Emerson Electric Company (Specimen)

Emerson Electric Company (Specimen)
Item# 4286eec

Emerson was founded in 1890 in St. Louis, Missouri, as a manufacturer of electric motors and fans by two Scotland-born brothers, Charles and Alexander Meston, who saw a tremendous business opportunity in patenting a reliable electric motor. They persuaded John Wesley Emerson, a former Union army officer, judge and lawyer, to be their principal investor. The company, then known as Emerson Electric Manufacturing Company, quickly began exploring new uses for the largely untested technology of electricity in a variety of household and commercial applications.

In 1892, Emerson sold the first electric fans in America - a product for which the company soon became renowned. As the company grew, it expanded its product line by attaching electric motors to new products such as sewing machines, dental drills, player pianos and power tools.

During World War II, Emerson was a supplier to the U.S. Army Air Force, becoming the world's largest manufacturer of aircraft gun turrets. In the postwar era, the company faced the dual challenges of rationalizing its highly seasonal fan product lines and responding to heightened competition from much larger electric motor manufacturers. Those issues were addressed head-on in 1954 when the company's new chief executive, W.R. "Buck" Persons, retooled and decentralized Emerson's manufacturing base and began a continuing process of diversification. The company rapidly targeted high-growth markets and then made acquisitions to position Emerson favorably within those markets. Persons reaffirmed a longstanding company policy of manufacturing components rather than end products, and also instituted a strong focus on cost reductions, quality improvements and formal planning.

When Persons retired as CEO in 1973, Emerson had significantly expanded its operations from 4,000 employees in two plants in 1954 to 31,000 employees in 82 facilities. Product lines had grown from five basic products to hundreds, and in the process, Emerson had become a diversified corporation with nearly US$1 billion in sales.

Charles F. Knight (whose printed signature appears on this piece), was named CEO in 1973, and Emerson evolved into a major global enterprise producing technologically advanced products used in such markets as telecommunications, electronics, heating, ventilating and air conditioning, and process controls. At the outset of his tenure, Knight expanded and refined a disciplined management process that has become famous in the business management world, with its emphasis on planning and an annual cycle of conferences and reviews, both for divisions and for the corporation as a whole.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Emerson made a series of restructuring moves and strategic acquisitions that allowed the company to reposition its core businesses and diversify into several promising new areas, including electric utility support, computer support and electronics, and process control. In 1984, Knight announced a "best cost producer" manufacturing strategy, with increased emphasis on ever-higher global competitive standards - both in terms of quality and cost.

Close Up of Vignette

Certificate: Common Stock, specimen, late 1900s

Printer: Security-Columbian / United States Bank Note Company

Dimensions: 8 (h) x 12 (w)

State: MO-Missouri

Subject Matter: Famous Companies | Consumer Products | Specimen Pieces

Vignette Topic(s): Allegorical Featured | Dynamo Featured | Globe Featured

Condition: No fold lines, punch hole cancels in signature areas and bodies. Very crisp.

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