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Babcock & Wilcox

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Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises, Inc.
FormerlyThe Babcock & Wilcox Company
Company typePublic
  • Power
  • Industrial
Founded1867; 157 years ago (1867) in Providence, Rhode Island
United States
Area served
Key people
RevenueIncrease US$999 million (2023)
Number of employees
2,250 (2023)
Footnotes / references

Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises, Inc. is an American energy technology and service provider that is active and has operations in many international markets with its headquarters in Akron, Ohio. Historically, the company is best known for their steam boilers.


The company was founded in 1867 in Providence, Rhode Island, by partners Stephen Wilcox and George Babcock to manufacture and market Wilcox's patented water-tube boiler.[2] B&W's list of innovations and firsts include the world's first installed utility boiler (1881); manufacture of boilers to power New York City's first subway (1902); first pulverized coal power plant (1918); design and manufacture of components for USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine (1953–55); the first supercritical pressure coal-fired boiler (1957); design and supply of reactors for the first U.S. built nuclear-powered surface ship, NS Savannah (1961).[3]


The old B&W company logo, showing the world as an Aeolipile.

The company was founded in 1867 by Stephen Wilcox, Jr. and his partner George Herman Babcock with the intention of building safer steam boilers. Stephen Wilcox first avowed that “there must be a better way” to safely generate power, and he and George Babcock responded with the design for the first inherently safe water-tube boiler. B&W was the main builder of naval boilers for American forces during World War II, and were a supplier to the Manhattan Project. After the war they entered the nuclear reactor business, and became a major supplier for commercial nuclear power plants. They also built naval nuclear reactors, including for the first commercial nuclear ship. In 2000 the company filed for bankruptcy due to lawsuits from employees over asbestos exposure; they emerged from bankruptcy in 2006.

Babcock & Wilcox Co. works, Bayonne, New Jersey, circa 1919
1913 Babcock & Wilcox boiler section
Current logo without the "Babcock & Wilcox" text
  • In 1867, Stephen Wilcox, Jr. and his partner George Herman Babcock, of Providence, Rhode Island,   patented their so-called safety boiler (“Improvements in Steam Generators,” U.S. Patent No. 65,042). Its water was dispersed in many small tubes that resisted exploding when heated, a significant advance over conventional shell boilers, whose water was concentrated in a single container. When overheated, seams of the shell could burst, causing an explosion, often with fatal consequences. The water tube boiler had the added advantages that it could generate steam under higher pressure and more efficiently than existing designs.[4][5]
  • In 1878, Thomas Edison purchased B&W boiler No. 92 for his Menlo Park laboratory.[3]
  • In 1891, Babcock & Wilcox Ltd is established as a separate United Kingdom company, to be responsible for all sales outside the US and Cuba.[6]
  • In 1895, Supply of steam furnaces of Kahrizak sugar factory, Tehran, Iran [7]
  • In 1898, Robert Jurenka and Alois Seidl signed an agreement with the British division of Babcock & Wilcox Ltd to make the Berlin, Germany Babcock sales office into a subsidiary of the British company; a factory in Oberhausen in the Ruhr district made the boiler designed by the American engineers.[8]
  • In 1902, the New York City's first subway is powered by B&W boilers.[9]
  • During 1907 and 1909 Theodore Roosevelt's Great White Fleet were powered by B&W Boilers.
  • In 1923, both Babcock & Wilcox Ltd and The Babcock & Wilcox Company buy into The Goldie & McCulloch Company Ltd of Cambridge, Ontario, to form Babcock-Wilcox & Goldie-McCulloch Ltd in Canada.[10]
  • In 1929, B&W installs the world's first commercial size recovery boiler using the magnesium bisulfite process in Quebec, Canada.[11]
  • Between 1941 and 1945 B&W designed and delivered 4,100 marine boilers for combat and merchant ships, including 95 percent of the US fleet in Tokyo Bay at Japanese surrender.
  • In 1942, the company developed the cyclone furnace.
  • Between 1943 and 1945, B&W provided components, materials and process development for Manhattan Project.[4]
  • In 1948, Babcock and Wilcox was at the center of a labor dispute with the United Stone and Allied Products Workers of America. The National Labor Relations Board held that during captive audience meetings, the union was entitled to equal time. This was later overturned in Livingston Shirt Corp.[12][13]
  • Between 1949 and 1952, B&W provided the 8 boilers for the SS United States, the fastest ocean liner ever constructed.
  • Between 1953 and 1955, B&W designed and fabricated components for USS Nautilus (SSN-571), world's first nuclear-powered submarine.
  • In 1961, B&W designed and supplied reactors for world's first commercial nuclear ship NS Savannah.
  • In 1962, B&W designed and furnished reactor systems for B&W's first commercial reactor, Indian Point, NY, using HEU 233.
  • In 1967, the name of Babcock-Wilcox & Goldie-McCulloch Ltd is changed to Babcock & Wilcox Canada Ltd.[10]
  • In 1975, B&W designed and built components for liquid metal fast breeder reactors.
  • In 1975, the long-term business agreements with the British Babcock & Wilcox Ltd were ended. Subsequently, the British company was renamed Babcock International Group plc.
  • In 1978, B&W designed and built the nuclear reactor that was involved in the Three Mile Island accident.
  • In 1999, B&W was awarded the contract to develop fuel cells and steam reforming for US Navy.
  • On February 22, 2000, B&W filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in part as a result of thousands of claims for personal injury due to prolonged exposure to asbestos and asbestos fibers. Claims included asbestosis, lung cancer, pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. As a condition of emerging from bankruptcy, B&W created a trust fund to compensate victims for amounts far less than settlements paid in individual personal injury lawsuits.[14][15]
  • After B&W emerged from bankruptcy in 2006, B&W and BWX Technologies, both subsidiaries of the McDermott International, Inc., merged on 26 November 2007 to form The Babcock & Wilcox Companies, headed by President John Fees. The old company logo was changed.[16]
  • On June 10, 2009, B&W unveiled B&W Modular Nuclear Energy, LLC (B&W MNE).[17] On the same day, B&W MNE announced its plans to design and develop the B&W mPower reactor, a modular, scalable nuclear reactor. The B&W mPower reactor design is a 125 megawatt, passively safe Advanced Light Water Reactor (ALWR) (a Generation III reactor) with a below-ground containment structure.[18] The reactor is set to be manufactured in a factory, shipped by rail, then buried underground.[19][20]
  • On May 12, 2010, B&W announced that it and its subsidiaries would be spun off from its parent company, McDermott International, Inc.[21] The headquarters moved from Lynchburg, Virginia to Charlotte.[22] and the company became The Babcock & Wilcox Company.
  • On August 2, 2010, B&W began trading on the New York Stock Exchange as BWC.[23]
  • On June 30, 2015, Babcock & Wilcox completed a spinoff from BWX Technologies, its former parent company. The two companies began trading separately on July 1 when Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises, Inc. was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol: BW.[24]
  • On September 24, 2018, Babcock & Wilcox announced that it would move its corporate headquarters from Charlotte to Akron, Ohio, into space formerly occupied by the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company prior to its move to a new building nearby.
  • On December 30, 2019, Babcock & Wilcox relocated its corporate headquarters from Barberton, Ohio, to Akron, Ohio.


The company had works association football teams which played at senior level in Scotland and the United States; Babcock & Wilcox F.C. reached the second round of the Scottish Cup on two occasions, and the American side was runner-up once in the American Cup.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2023 Annual Report (Form 10-K)". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. March 15, 2024.
  2. ^ "The Babcock & Wilcox Company". Encyclopedia.com. Thomson Gale. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b Steam/its generation and use, 41st Edition
  4. ^ a b "About B&W - History". Archived from the original on 1 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  5. ^ Swett, Steven C. (30 June 2022). The Metalworkers. The Baltimore Museum of Industry. pp. 214–220. ISBN 978-0-578-28250-3.
  6. ^ "Records of Babcock International Group plc Archived 2012-07-14 at the Wayback Machine." Glasgow University Archive Services
  7. ^ نورایی. کارخانه قند کهریزک و اسناد نویافته. تاریخ روابط خارجی. 2007 Dec 22;33(8):32-90.
  8. ^ "Deutsche Babcock AG--Company History". fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
  9. ^ "Records of Babcock International Group plc, boiler makers and engineers, England". Archived from the original on 2012-12-23. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
  10. ^ a b "History". www.babcock.com. Retrieved 2017-09-11.
  11. ^ "B&W Power Generation Group: Company History". Archived from the original on 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2009-04-01.
  12. ^ Babcock & Wilcox, 77 577 (NLRB 1948).
  13. ^ Livingston Shirt Corp., 107 NLRB 400 (1953).
  14. ^ "Babcock & Wilcox Bankruptcy Reorganization Bar Date Notice and Claims Process Begins; Includes Apollo and Parks Township, Pennsylvania Nuclear Contamination And Radiation Claims". Archived from the original on 2016-03-13. Retrieved 2022-01-25.
  15. ^ "McDermott Announces Bankruptcy Court Action on Babcock & Wilcox's Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization". www.mcdermott-investors.com. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  16. ^ "Babcock & Wilcox restructures operations : Other News - World Nuclear News". www.world-nuclear-news.org. Retrieved 2021-09-08.
  17. ^ Babcock & Wilcox plans modular reactor Archived June 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ B&W unveils modular nuclear power design
  19. ^ DiSavino, Scott (Jun 10, 2009). "McDermott B&W unit unveils small nuclear reactor". Reuters. Retrieved Jun 10, 2009.
  20. ^ Katherine Ling and GreenWire (June 10, 2009). "Company Calls New Small Nuclear Reactor a 'Game Changer'". The New York Times. Retrieved June 10, 2009.
  21. ^ Gentry, B.:[1], The News & Advance, May 12, 2010
  22. ^ Peralta, Katherine (June 9, 2015). "Babcock & Wilcox approves spinoff, sets split date for July 1". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved July 3, 2015.
  23. ^ "The Babcock & Wilcox Company Begins Trading Today on the New York Stock Exchange". BUSINESS WIRE. Aug 2, 2010. Retrieved Aug 4, 2010.
  24. ^ Downey, John (July 1, 2015). "Babcock & Wilcox completes spinoff; two independent companies begin public trading". Charlotte Business Journal. Retrieved July 2, 2015.

External links[edit]

  • Business data for Babcock & Wilcox:
  • Official website
  • Babcock & Wilcox Co. (1919). Steam, Its Generation and Use, 35th ed., Bartlett Orr Press at Project Gutenberg