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A Century of Automation-- Foxboro turns 100

Jan. 16, 2008
Even though Foxboro appears not to have sent out news releases talking about this, I'd like to remind everybody that 2008 is Foxboro's 100th birthday.Foxboro company stock certificate The Bristol brothers, Edgar H. Bristol and Bennet B. Bristol, set up the In...
Even though Foxboro appears not to have sent out news releases talking about this, I'd like to remind everybody that 2008 is Foxboro's 100th birthday.
The Bristol brothers, Edgar H. Bristol and Bennet B. Bristol, set up the Industrial Instrument Company in 1908, and purchased two companies: Standard Gauge Manufacturing Company and the Standard Electric Time Company. They moved to Foxboro, Mass. in the summer of 1908, into buildings on Neponset Avenue originally built in 1894. By the end of 1908, they had 53 employees building gauges for boilers, refrigeration units and cars. The Bristol boys bought several other companies and moved them to Foxboro. In 1910, the Bristols invented the first multipen recorder and long distance recording psychrometer. In 1914, the Industrial Instrument Company changed its name to The Foxboro Company, and, from 1912, started keeping in touch with customers through a publication called The Foxboro Recorder. In 1915, The Foxboro Company even exhibited at the San Francisco World's Fair. Foxboro continued innovating new products throughout the 1920s, 1930s and into the 1940s, including the first motorized chart drive, the first pneumatic controller, the first proportional plus reset controller, and some of the very first differential pressure flow measurement devices. In the 1940s, the second generation of Bristols took over the company, and the Bristol family kept minority ownership through the IPO in the 1950s all the way through to the final sale to Siebe (later Invensys) in 1990. Foxboro continued to innovate, producing the first all electronic process instruments, the first solid state electronic control system, a direct digital process control system in the early 1960s, and an intrinsically safe electronic control system (UL approved) in 1966. In 1969, Foxboro introduced the first computerized batch control system. Foxboro was a very early pioneer of globalization, partnering first with British firms, later with Mexican, and famously, with Yokogawa Electric Works in 1955 to manufacture and distribute Foxboro instruments in the Far East. In 1980, Foxboro was one of the first companies to joint venture with a Chinese instrument company. Since the late 1990s, Foxboro has been part of Invensys Pty. The Bristol family continues its tradition of leadership in the process industries. Edgar H. Bristol II is a member of the Process Automation Hall of Fame. He's a Fellow Emeritus of the Foxboro Company. In fact, the fellowship he holds is eponymous"”the Bristol Fellows are named after him. Since November 1959, he's been associated with Foxboro, and is responsible for many of the control innovations that have emanated from that vendor for nearly 50 years.

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