Skip to main content


A. O. Smith unveils its new L. R. Smith Corporate Technology Center in Milwaukee, Wisc. The 42,700 sq. ft. state-of-the-art center supports advanced research and development in the areas of potable and hydronic water heating, water treatment and air purification.


A. O. Smith (NYSE:AOS) named to the S&P 500 Index. 


A. O. Smith’s 140th anniversary.


A. O. Smith buys MiM Water Technologies in Istanbul, Turkey (February 2013), entering the water treatment market.


A. O. Smith buys Lochinvar (July 2011).


A.O. Smith sells Electric Motor Division to Regal Beloit Corporation. A manufacturing plant and headquarters for India is opened in Bangalore.


A. O. Smith enters the water purification industry with a new venture, A.O. Smith (Shanghai) Water Treatment Products.


A. O. Smith begins to market residential and commercial water heaters in India.


A. O. Smith takes over GSW. 


A. O. Smith acquires State Industries, Inc., and its APCOM Inc. subsidiary, nearly doubling the size of its water heater business.


A. O. Smith completes the largest acquisition in its history, purchasing the world-wide electric motor operations of MagneTek.


A. O. Smith Water Products Company opens a water heater manufacturing plant in Nanjing, China.


The company acquires General Electric’s domestic compressor motor business, becoming North America’ leading manufacturer of hermetic motors.


A. O. Smith exits the automotive industry after more than 90 years by selling its Automotive Products Company to Tower Automotive.


The acquisition of UPPCO, Inc. broadens the company’s electric motor product line and makes A. O. Smith the world’s leading manufacturer of C-frame subfractional horsepower motors.


The company acquires Peabody TecTank of Parsons, Kansas, doubling the size of its storage tank business and entering the bulk dry storage market. This year A. O. Smith enters the China market with three joint ventures – automotive products, fiberglass oilfield pip and residential water heaters.


A. O. Smith develops the first hermetic motor insulation system compatible with R-134a non-ozone-depleting refrigerant.


A. O. Smith and L. R. Smith become the first father and son to be inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.


The acquisition of the Westinghouse small motor division substantially increases the size and scope of the company’s electric motor business.


The Dutch A. O. Smith plant opens an in-house lab and production facility.


A. O. Smith opens its first electric motor assembly operations in Juarez and Acuna, Mexico.


The company enters the market for industrial and commercial storage tanks with the introduction of the glass-fused-to-steel Aquastore ® structure.


A. O. Smith’s Motor Division opens its first European operation in Bray, Ireland, supplying hermetic motors for large commercial applications.


A. O. Smith’s 100th anniversary. Introduction of the Conservationist ® line of residential water heaters.


Water heater division opens its first European operation in Veldhoven, the Netherlands.


The Nelson family helps to sell A. O. Smith water heaters. A. O. Smith produces its 10 millionth residential water heater.


A. O. Smith Motor Division invents the enclosed canopy, two-compartment motor, a design that improves the reliability in pool pump motors by separating the switching components from the motor windings.


Opens a commercial water heater and boiler plant in Stratford, Ontario, Canada.


Establishes glass fiber division to commercialize its research in the use of fiberglass to replace steel in many applications. Business expands into supplying oil field pipe and pipe for service stations, eventually becoming Smith Fiberglass Products in 1986.


The water heater division introduces the first glass-lined commercial water heater, the A. O. Smith Burkay B-65.


A horse constructed out of A. O. Smith motors created a stir at trade shows. The motor division introduces the hermetic motor, a critical component of air conditioning and refrigeration compressors, to meet the growing demand for residential and commercial air conditioning.


A. O. Smith acquires Whirl-A-Way Motors of Dayton, Ohio, and consolidates its electric motor manufacturing operations there.


Introduces the Harvestore ® structure, a glass-fused-to-steel silo targeted at dairy and livestock operations. Over the next 50 years, A.O. Smith installs more than 70,000 structures on farms throughout North America.


A. O. Smith acquires the Burkay Company of Toledo, Ohio, and enters the market for commercial water heaters. The coil-type “instantaneous” heaters served as the foundation for the development of the company’s commercial water heater line.


The company constructs a 400,000 square foot residential water heater plant in Kankakee, Illinois. Life Magazine proclaims it “the most modern water heater factory in the world.”


As part of the war effort, A. O. Smith begins producing bob casings, aircraft propellers and landing gear, torpedo air flasks and other material. By 1945, it had built 4.5 million bombs, 16,750 sets of landing gear, and 46,700 propeller blades, as well as nose frames for the B-25 bomber, water heaters, jeep frames and components for the atomic bomb project.


Extending its reach in the oil field, the company acquires Sawyer Electric of Los Angeles, California, a manufacturer of electric motors. One of their products was a pump motor that could be used in oil well applications.


A.O. Smith patents the glass-lined water heater. This concept quickly became the standard of the industry, making hot water an affordable convenience for homeowners. The company began mass-producing residential water heaters three years later, but shifted all production to war-time use during World War II.


The end of Prohibition provided an opportunity to apply our new technology to a revitalized brewing industry. Capitalizing on research in the process of fusing glass to steel, the company introduces the first large, single-piece glass-lined brewery tank. Over the next 32 years, A.O. Smith made more than 11,000 glass-lined tanks.


Company constructs an art deco-inspired Research & Engineering building in Milwaukee, one of the first dedicated R&D operations in the U.S. at the time, A.O. Smith employed more than 400 engineers.


Perfects a method of economically forming and welding large-diameter steel line pipe. This new mass production technique was instrumental in launching the natural gas industry and transcontinental oil pipeline business. A. O. Smith was a leading supplier of line pipe until it exited the business in 1972.


Introduces the first arc-welded, high-pressure vessel used to refine oil. A. O. Smith pressure vessels were used in a wide variety of chemical processing, refinery, and related applications. 


The company, under the direction of L.R. Smith, unveils “the Mechanical Marvel,” the world’s first fully automated automobile frame assembly plant. Capable of making a frame every eight seconds, the plant operated until 1958.


A. O. Smith engineers develop the coated welding rod, a breakthrough that influenced the development of arc welding as a mass production method. The company remained in the welding products business until 1965.


The company introduces the Smith Motor Wheel, a gasoline-powered device for bicycles. Later brought out the Smith Flyer, billed as the world’s first “sports car”. The company eventually sold this technology to Briggs & Stratton Company of Milwaukee.


Arthur O. Smith passes away. His son, Lloyd Raymond Smith, becomes the third generation of the family to lead the company.


Henry Ford orders 10,000 steel automobile frames, prompting the company to develop the world’s first mass production process for assembling frames. Within four years, A. O. Smith is North America’s largest frame manufacturer.


Arthur O. Smith incorporates A. O. Smith Company in Milwaukee.


A. O. Smith begins supplying frames to Cadillac, a supplier relationship that would last for nearly 90 years.


Arthur O. Smith, a son of the founder, develops the world’s first press steel automobile frame. Frames at the time were made by costly structural steel. Three years later, A. O. Smith began making frames for the Peerless Automobile Company.


The company enters the bicycle industry by introducing a concept of forming steel tubing from sheet metal. Originally used for the fork that holds the front wheel, this innovation later was employed in making bicycle frames. By 1895, C. J. Smith and Sons was the largest U.S. bicycle parts manufacturer, eventually becoming the largest in the world.


Charles Jeremiah Smith establishes the company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It begins by making parts for baby carriages and other hardware specialties. An earlier innovation was a metal tubular shoe last, developed for Milwaukee’s burgeoning shoe industry.