Rockwell International

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Rockwell International was a major American manufacturing conglomerate in the latter half of the 20th century, involved in aircraft, the space industry, both defense-oriented and commercial electronics, automotive and truck components, printing presses, valves and meters, and industrial automation. It was the ultimate incarnation of a series of companies founded by Willard Rockwell. At its apex in the 1990s, Rockwell International was #27 on the Fortune 500 list, with assets of over $8 billion and sales of $27 billion.

Contents

Predecessor companies

Col. Willard F. Rockwell made his fortune with the invention and successful launch of a new bearing system for truck axles in 1919. He merged his Oshkosh, Wisconsin-based operation with the Timken-Detroit Axle Company in 1928, rising to become chairman of its board in 1940.

Timken-Detroit merged in 1953 with the Standard Steel Spring Company, forming the Rockwell Spring and Axle Company. After various mergers with automotive suppliers, it comprised about 10-20 factories in the Upper Midwestern U.S. and southern Ontario, and in 1958 renamed itself Rockwell-Standard Corporation.

Pittsburgh-based Rockwell Standard then acquired and merged with Los Angeles-based North American Aviation to form North American Rockwell in 1967.[1] They then purchased or merged with Miehle-Goss-Dexter, the largest supplier of printing presses, and in 1973 acquired Collins Radio, a major avionics supplier. Finally, in 1973 the company merged with Rockwell Manufacturing, run by Willard Rockwell Jr., to form Rockwell International. In the same year, the company acquired Admiral Radio and TV for $500 million, selling the appliance division to Magic Chef.

Products

The various Rockwell companies list a large number of firsts in their histories, including the World War II P-51 Mustang fighter and the B-25 Mitchell bomber, and the Korean War-era F-86 Sabre, as well as the Apollo spacecraft, the B-1 Lancer bomber, the Space Shuttle, and most of the Navstar Global Positioning System satellites. Rocketdyne, which had been spun off by North American in 1955, was re-merged into Rockwell in 1984, and by that time produced most of the rocket engines used in the United States. Rockwell also took over and manufactured the light business aircraft previously known as Aero Commanders, then introduced their own new design as the Rockwell Commander 112 and 114.

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