Textron Inc. is an American industrial conglomerate based in Providence, Rhode Island. Textron's subsidiaries include Arctic Cat, Bell Helicopter, Textron Aviation (which itself includes the Beechcraft, Hawker and Cessna brands), and Lycoming Engines. It was founded by Royal Little in 1923 as the Special Yarns Company. In 2018, Textron employed over 37,000 people worldwide. The company ranked 208th on the 2018 Fortune 500 of the largest United States corporations by revenue.
Textron started as a textile company in 1923, when 27-year-old Royal Little founded the Special Yarns Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts. The company manufactured synthetic yarns, a niche product at the time. By the start of World War II, the company was known as Atlantic Rayon Corporation and manufactured parachutes. As war production wound down, the company started making civilian products as well and was renamed Textron: “Tex" for "textiles" and "tron" from synthetics such as "Lustron". The company was listed on the NYSE in 1947.
Royal Little began the process of turning Textron into a conglomerate in 1953, with the purchase of Burkart Manufacturing Company (upholstery filling for automotive industry) in September 1953, followed by the purchase of Dalmo-Victor (airborne Radar Antennae) and MB Manufacturing Company in early 1954. The push for diversification would see Textron purchase various other manufacturing companies. In 1960, the company also bought Bell Aerospace and E-Z-Go. The textile division was sold to Deering Milliken in 1963.
Later CEOs included G. William Miller (1968–1977), Joseph Collinson (1977–1979) and Robert P. Straetz (1979–1986). In 1984, Textron took on more debt and bought Avco, a conglomerate almost as big as itself. Later on, James Hardymon took over as CEO.
Hardymon brought in Lewis B. Campbell, who became CEO in 1998. Starting in 2000, Campbell led a company-wide restructuring program. The share price fell to as low as $13/share in March 2003 after the economic downturn following the collapse of Internet companies and the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Diminished demand for helicopters and airplanes led to layoffs at Cessna and Bell Helicopter. In 2004, Forbes magazine named Campbell as the fifth worst-performing CEO in the country.
Scott C. Donnelly became CEO in December 2009. Textron acquired Mechtronix in Montreal, Quebec and OPINICUS in Tampa, Florida, in 2013. Donnelly combined these flight simulation companies, along with Textron’s AAI Logistics & Technical Services, to form TRU Simulation & Training in 2014.
On December 26, 2013, Textron agreed to purchase Beechcraft, including the discontinued Hawker jet line, for $1.4 billion. The sale was expected to be concluded in the first half of 2014. The company formed a new company called Textron Aviation to market the products of Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker as individual brands.
From 2013 to 2016, R&D investments were 4.3%, 4.0%, 4.6% and 4.2% of its revenues ($13.78 billion in 2016) and totaled more than $2.2 billion as it develops seven aircraft: the Bell 525 Relentless, Bell V-280 Valor tiltrotor, Cessna Citation Longitude, Cessna Citation Hemisphere, Cessna Denali single-engine turboprop, the Cessna SkyCourier twin cargo hauler and the Textron Scorpion close support jet after the certification of the Bell 505 Jet Ranger X.
Able Aerospace Services
On March 6, 2017, Textron bought out Arctic Cat for US$247M. Arctic Cat is a manufacturer of snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and side-by-sides. Textron operates Arctic Cat as a subsidiary of Textron Specialized Vehicles.
Acquired by Textron in 1960, E-Z-GO is a designer and manufacturer of light transportation vehicles for golf courses, planned communities, campuses and other uses. Products include electric and internal combustion golf carts, low speed vehicles and other multipurpose utility vehicles under the E-Z-Go, Cushman and Bad Boy Buggy brands.
Greenlee Textron is an industrial and electrical tool company headquartered in Rockford, Illinois. It was founded in 1862 by brothers Robert and Ralph Greenlee to manufacture their invention, a drill surrounded by four chisel blades, used in making the pockets for a mortise and tenon joint for the furniture industry in Rockford. This device is still used in cabinetmaking. The brothers later diversified into a variety of hand woodworking tools as well as machinery for making wooden barrels. The company was acquired by Textron in 1986. Greenlee produces various wire and cable installation tools that are used in a variety of fields. On April 18, 2018 Textron announced that it would sell its Greenlee brand to Emerson Electric.
Textron purchased Jacobsen Manufacturing around 1975 and continued to produce Jacobsen garden tractors into the 1990s. Today, Jacobsen sells various products used for turf care: maintenance equipment, vehicles and other products.
Kautex Textron is a supplier to the automotive industry. The company produces plastic fuel systems, selective catalytic reduction systems, windshield and headlamp washer systems and other products. As of Aug 2019, Textron Inc. is looking to spin off or sell this division to focus on higher margin parts of their business.
- Beechcraft Corporation is an American manufacturer of general aviation and military aircraft, ranging from light, single-engined aircraft to twin-engined turboprop transports and military trainers.
- The Cessna Aircraft Company is an American general aviation aircraft manufacturing corporation headquartered in Wichita, Kansas. It was merged into Textron Aviation in March 2014.
Textron Systems is an aerospace and defense development and manufacturing firm headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island. The company reported 2012 annual sales in the Textron Systems segment as $1.7 billion.
Its operating units are:
- Support Solutions, Electronic Solutions, Unmanned Systems (Hunt Valley, Maryland)
- Advanced Information Solutions (Austin, Texas)
- Geospatial Solutions (Sterling, Virginia)
- Lycoming Engines (Williamsport, Pennsylvania)
- Marine & Land Systems (Slidell, Louisiana)
- TRU Simulation & Training (Goose Creek, South Carolina)
- Weapon & Sensor Systems (Wilmington, Massachusetts): a maker of weapons such as anti-vehicle mines  and surveillance systems.
Textron bought and acquired AAI Corporation in 2007, which has now evolved into the Support Solutions, Electronic Systems and Unmanned Systems business units mentioned above. AAI Corporation has developed and fielded products such as the RQ-7B Shadow UAV and various ground control technologies such as the One System Ground Control Station (OSGCS) and the Universal Ground Control Station (UGCS).
- "2015 Textron Annual Report" (PDF). Textron. 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2018. Cite journal requires
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- "Fortune 500 Companies 2018". fortune.com. Retrieved March 18, 2019.
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- Vartan, Vartanig G. (April 17, 1963). "TEXTRON LEAVES TEXTILE BUSINESS; Sells Its Ameroton Division to Deering Milliken, Inc. Stock Eases by 1955 Mergers Recalled". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
- Michael Brush, “The Sky’s No Limit for CEO Perks,” MSN Money (moneycentral.msn.com), October 17, 2007, citing Paul Hodgson, Up, Up, and Away: Personal Use of the Corporate Jet, The Corporate Library, September 4, 2007.
- "About Textron: Leadership: Biography". Textron.com. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
- "Textron buys Beechcraft in $1.4 billion deal". kansas.com. Archived from the original on December 27, 2013. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
- "Textron to buy Beechcraft parent for $1.4bn". flightglobal.com. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
- AVweb Staff (December 26, 2013). "Textron Confirms Beech Acquisition". Avweb. Retrieved December 27, 2013.
- Niles, Russ (December 30, 2013). "Textron Fleshes Out Beech Deal". AVweb. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
- William Garvey (December 15, 2017). "Textron Set For Busy New Year". Aviation Week & Space Technology.
- "Textron Aviation acquires Able Engineering and Component Services - Vertical Magazine". Vertical Magazine. Retrieved July 21, 2017.
- "Textron Is Buying Snowmobile Maker Arctic Cat". fortune.com. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
- Baker, Sandra (May 11, 2017). "Bell Helicopter finds airfield site, will reduce flying over Keller". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved November 17, 2019.
- "E-Z-GO History". Textron. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
- "E-Z-GO Introduces the 2Five™". BUSINESS WIRE. June 30, 2010.
- "E-Z-GO Selected as Official Golf Car and Utility Vehicle of Universal Orlando". E-Z-GO press release. August 31, 2006. Archived from the original on June 28, 2014.
- Reuters. "Textron to sell its tool business to Ferguson-based Emerson". stltoday.com. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
- Will, Oscar H. (2009). Garden Tractors: Deere, Cub Cadet, Wheel Horse, and All the Rest, 1930s to Current. Voyageur Press. p. 55. ISBN 978-1-61673-161-8. Retrieved October 27, 2013.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- "Textron exploring options for fuel tanks unit". Reuters. August 5, 2019. Retrieved August 5, 2019.
- Niles, Russ (December 1, 2013). "Scorpion May Not Be Built By Cessna". Avweb. Retrieved January 7, 2014.
- Ismay, John (January 30, 2020). "Trump Administration Expected to Loosen Military's Limits on Land Mines" – via NYTimes.com.
- Official website
- Business data for Textron: