Our History

“You can’t run a railroad or build a dam, operate a paper mill or lay a sewer, dig an oil well or heat a hospital, or launch a battleship or even take a shower without using one of the more than 40,000-odd products that are made by Crane Co.” — Fortune magazine, July 1936

This observation in the July 1936 issue of Fortune magazine summed up our company’s position well, and within ten years of that article, aviation and high speed flight were added to the list. Today, Crane innovation can be found behind the scenes virtually everywhere, helping everyday life run efficiently. Key events in the Company’s more than 150-year history are highlighted in the timeline below.


Founding of R.T. Crane Brass & Bell Foundry in Chicago. Crane produces valves, fittings, and specialty castings for a growing industrial America.


As Northwest Manufacturing Co., Crane supplies essential steam components to the railroads and enters the steam heating business. Crane Elevator Company begins making hoists, elevators and steam engines, becoming one of the major names in the field for 30 years.


Crane pioneers improvements in manufacturing, including the use of multiple purpose machines invented by R.T. Crane and a conveyor system of moving molds and pouring metal – the beginning of line production in foundries.


Crane’s business is booming. The company operates four manufacturing facilities and employs over 1500 people. Branch houses extend the company’s business to the Western U.S.


Crane Co. is adopted as the Company name.


R.T. Crane establishes a metallurgical laboratory, probably the first in the Midwest.

Crane products have the strength and quality to meet the challenges of ever higher fluid pressures and temperatures.


Crane produces steel valves and fittings in its own steel foundries.

Crane’s rigorous approaches to metallurgical science and material testing become the model for the valve and fitting industry.


Founder R.T. Crane dies. Crane Co. is the leader in the valve and fitting business. R.T. Crane, Jr. shortly assumes the Company’s presidency.

The company builds the first truly modern factory, switching wholly to electricity for power. In Chicago, “The Great Works” built on 160 acres is the most modern factory of its time.


Crane Co. conceives the idea of the modern bathroom, creating the first practical decorative bathroom ensembles. The American bathroom becomes a sign of affluence and social pride. Crane plumbing fixtures, many designed by noted industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss, are celebrated for their styling, color and innovation.


Company-owned branch distribution operations grow to 190 from only 86 in 1920. The highlight is the lavish $1 million showroom on the Atlantic City Boardwalk.


CR listed on the New York Stock Exchange.


The Golden Gate Bridge opens with its railing material supplied by Crane Co.


To meet wartime demand, Crane increases steel valve output capacity four-fold to 25,000 tons annually. The U.S. Navy requires from 1,500 to 15,000 valves per ship.


After the war, Crane supplies flow control products for aircraft. Hydro-Aire, a manufacturer of highly developed precision aircraft products is acquired.


Crane introduces “Technical Paper 410”, building on the classic “Flow of Fluids” of 1942. Today, this quintessential guide to understanding the flow of fluids through valves, pipes and fittings is available as software.


T.M. Evans elected Chairman and CEO. A new management philosophy moves Crane to streamline the distribution network and concentrate on industrial manufacturing.


Industrial expansion is furthered through domestic and international acquisitions such as Chapman Valve, Cochrane Corporation, Deming Company and Chempump.


Crane pumps are on the moon. Hydro-Aire and Chempump pumps are used in the Gemini and Apollo Space programs.


Crane is well-positioned in four major areas of concentration: fluid and pollution control, steel, building products and aircraft/aerospace.


Crane exits the plumbing and plumbing distribution businesses in the U.S.


Crane provides braking system for the first NASA space shuttle.


R.S. Evans elected Chairman and CEO.


Evans leads Crane as a growth company with strong acquisition program in areas of fluid handling, engineered materials, merchandising systems, aerospace and controls.


Eric C. Fast elected President and CEO. He continues strategic leadership of a collection of linked businesses to move Crane from a holding company to an operating company.

Early 2000s

Foundation for future profitable growth is laid with the implementation of new Operational Excellence tools, greater development of intellectual capital, strategic linkages and strong customer focus.


Crane celebrates its 150th anniversary.


Crane Co. completes the acquisition of MEI Conlux Holdings, the largest acquisition in the history of the company.


Max H. Mitchell appointed President and CEO. He continues to execute on Crane’s longstanding strategy, moving the company further along its journey to an integrated operating company focused on three key global growth platforms: Fluid Handling, Aerospace & Electronics, and Crane Payment Innovations.


Crane Co. completes the acquisition of Crane & Co., Inc. (“Crane Currency”), the second largest acquisition in the history of the company.


On March 30, 2022, Crane announced that its Board of Directors had unanimously approved a plan to pursue a separation into two independent, publicly-traded companies to optimize investment and capital allocation, accelerate growth, and unlock shareholder value. Upon completion, Crane shareholders will benefit from ownership in two focused and simplified businesses that are both leaders in their respective industries and well-positioned for continued success.

• Crane NXT will be a premier Industrial Technology business, with substantial global scale, a best-in-class margin profile, and strong free cash flow generation.

• Crane Company will be a leading global provider of mission-critical, highly engineered products and solutions, with differentiated technology, respected brands, and leadership positions in its markets. After the separation, Crane Company will include the Aerospace & Electronics and Process Flow Technologies global strategic growth platforms, as well as the Engineered Materials segment.

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