Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 136,062 pages of information and 218,544 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Textron Inc

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1923 Royal Little founded the Special Yarns Corporation in Boston.

1928 Acquired a Rhode Island competitor, Franklin Rayon Dyeing Company, by invitation.

1930 Expanded Franklin Rayon’s Providence facility and moved Special Yarns to the new location. The company sold about 4 percent of all rayon yarn supplied in the United States.

1936 Planned expansion of the Providence facility using money raised through a small issue of common stock.

1938 name of the company was changed to Atlantic Rayon

1939 Acquired a portion of an abandoned manufacturing plant in Lowell, Massachusetts, using the facility for high-speed throwing of synthetic yarn to produce special effects in material, such as crepe.

WWII A major producer of parachutes and other textiles

Post WWII: moved quickly from producing parachutes to making lingerie, blouses, bed linens and other consumer goods.

Name changed to Textron — a combination of "Tex" from textiles and "tron" from synthetics, such as Lustron.

1947 listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

1952 Began to diversify by acquiring non-textile businesses.

1960 Purchased two companies in the transportation sector: golf car manufacturer E-Z-GO and Bell Aerospace.

1963 Exited the textile industry. Acquired watchband manufacturer Speidel; Sheaffer Pen; staple and nail gun maker Bostich; and Rhode Island-based silver company Gorham.

1970s Coped with the financial crisis; acquired Jacobsen, maker of professional turf maintenance equipment and lawn care machinery.

1985 Acquired Connecticut-based AVCO Corporation, pioneer in heat resistant material for NASA's space capsules. Formed subsidiaries Textron Defense Systems, and Textron Marine & Land Systems.

1986 Acquired Greenlee, manufacturer of professional contractor tools.

1992 Acquired Cessna Aircraft Co, a leader in light and medium-sized commercial business jets

Also acquired German company Kautex and divested non-core businesses

1998 Acquired the lawn mower business of Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies and David Brown.

2000s This was an era of strategic divestitures and complementary acquisitions, selling the Fastening & Systems and Fluid & Power businesses; purchased Overwatch Systems and AAI.

2013 Acquired Sherman + Reilly, a manufacturer of underground and aerial transmission and distribution products and HD Electric, a designer and manufacturer of power utility products and solutions that test, measure and control electric power.

2014 Acquired TUG Technologies

2015 Acquired Douglas Equipment


See Also

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Sources of Information

  • [1] Textron History