Eaton Corporation this year celebrates its 100th anniversarys. Founded as a small axle business in 1911, Eaton has evolved to become a global power management company and a leader in energy-efficient technologies that help its customers use power more safely and effectively.

“Our company has grown and changed considerably during its first 100 years, but we remain dedicated to the spirit of innovation and ideals that inspired Joseph Eaton,” said Alexander M Cutler, Eaton chairman and chief executive officer. “His investment in a new idea in transportation — the first gear-driven truck axle — established a foundation for growth that we continue to build upon today.”

Today, Eaton's four business groups — Electrical, Aerospace, Hydraulics, and Vehicle — serve diverse global markets ranging from aviation, agriculture, and construction to energy, infrastructure, and healthcare. With customers in more than 150 countries, Eaton generates more than 55% of its revenues from international markets.

Key technology and business highlights throughout Eaton's first century include:

  • Joseph Eaton's 1911 investment in Torbensen Gear and Axle, the precursor to Eaton Corp, led to commercialization of efficient, breakthrough technology in the truck market.

  • In 1946, Eaton acquired an interest in a motor pump and gear company in the United Kingdom.

  • Eaton was NASA's choice in 1978 to design and build a new landing system for the space shuttle; Eaton also developed a prototype electric vehicle (EV) propulsion system, unveiled on NASA's EV prototype in 1989.

  • Shanghai was the site of Eaton's first wholly owned business in China in 1997; Eaton in 2008 opened a new Asia Pacific regional headquarters in Shanghai that has received Gold-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

  • Sustainable vehicle projects accelerated for Eaton in the early 2000s, as the company developed the first hydraulic hybrid power system for delivery trucks and brought its hybrid technology to fleets of city buses in China; today Eaton hybrid-powered commercial and transit vehicles have logged more than 100 million miles of service worldwide and reduced diesel fuel consumption by more than four million gallons.

  • Eaton is working with leading aerospace manufacturers to make air transportation safer, more reliable and more energy-efficient; the company expanded that roster in 2010 by creating a joint venture to support China's new aircraft industry.

  • Eaton hydraulic equipment played a critical role in the rescue last autumn of a group of trapped Chilean miners; rigs equipped with Eaton products drilled the initial bore hole that allowed rescuers to locate the miners and later were used to widen the shaft that eventually freed them.

  • Eaton's service networks and advanced hydraulic and electrical technologies support wind turbine manufacturers virtually anywhere in the world, including recent deployments in China and Canada.

  • Eaton's new fully automated heavy-duty transmissions enable operators to drive and navigate a range of heavy-duty trucks safely and more efficiently.