Square D Brand Builds on 100 Years of Leadership in Power and Control
From Its Small Start in Detroit on Dec. 15, 1902,
Business Gains Global Reach Through Schneider Electric
PALATINE, Ill., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Sunday, December 15 marks the centennial of one of America's best-known brands of electrical distribution and control equipment -- SQUARE D -- serving residential, commercial and industrial customers. SQUARE D continues today as the flagship brand of Schneider Electric in the U.S. (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20021212/CGTHFNS3 http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19990301/CGM046 ) Prior to the Square D Company merger with Schneider Electric in 1991, it earned unique distinction on the New York Stock Exchange by never reporting a financial loss in any calendar quarter during the 55 years of its NYSE listing, and also paying 220 consecutive quarterly dividends to shareholders. "Very few brands that have been around for 100 years can claim that they meet the same essential needs of society as when they began," says Chris C. Richardson, president and CEO of the North American Division of Schneider Electric, who himself is a company veteran of more than three decades. "Electrical safety has always been a major priority for us, and new technologies we're introducing to improve electrical energy conservation and to support the distribution and control of alternative electrical energy production make this business more critical than ever." One hundred years ago on Dec. 15, Bryson D. Horton and James B. McCarthy formed the McBride Manufacturing Co. in Detroit. They hired two women to assemble an initial order of 1,000 cartridge-type electrical fuses, working in an 18-by-40-foot rented room. That modest beginning grew to be a multi-billion-dollar North American electrical industry leader that set the standard for the metal-enclosed safety switch, the modern residential circuit breaker and a host of other electrical innovations -- protecting people's lives while efficiently distributing, managing and controlling electricity. Signature Brand in a Global Business SQUARE D is now a market leading brand of Paris-based Schneider Electric, a $9 billion enterprise committed to "Building a New Electric World" in more than 130 countries around the globe. The brand accounts for the greatest share of $2.7 billion in annual sales by the company's North American Division, which in turn provides nearly one-third of Schneider Electric global revenues and employs 17,000 people in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Complementing the SQUARE D brand in North America are TELEMECANIQUE control and automation products and systems, MERLIN GERIN products for electrical distribution, and FEDERAL PIONEER products in Canada as well as FEDERAL PACIFIC in Mexico. Together, the brands of Schneider Electric meet the needs of customers in the residential, buildings, industry, and energy and infrastructure markets. SQUARE D Brand Name Given by Customers The cartridge fuse business produced rapid growth for McBride Manufacturing in its first decade in Detroit, a period when the company underwent numerous name and management changes while Bryson Horton led the business. In 1915, the Detroit Fuse and Manufacturing Co. began marketing a new sheet metal version of its cast iron enclosed safety switch -- with the cover displaying an embossed letter "D" (for Detroit) within a square border. The simple trademark design soon had customers asking for the "SQUARE D" switch. So successful was the new switch that in 1917 the fuse business was sold and the firm officially changed its name to Square D Company. Around 1920, the company's famous "Jones Is Dead!" magazine advertisement vividly engraved the SQUARE D safety switch in the minds of company managers concerned about the shock hazard from exposed electrical switches. Through the 1920s to 1930, by acquiring related electrical products like porcelain insulating parts and industrial controllers, the company grew beyond Detroit to operations in Peru, Ind., Milwaukee, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston. World War II brought dramatic changes. By the end of 1941, more than 90 percent of the company's work was devoted to defense. For a time, the company even made aircraft instruments and binoculars. Peacetime Growth Pays Off Production and product innovation both expanded rapidly after World War II. In 1955, the revolutionary SQUARE D QO circuit breaker found an eager market in commercial, residential and industrial applications -- succeeding the traditional screw type fuse boxes in most homes and businesses. New and acquired manufacturing locations in Iowa, Kentucky, Ohio, Wisconsin, Nebraska, North and South Carolina and elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad provided the products to support the company's advertising slogan at the time -- "Wherever Electricity Is Distributed and Controlled." The company's continued national expansion led also to the relocation of its corporate headquarters in 1960 from Detroit to the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, and in 1979 to nearby Palatine, Illinois. Over its history, the company built a 2,000-member network of independent electrical distributors in North America -- the electrical industry's largest -- who are a vital channel in making SQUARE D the brand of choice for quality and reliability among local electrical contractors and industrial and commercial users. In recent years, the focus on strategic accounts in North America and globally has made the company a preferred supplier to leaders in semiconductors, food and beverage, automotive, pharmaceutical and a host of other multinational industry leaders. Innovative power management technologies are helping North American Division customers gain greater efficiency, cost savings and electrical reliability for operations at single locations or spread hundreds of miles apart. As global power needs intensify, new technologies are being combined to control and distribute electricity where it's needed, to automate homes, businesses and industries and to tie everything together seamlessly through voice, data and image communications. SQUARE D and the other major brands of Schneider Electric also offer web-enabled open standards, technology and equipment for automating factories and power distribution, with products that include web-enabled PLCs (programmable logic controllers), AC drives, motor starters and other equipment connected to the Internet through standard Ethernet cable installations in buildings of every kind. Brand Name Speaks Volumes In brand studies conducted over more than four decades, the SQUARE D trademark continues to be among the most highly recognized brands of its kind, says Robert P. Fiorani, vice president of communication for the North American Division. "The North American brand strength of SQUARE D was an asset that Schneider Electric prized when the two companies merged in 1991, and it continues even stronger today," Fiorani commented. "Wherever end users, contractors, builders or engineers make a choice among electrical brands, SQUARE D comes to mind as a preferred brand. We continue working to enhance the perception of the SQUARE D brand and Schneider Electric as the most focused, customer-oriented provider of electrical distribution, control and automation solutions in North America and wherever our multinational customers may be operating." Headquartered in Palatine, Ill., the North American Division of Schneider Electric had sales of $2.7 billion in 2001. The North American Division is one of three geographic divisions of Schneider Electric, headquartered in Paris, France, and markets the brands of Schneider Electric in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In the U.S., it is best known by its flagship SQUARE D brand, a market-leading brand of electrical distribution, industrial control and automation products, systems and services. Schneider Electric is a global electrical industry leader with 2001 sales of approximately $8.7 billion. MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X64584037
SOURCE Schneider Electric
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