Federal Signal Corporation

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

Federal Signal Corporation is a global corporation with about 2,800 employees located in Oak Brook, Illinois. Federal Signal designs, develops and deploys solutions intended to protect people, property and the environment under brands including Federal Signal, Elgin, Bronto, Vactor, Guzzler, Vactor, Victor, and Jetstream.

Federal Signal is best known for its variety of emergency lighting, industrial equipment, public safety solutions, and outdoor warning sirens.

Federal Signal was founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1901 as Federal Electric Co. by John Goehst and James and John Gilchrist.[1] Samuel Insull later acquired the Company. The Company went public in 1969 under the leadership of Robert T. Gilchrist. Currently, the company has 12 manufacturing facilities in six different countries.[2]


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 Federal Signal Thunderbolt series and the Federal Signal 3T22 and 2T22, 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, 3T22, 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.").[3]

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.[4]


Federal Signal 3T22[edit]

The Federal Signal 3T22 was an outdoor warning siren made from 1955 through the early 1990s. It had a ten-port rotor (chopper) on the bottom with ten cones (horns) and a 12-port one on top with twelve cones.

It was designed as dual purpose siren for both civil defense signals and fire alert signals in 1955. Similar to the model 2T22, but with the addition of solenoid operated damper plates on each air intake which when engaged would restrict air flow and mute one end of the siren at a time, producing an alternating hi-lo signal, or both end at the same time creating a pulsed signal in addition to the standard attack wail and steady alert signals.


Video of Thunderbolt 1003.

The Thunderbolt was introduced in 1952; discontinued in the early 1990s.[citation needed] Many Thunderbolts were made during the cold war for air raid warning purposes. It was advertised as having constant volume regardless of pitch.[5]

2001 Series[edit]

The 2001 was introduced in the mid 1980s under it's first model, the DC roundback. After that came the DC, which had a different rotator motor, therefor making the rotator motor box square. Next came the SRN and SRNB, these sirens removing the DCs rubber ring around the tip of the horn and each model having a different rotator. The SRN was the first to not have the thunderbolt's rotator. Then came the 2001-130 model. This model had another larger chopper motor, making the box a rectangle, this siren also had a larger horn. The 2001 is still produced today as the most popular of all of federal signal sirens. Currently, as of 2015, the model produced is the 2001-130.


  1. ^ "Federal Signal Corp.". Company Histories. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Who We Are". Federal Signal. Retrieved 14 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Federal Signal Corporation Announces Acquisition of P.C.S. Company". 
  4. ^ "Federal Signal Corporation Announces Establishment of Federal Signal Environmental & Sanitary Vehicle Company, Ltd". 
  5. ^ Unknown author and date Ad for the Thunderbolt siren

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