It all began in 1891, when H. Ward Leonard invented the electric motor speed control system (called the Ward Leonard System) that would ultimately transform modern electrical distribution. Fresh from working with Thomas Edison and Nicola Tesla after graduating from M.I.T., he started the company and became one of the electrical industry’s truly great pioneers, eventually holding over 100 patents.
His inventions and technological advances included the electric train lighting system, the electric elevator control system which was utilized at the Paris Worlds’ Fair, electrical resistors, double arm circuit breaker and even the first gasoline — electrically propelled automobile, and generator system for automobiles.
Since then, every person that comes to work at Ward Leonard follows in his footsteps, and seeks to develop innovative solutions that enable our customers to improve their performance and overall efficiencies.
Today we are a trusted name for powering heavy industry and defense, having played a key role in the development of electrical equipment such as AC/DC motor controllers, AC/DC generators, AC/DC motors, and related rotary and linear electrical, electro-mechanical, and mechanical equipment for use in some of the most extreme environments on earth.
Expanding From Defense into Heavy Industry
Much of our direct history lies in supporting our nation’s Military, with critical motors, controls and components installed on virtually every surface and subsurface ship in the US Navy over the past 100+ years.
Over the years, we have made a series of strategic acquisitions to expand our Military capabilities and into markets where our products and engineering capabilities can best be utilized. Noted events include:
- Houma Armature Works (2015), which expanded our hands-on service & repair expertise to any industry utilizing electric motors, generators & pumps
- Mawdsley’s (2005), acquiring their powerful motors designed for Naval & oil & gas exploration — up to 1,500HP, shock & vibration tested, & 30-year life at continuous duty
- Electrodynamics (EDY) division of Electric Boat (2001), for their expanded product offerings including low-noise motors for submarines
- Tech Systems (2000), bringing strong motor & genset capabilities to create packaged solutions beyond component sales in the defense industry
- JH Smith Lighting Corp. (1997) which expanded Ward Leonard’s vertical integration of control systems, streamlining lead times & enhancing cost control for defense
- GE DoD controls product line (1994) that augmented our strong position in the U.S. Navy shipboard controls market
Proven Partners. Single Source Capabilities. Driven By Innovation.
As we move forward with our continued expansion plans, we have evolved into a diversified global industrial technology company that provides comprehensive motor, generator, pump, drive and control system solutions — including maintenance, repair and overhaul services — to Heavy Industry, Military and Oil & Gas markets.
We will continue to develop advanced technologies — from permanent magnet motors to network-centric controls and low noise systems — and look forward to working with you to help you achieve your goals.
That Power Critical Infrastructure Markets
Highlights of Ward Leonard’s 75 Years of Progress