The RELIANCE ELECTRIC CO., a leading manufacturer of electrical
products for industry, was founded in 1905 by Cleveland industrialist Peter M.
Hitchcock and his cousin, inventor John C. Lincoln. Originally founded as the
Lincoln Electric Manufacturing Co., with offices in the
In 1979, Reliance Electric posted record earnings of $64.6 million on sales
of $966.2 million. That same year, the Exxon Corp. purchased the company for
$1.23 billion. With the recession of the early 1980s, Reliance Electric operated
in the red for three of the next four years (1980-1984). The company returned to
profitability, but not without trimming about a quarter of its manufacturing
space and payroll. A leveraged buy-out by management returned Reliance Electric
to private ownership in 1986, through the firm would again be publicly traded by
1992. By 1995 Reliance Electric was headquartered in
In August 1994, executives at the company entered into an agreement with General Signal (based in Stamford, CT) to purchase Reliance Electric for $1.4 billion in General Signal stock. Before the sale could be completed, however, Rockwell International initiated a hostile takeover of Reliance Electric for $1.6 billion in stock and by November, Reliance Electric became part of Rockwell's Automation Power Systems division, which had total annual sales of $3.5 billion and 27,000 employees worldwide. In 1998, Rockwell International Corp. announced that Reliance would be relocating its headquarters to Greenville, SC. In 2004, Joe Swann served as the company's president and the company employed approximately 23,500 worldwide, with nearly 2,000 in Greater Cleveland.
Moley, Raymond. The American Century of John C. Lincoln (1962).