Federal Signal Corporation

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For the railway signal manufacturer, see Federal Signal Company.
Federal Signal Corporation
Type Public
Traded as NYSEFSS
Founded 1901
Headquarters Oak Brook, Illinois, USA
Key people Dennis Martin, CEO & President
Revenue Increase$727 million USD (reference: 2010 10K)
Employees ~2,800
Website www.federalsignal.com

Federal Signal Corporation is a global corporation with about 2,800 employees and annual revenue of about US$727 million. Oak Brook, Illinois-based Federal Signal designs, develops and deploys solutions intended to protect people, property and the environment under brands such as Federal Signal, Elgin, Vactor, Guzzler, and Jetstream.

Federal Signal is best known for its variety of police car and fire truck apparatus, industrial equipment, lights, fire alarms, and outdoor warning sirens.

Federal Signal was founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1901 by John Goehst and James and John Gilchrist. Samuel Insull later acquired the Company. The Company went public in 1969 under the leadership of Robert T. Gilchrist.


Federal Signal was founded as the Federal Electric Company in 1901 by brothers John and James Gilchrist and parter John Goehst, manufacturing and selling store signs lit by incandescent lamps. By 1915, they began manufacturing and selling electrically-operated mechanical sirens (such as the Q Siren and the Model 66 Siren).

During this time, Federal Electric came under the ownership of Commonwealth Edison eventually becoming a part of the utility empire of Samuel Insull.

By the 1950s, they began manufacturing fire/air raid sirens, including the Thunderbolt and the Model 5, usually used for warning of air raids or fallout during the Cold War. Longtime engineer Earl Gosswiller patented the Beacon-Ray and TwinSonic products, which set the standard for emergency vehicle lightbars.

In 1956, the company became a corporation, renaming itself "Federal Sign and Signal Corporation". By this time, it made outdoor warning sirens, police sirens, fire alarms, and outdoor lighting.

By 1961, Federal Sign and Signal had gone public, trading on the NASDAQ market. In 1976, the company became Federal Signal Corporation. By 1990, the company began to drop many of its older outdoor warning siren products (e.g. the Thunderbolt, SD-10, Model 5 & 7, etc.) and focused on designing and producing newer products. In 1988, it released a new product: the Federal Signal 2001 series warning siren. This siren is capable of running via a direct current (DC) power source, such as an AC-to-DC inverter, solar energy, and 4 12VDC series-connected batteries at 48 volts DC. Today, the company produces the battery-operated 2001-130, a mechanical siren which is rated at 130 decibels at 100 feet (30 m).

On Feb 22, 2000, Federal Signal Corporation announced the signing of a definitive agreement for the acquisition of P.C.S. Company ("P.C.S.").[1]

On June 27, 2005, Federal Signal Corporation announced the signing of a joint venture agreement to establish a Chinese company, Federal Signal (Shanghai) Environmental & Sanitary Vehicle Company Limited, based near Shanghai, China.[2]


  1. ^ "Federal Signal Corporation Announces Acquisition of P.C.S. Company". 
  2. ^ "Federal Signal Corporation Announces Establishment of Federal Signal Environmental & Sanitary Vehicle Company, Ltd". 

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