Early innovation and invention prompt founding
With a history that includes the invention of flame-cutting torches and more than 100 years of manufacturing excellence, The Harris Products Group has a firm foundation in the equipment and alloys used in brazing, soldering, welding, cutting, heating and gas control.
Beginning in 1899, John Harris discovered the oxy-acetylene method of cutting while conducting research on the manufacture of synthetic rubies. While working on the materials, he accidentally cut the metal plate beneath the synthetic ruby, discovering the world's first flame-cutting torch.
He exhibited the torch at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair and started Harris Calorific in 1905. Harris continued to refine its gas torches and started manufacturing related accessories, including gas pressure regulators. In 1926, the company was purchased by the U.S. Welding Co., and it became a part of Emerson Electric Co. in 1973.
Meanwhile, in 1914, Joseph W. Harris founded the J.W. Harris Company, specializing in the distribution and repair of specialized parts for automotive and farm vehicles. The company later expanded into welding alloys and accessories. In 1984, the company purchased Unibraze Corp., another welding and brazing filler metals company, and they continued their expansion with the acquisition of Thermacote Welco Co. in 1993. Autobraze, a manufacturer of precision brazing rings and return bends, was acquired in 2005.
For both companies, the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s brought about expansion into other areas of the world. By 1963, Harris Calorific had diversified into anesthesia equipment and other medical gas applications. Both companies also explored international markets, including a J.W. Harris international distribution center in Spain.
Lincoln Electric acquires the two companies
Recognizing the complementary product offerings that both Harris Calorific and J.W. Harris had to offer, Lincoln Electric acquired both companies. In 1990, Lincoln Electric purchased Harris Calorific from Emerson Electric. And in 2005, the global company purchased the privately-held J.W. Harris. With headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, Lincoln Electric has manufacturing operations, joint ventures and alliances in 18 countries and a worldwide network of distributors and sales offices covering more than 160 countries.
Birth of a new company with both equipment and alloys
The companies were officially combined on May 1, 2006, creating the Harris Products Group. Since that formation, additional companies offering complementary products have joined the group.
In 2005, Lincoln Electric also acquired Gulf Wire Corporation, a manufacturer of aluminum and stainless welding alloys, and Filler Metals, a supplier of niche welding alloys. The companies were also folded into the Harris Products Group, further expanding the company’s diverse product offerings.
The combined company offers excellence in the manufacture of:
- Gas welding and cutting equipment
- Industrial and specialty gas regulation equipment
- Gas distribution systems
- Brazing and soldering alloys
- Welding alloys
- Pre-formed bends, rings and return bends