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Esterline Technologies
Traded as
FoundedIndianapolis, Indiana, 1906
FounderJohn Esterline
Number of locations
Over 50 locations
Area served
Key people
Curtis Reusser, CEO
Number of employees
Over 12,000
ParentTransDigm Group
DivisionsAvionics & Controls
Sensors & Systems
Advanced Materials

Esterline Technologies Corporation was a publicly traded company that designs, manufactures, and markets specialty products primarily for aerospace and defense customers.[1][2] The company is best known as a supplier of products and equipment for aerospace companies such as Boeing and Airbus;[3][4] and for American and allied military forces.[5][6][7][8]

Esterline is based in Bellevue, Washington.[2] Curtis Reusser serves as company chairman, president, and CEO.[2]

On March 14, 2019, TransDigm successfully completed the acquisition of Esterline Technologies Corporation (formerly NYSE:ESL).[9]


Early history[edit]

Esterline was founded in 1906 by John Esterline, an electrical engineer and former head of the electrical engineering department at Purdue University.[10][11] Esterline originally made magnets and recording devices.[12] The company was renamed the Esterline-Angus Company when Esterline began working with Donald J. Angus.[11][13]

Esterline-Angus merged with Boyar-Schultz, Inc., a manufacturer of surface grinding materials, in 1967.[5] The newly merged company was renamed Esterline Corporation.[5] Esterline went public in 1968.[6] Later that year, the company entered the aerospace and defense sectors with its acquisition of Babcock Electronics.[5]

The company began acquiring medical supply and equipment companies in 1969.[5] By the early 1970s, the company held businesses specializing in ophthalmic goods and hearing aids.[5] The company had sold the majority of its healthcare businesses and subsidiaries by 1978 when Esterline sold its hearing aid manufacturing business.[5] After exiting the healthcare sector, Esterline had acquired 20 additional companies by 1986.[6]

Aerospace and defense[edit]

In 1987, after releasing poor financial reports, the Esterline board dismissed the company's entire executive team including then-chief executive officer Thomas Howes.[5][14] Later that year, Esterline appointed seven new senior officers, all of whom were affiliated with Criton Technologies, an aerospace manufacturer.[15] Criton Technologies was wholly owned by Dyson-Kissner-Moran (DKM), a New York City-based investment firm that had also been Esterline's largest shareholder since the firm bought Esterline in 1967 and took it public in 1968.[15] Carroll Martenson, Criton's chairman, was appointed chairman and CEO of Esterline.[15] Esterline also relocated from Darien, Connecticut to Bellevue, Washington in order to share its headquarters with Criton Technologies.[16] The company had been located in Darien, Connecticut since 1975.[12]

The new management team reorganized the company and sold underperforming businesses and subsidiaries.[5] In 1989, Esterline purchased DKM's remaining 23% share in the company and Criton Technologies' aerospace and defense businesses for a collective $147.5 million.[17][18] The company was then renamed Esterline Technologies.

By the early 1990s Esterline operated in ten separate industries[19] and the company refocused itself on the defense and aerospace sectors. Esterline also changed chief executives in 1992, with company president and COO Wendell Hurlbut succeeding the retiring Carroll Martenson.[20] Robert Cremin succeeded Hurlbut in January 1999.[21] Cremin had served in executive positions for the company for 22 years, and had most recently served as company president and COO.[21]

From 1997 to 2003, Esterline acquired 22 companies while selling businesses that did not fit the company's new focus. Esterline's acquisitions included Fluid Regulators Corporation, a manufacturer of hydrologic controls for the commercial aviation and defense industries;[22] Kai R. Kuhl Company, a manufacturer of seals for the aerospace industry;[23] Kirkhill Rubber, a manufacturer of custom molded engineered elastomers for the aerospace industry;[23] and Advanced Input Devices, a manufacturer of custom keyboards and multifunction data-input subsystems.[24] The company also expanded its European business with acquisitions of Muirhead Vactric and Norcroft Dynamics, two United Kingdom-based manufacturers of aerospace parts.[25]

Esterline continued its acquisition push into the defense and aerospace industries throughout the 2000s. In 2002, the company acquired the BAE Systems' North American electronic warfare countermeasures business.[26] The deal consisted of two facilities, which manufactured anti-radar chaff and aircraft-dispensable flares designed to thwart infrared homing missiles.[26] The company purchased Leach International in 2004 for $145 million.[27] Esterline had been attempting to acquire Leach since 1994 and the deal was Esterline's largest acquisition at the time.[27] Leach was a manufacturer of controls and analytical instruments for aerospace and medical diagnostics.[28]

Esterline acquired Darchem Holdings, a British manufacturer of thermally engineered aerospace and defense products including ducting systems and heat shields, in 2005. That year, 80% of Esterline's revenue came from the company's aerospace and defense business, up from 17% in 1995.[19] In 2006, Esterline purchased Wallop Defence, a British manufacturer of electronic warfare countermeasures, including flares.[29] The company then acquired CMC Electronics, a Canadian aerospace and defense avionics manufacturer in 2007 for $335 million (USD).[30]

In 2009, Esterline acquired Racal Acoustics, a British manufacturer of combat communications equipment ranging from noise-canceling communication headsets to secure telephone networks for use in active battlefields.[31] R. Bradley "Brad" Lawrence succeeded Robert Cremin as Esterline CEO in November of that year.[32] Lawrence had worked at Esterline since 2002, most recently serving as company president and COO since June 2009.[33] Cremin stepped aside to take on the Chairmanship of Dover Corporation.[32]

Esterline continued its expansion into the military communications and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) markets with its purchase of Eclipse Electronic Systems, a manufacturer of signal and communication intelligence hardware for aerospace applications in 2011.[34] Later that year, Esterline acquired the Souriau Group, a French aerospace and defense connector company, for $715 million.[35]

In September 2013, Esterline appointed Curtis Reusser to succeed Brad Lawrence as the company's CEO.[36] Reusser had formerly served as president of United Technologies Corporation's aircraft systems business.[36] Esterline then acquired Joslyn Sunbank Company, an aerospace connector accessory supplier, a few months later in December 2013.[37] In February 2015, Esterline acquired the defense and aerospace division of the Belgium-based display manufacturer, Barco.[38][39] In February 2017, the company announced a new advanced displays engineering and manufacturing facility in Kortrjik, Belgium called the "Spidle" site.[40]

Esterline is the producer of the well known Korry switches and control devices used in most airliners and flight simulators on the market, including Airbus, Boeing and others.[41]

Corporate structure[edit]

Esterline manufactures products for the aerospace, defense and general industry sectors.[2] The company is organized into three segments: Avionics & Controls; Sensors & Systems; and Advanced Materials.[2]

The Avionics & Controls segment manufactures avionics equipment and communication systems for both commercial and military applications.[2] The Sensors & Systems segment manufactures connectors, sensors and power management systems, which are primarily used in the aerospace industry.[2] The Advanced Materials segment manufactures elastomer products and thermal components for commercial and military applications; and military ordnance and electronic warfare countermeasures.[2]


  • 2003 - Weston Group [42]
  • 2003 - AVISTA, Incorporated[43]
  • 2004 - Leach International[27]
  • 2005 - Palomar Products, Inc.[44]
  • 2005 - Darchem Engineering Limited[45]
  • 2006 - Wallop Defence Systems Ltd.[29]
  • 2007 - CMC Electronics Inc.[30]
  • 2008 - NMC Aerospace (Nylon Molding Corporation)[46]
  • 2009 - Racal Acoustics[31]
  • 2010 - Eclipse Electronic System[34]
  • 2011 - Souriau[35]
  • 2013 - Gamesman[47]
  • 2013 - Sunbank[37]
  • 2015 - Barco Defense and Aerospace[38]


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  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Esterline Technologies Corporation 10-K". United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  3. ^ Steve Wilhelm (20 July 2012). "State firms may face uphill climb selling parts to Airbus". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  4. ^ Gianni Truzzi (January 2013). "Titans of Tomorrow: Esterline Technologies". Seattle Business. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Derek Jacques; Paula Kepos, eds. (2012). "Esterline Technologies Corporation". International Directory of Company Histories. 132. Detroit: St. James Press. pp. 116–120.
  6. ^ a b c "History". Hoover's. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  7. ^ Rupert Neate (23 December 2008). "Racal Acoustics management make £13m from sale". The Telegraph. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  8. ^ Steve Wilhelm (9 March 2012). "Esterline Technologies balances military cutbacks with commercial business". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  9. ^ "TransDigm acquires Esterline Technologies". Shepard Press. March 20, 2019. Retrieved June 11, 2020.
  10. ^ Kristina Shevory. (July 10, 2004). "Bellevue, Wash.-based aerospace firm makes biggest acquisition yet". Seattle Times, The (WA).
  11. ^ a b John W. Esterline. "The Story of Electricity". p. 341. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  12. ^ a b Kevin Harlin (April 8, 2008). "Component Maker's Gadgets And Gizmos Keep Airplanes Aloft". Investor's Business Daily.
  13. ^ "The Donald J. Angus Papers". Case Western Reserve University. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Esterline's Howes Resigns as President, Chief and a Director". The Wall Street Journal. August 19, 1987.
  15. ^ a b c "Esterline Corp. Picks Seven Senior Officers". The Wall Street Journal. November 2, 1987.
  16. ^ "Esterline to Relocate To Bellevue, Wash". The Wall Street Journal. October 13, 1987.
  17. ^ "Company Briefs". The New York Times. September 12, 1989.
  18. ^ "Chicago Bank to Back Esterline". American Banker. October 10, 1989.
  19. ^ a b Steve Watkins (March 31, 2005). "Esterline Technologies Bellevue, Washington; Focus On Aerospace, Defense Is Paying Off". Investor's Business Daily.
  20. ^ "Esterline Technologies Corp". The Wall Street Journal. September 18, 1992.
  21. ^ a b "The Seattle Times Business Digest Column". KRTBN Knight-Ridder Tribune Business News: The Seattle Times. January 20, 1999.
  22. ^ "Esterline acquires Ohio hydraulic controls firm". Aerospace Daily. November 10, 1997.
  23. ^ a b Justin Boyd Rubber & Plastics News Staff (August 24, 1998). "Esterline to buy Kirkhill Rubber". Rubber & Plastics News.
  24. ^ "The Seattle Times Business Digest Column". KRTBN Knight-Ridder Tribune Business News: The Seattle Times - Washington. December 3, 1999.
  25. ^ "Esterline's Silvermines Deal". The Wall Street Journal. September 24, 1999.
  26. ^ a b "Esterline Technologies to acquire BAE Systems' EW Passive Expendables Division". Military Technology. August 1, 2002.
  27. ^ a b c Sherri Cruz (July 19, 2004). "Aerospace Contractor Leach Being Sold for $145 Million". Orange County Business Journal.
  28. ^ "Esterline to Buy Maker of Electrical Gear". The New York Times. July 10, 2004.
  29. ^ a b "Esterline Acquires Military Flare-Maker Wallop Defence in $59 Million Cash Deal". InDEFENSE. March 27, 2006.
  30. ^ a b Bert Hill (February 2, 2007). "U.S. aviation firm buys CMC Electronics: Deal gives Esterline new presence in military aircraft cockpit systems". The Ottawa Citizen.
  31. ^ a b Joseph C. Anselmo (January 5, 2009). "Esterline Snags U.K. milcom provider". Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.
  32. ^ a b "Esterline Corp". Aviation Week & Space Technology. September 28, 2009.
  33. ^ "People". Avionics. August 15, 2009.
  34. ^ a b "UPDATE 1-Esterline buys signals intelligence firm for $120 mln". Reuters News. January 3, 2011.
  35. ^ a b Madhu Unnikrishnan (May 6, 2011). "Esterline To Acquire Souriau Group For $715M". Aerospace Daily & Defense Report.
  36. ^ a b Ben Miller (13 September 2013). "Esterline names Reusser new CEO". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  37. ^ a b Ben Miller (20 December 2013). "Esterline buys Sunbank for $45M". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  38. ^ a b Harrison, Kirby (June 15, 2015). "Esterline CMC Shows Expanded Portfolio". Aviation Week. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  39. ^ Epstein, Curt (June 10, 2015). "Barco Buy Boosts CMC's Product Range With More Displays". Aviation International News. Retrieved December 4, 2015.
  40. ^ "Esterline Inaugurates 'Spidle' Avionics Site in Belgium".
  41. ^ Korry Switches and Controls
  42. ^ "Esterline Finalizes Acquisition of Weston Aerospace; Expands Esterline's Position in High-End Aerospace Sensors". Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  43. ^ "Esterline Acquires Software Engineering Firm Specializing In Aerospace Applications".
  44. ^ "Esterline Acquires Palomar Products, Secure Communications Specialists". 6 July 2005.
  45. ^ "Esterline buys niche manufacturer for $120M". Puget Sound Business Journal. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  46. ^ "Specialized Fasteners Extend Esterline's Advanced Materials Product Offering". Aviation Pros. Retrieved 30 November 2014.
  47. ^ "Esterline Interface Technologies Acquires Gamesman Limited". Casino Enterprise Management. 5 February 2013. Archived from the original on 20 December 2014. Retrieved 30 November 2014.

External links[edit]