of-the-art manufacturing processes are established at the Pittsfield plant to support production of these products.

  • 1998 - Edwards introduces a new line a stackable visual signals, LED flashing and steady visual signals and strobes. The new Triliptical stacklite was designed around customer input.

  • 2005 - Edwards acquired by General Electric.  Edwards was combined with the Kalatel, Sentrol and EST businesses to become part of GE Security.  The company was well positioned to become an international leader in video, fire and access control.

  • 2010 - GE Security acquired by United Technologies Corporation.  Edwards Signaling becomes part of the Detection & Alarm business under UTC Fire & Security.

  • Today. . . With headquarters in Plainville, CT, manufacturing in Pittsfield, ME, distribution in Portland, TN, and Sales and Service locations around the world, it seems a long way back to the basement of Lungen's jewelry store. Yet, many of the different products that Edwards makes today, are direct descendants of the gas fixture igniters, electric bells and program systems that went into the design and construction of structures over one hundred years ago.