History

“You can’t run a railroad or build a dam, operate a paper mill or lay a sewer, dig an oil well or heat a hospital, or launch a battleship or even take a shower without using one of the more than 40,000-odd products that are made by Crane Co.” — Fortune magazine, July 1936

This observation in the July 1936 issue of Fortune magazine summed up our company’s position well, and within ten years of that article, aviation and high speed flight were added to the list. Today, Crane innovation can be found behind the scenes virtually everywhere, helping everyday life run efficiently. Key events in the Company’s more than 150-year history are highlighted in the timeline below. You are invited to explore the chapters of our history in the pages of Crane: 150 Years Together.

 

1855

Founding of R.T. Crane Brass & Bell Foundry in Chicago. Crane produces valves, fittings, and specialty castings for a growing industrial America.

1860s

As Northwest Manufacturing Co., Crane supplies essential steam components to the railroads and enters the steam heating business. Crane Elevator Company begins making hoists, elevators and steam engines, becoming one of the major names in the field for 30 years.

1870s

Crane pioneers improvements in manufacturing, including the use of multiple purpose machines invented by R.T. Crane and a conveyor system of moving molds and pouring metal – the beginning of line production in foundries.

1880s

Crane’s business is booming. The company operates four manufacturing facilities and employs over 1500 people. Branch houses extend the company’s business to the Western U.S.

1885

Crane Co. is adopted as the Company name.

1890s

R.T. Crane establishes a metallurgical laboratory, probably the first in the Midwest.

Crane products have the strength and quality to meet the challenges of ever higher fluid pressures and temperatures.

1900

Crane produces steel valves and fittings in its own steel foundries.

Crane’s rigorous approaches to metallurgical science and material testing become the model for the valve and fitting industry.

1912

Founder R.T. Crane dies. Crane Co. is the leader in the valve and fitting business. R.T. Crane, Jr. shortly assumes the Company’s presidency.

The company builds the first truly modern factory, switching wholly to electricity for power. In Chicago, “The Great Works” built on 160 acres is the most modern factory of its time.

1920s

Crane Co. conceives the idea of the modern bathroom, creating the first practical decorative bathroom ensembles. The American bathroom becomes a sign of affluence and social pride. Crane plumbing fixtures, many designed by noted industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss, are celebrated for their styling, color and innovation.

1930

Company-owned branch distribution operations grow to 190 from only 86 in 1920. The highlight is the lavish $1 million showroom on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.

1936

CR listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

1937

The Golden Gate Bridge opens with its railing material supplied by Crane Co.

1942

To meet wartime demand, Crane increases steel valve output capacity four-fold to 25,000 tons annually. The U.S. Navy requires from 1,500 to 15,000 valves per ship.

1951

After the war, Crane supplies flow control products for aircraft. Hydro-Aire, a manufacturer of highly developed precision aircraft products is acquired.

1957

Crane introduces “Technical Paper 410”, building on the classic “Flow of Fluids” of 1942. Today, this quintessential guide to understanding the flow of fluids through valves, pipes and fittings is available as software.

1959

T.M. Evans elected Chairman and CEO. A new management philosophy moves Crane to streamline the distribution network and concentrate on industrial manufacturing.

1960s

Industrial expansion is furthered through domestic and international acquisitions such as Chapman Valve, Cochrane Corporation, Deming Company and Chempump.

1961

Crane becomes a true multi-national operation with fifty manufacturing facilities across the United States, Canada, England, France, Italy, The Netherlands, and Mexico.

1963

Crane furthers its commitment to R&D with new engineering and laboratory facilities near Philadelphia.

1969

Crane pumps are on the moon. Hydro-Aire and Chempump pumps are used in the Gemini and Apollo Space programs.

1970s

Crane is well-positioned in four major areas of concentration: fluid and pollution control, steel, building products and aircraft/aerospace.

1980s

Crane exits the plumbing and plumbing distribution businesses in the U.S.

1981

Crane provides braking system for the first NASA space shuttle.

1984

Thomas M. Evans resigns as Chairman of the Board after serving Crane for 25 years. His son, R.S. Evans, is elected Chairman and CEO, and the company announces a new strategic plan to build on its strength in special light- to medium-manufacturing and wholesale distribution, while reducing reliance on more capital intensive, cyclical and commodity oriented businesses.

1985

Crane acquires UniDynamics, a conglomerate that included the initial components of Engineered Materials (Kemlite) and Merchandising Systems (National Vendors) segments. This acquisition also included Resistoflex, which grew to become one of Fluid Handling's most important brands.

1990s

Evans leads Crane as a growth company with a strong acquisition program in areas of fluid handling, engineered materials, merchandising systems, aerospace and controls.

During R.S. Evans' tenure as Chairman and CEO from 1984 to 2001, the company's market capitalization increased from under $200 million to approximately $1.8 billion.

1997

The company sets new records including sales of greater than $2 billion and net earnings greater than $100 million. Crane launches its operational excellence program and graduates its first class of black belts trained in Six Sigma methods.

2001

Eric C. Fast elected President and CEO. He continues strategic leadership of a collection of linked businesses to move Crane from a holding company to an operating company.

Early 2000s

Foundation for future profitable growth is laid with the implementation of new Operational Excellence tools, greater development of intellectual capital, strategic linkages and strong customer focus.

2003

A study by Jeremy Siegel in The Future For Investors (published 2005) noted that Crane Co. had the 10th best shareholder return (15.1% annually) from 1957 to 2003 among surviving firms of the original 1957 S&P 500 index, a list dominated by large pharmaceutical and well-known consumer brand companies.

2005

Crane celebrates its 150th anniversary.

2013

Crane Co. completes the acquisition of MEI Conlux Holdings, the largest acquisition in the history of the company.

2014

Max H. Mitchell appointed President and CEO. He continues to execute on Crane’s longstanding strategy, moving the company further along its journey to an integrated operating company focused on three key global growth platforms: Fluid Handling, Aerospace & Electronics, and Crane Payment Innovations.

2018

Crane Co. completes the acquisition of Crane & Co., Inc. (“Crane Currency”), the second largest acquisition in the history of the company.