In 1904, Weston Fulton, a visionary meteorologist from the University of Tennessee, introduced the groundbreaking thermodynamic innovation known as the “sylphon,” drawing inspiration from the Norse goddess of weather. This invention marked a pivotal moment in industrial history, catalyzing sweeping changes across various sectors. The sylphon’s significant impact reached far and wide, playing a crucial role in the advancements made by the Allied forces during World War I and World War II. Its influence was so profound that the U.S. Patent Office established a dedicated section for sylphon-related spin-offs due to the surge of innovations it inspired.
Over the decades, Fulton’s work and company underwent transformative milestones. In 1928, the Fulton Sylphon Co. was acquired by Reynolds Metals, leading to the formation of Robertshaw-Fulton Controls alongside three other Reynolds subsidiaries. This conglomerate would eventually be renamed Robertshaw Controls and would pioneer the automotive thermostat based on Fulton’s bellows designs. The acquisition of Robertshaw by Siebe Automotive in 1986, later renamed Invensys, laid the foundation for further developments within Fulton Bellows.
A pivotal juncture occurred in March of 2000 when Fulton Bellows & Components Inc. emerged as an independent entity under the ownership of American Capital. Expanding its horizons, Fulton Bellows acquired and relocated bellows and bellows assembly products and equipment from the Standard-Thomson company in Waltham, Mass., to Knoxville, TN. In 2004, Fulton Bellows & Components, Inc. transformed into Fulton Bellows, LLC, now owned by Morris Capital, ushering in a new era for the company’s identity and operations.
Fulton’s growth continued over the subsequent years. In 2014, Fulton Bellows expanded its capabilities through a merger with Cliflex Bellows in South Boston, Mass., a move that brought not only assets but also valuable expertise and personnel. The company’s evolution persisted with its acquisition by the United Flexible group from Romeoville, Illinois, in 2016, and again in 2019 by Smiths, integrating it into the Flex-Tek group. Throughout these changes in ownership and management, Fulton Bellows upheld its manufacturing legacy.
Across its storied history, Fulton Bellows has demonstrated resilience, adaptability, and innovation. From Weston Fulton’s pioneering sylphon to its numerous restructurings and acquisitions, the company’s journey stands as a testament to the dynamic nature of the industry and its unwavering ability to navigate challenges and evolve while striving for excellence.
To provide world class thin walled metal formed products that enhance people’s lives.
To become the world’s first choice for precision metal bellows.