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SimplexGrinnell History 
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SimplexGrinnell was established in 2001 in the United States of America, when Simplex and Grinnell Fire Protection – two longtime leaders in the fire and life-safety industry – joined forces under Tyco International.

Simplex had been founded in Gardner, Massachusetts in 1894 as a time clock company. E.G. Watkins, the founder of Simplex, is credited with inventing the first practical time clock. Simplex operated for over a century under the private ownership of the Watkins family, expanding its business in the 1950s into fire alarm and other building systems. Simplex was acquired in December 2000 by Tyco International, a diversified, global company that provides vital products and services to customers in more than 60 countries. At the time of the acquisition, Simplex had established a reputation as the leader in electronic fire alarm systems.

The history of Grinnell can be traced back to the 1850 founding of Providence Gas & Steam Company. In 1869, Frederick Grinnell bought the majority stake of that company. In 1881, he was awarded a patent for the first automatic sprinkler. In 1883, he merged three companies to form the General Fire Extinguisher Company. General Fire Extinguisher changed its name in 1944 to Grinnell Corporation, which built a reputation as the North American leader in fire sprinkler and suppression products, systems and services. Grinnell was acquired by Tyco in 1976. 

The rich heritage of Simplex and Grinnell is in evidence today at SimplexGrinnell. The legacy of commitment and innovation that defined Simplex and Grinnell from the start remains a guiding influence on our current-day operations and growth. We carry forward the vision and dedication that Frederick Grinnell brought to the fledgling fire sprinkler industry over 140 years ago. And we continue to embrace the pioneering spirit that Simplex exhibited in driving the evolution of automatic fire alarm systems. That’s all part of the fabric of the company now as SimplexGrinnell continues to lead the industry with innovative products, services and solutions.


Learn more about our ability to meet your life-safety needs by contacting your nearest SimplexGrinnell district office. For Financing and other services we offer, click here.

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