Open main menu

Federal Signal Corporation

  (Redirected from Thunderbolt siren)

Federal Signal Corporation is a global corporation with about 3,300 employees, headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois. Federal Signal is best known[citation needed] for building and delivering equipment that moves material, cleans infrastructure, and protects the communities where people work and live. The Company operates two groups: Environmental Solutions and Safety and Security Systems.

Federal Signal Corporation
Traded asNYSEFSS
S&P 600 Component
ISINUS3138551086 Edit this on Wikidata
IndustryPublic safety
HeadquartersOak Brook, Illinois, United States
Key people
Jennifer Sherman, President & CEO
ProductsEmergency vehicle equipment, warning sirens and public safety solutions[buzzword]
RevenueIncrease$1 billion+ USD (reference: 2018 10K)
Number of employees

Environmental Solutions Group is a leading[citation needed] manufacturer and supplier of a full[citation needed] range of street sweeper vehicles, sewer cleaner and vacuum loader trucks, hydro-excavation trucks, high-performance waterblasting equipment, dump truck bodies and trailers. The Group manufactures vehicles and equipment in the U.S. and Canada that are sold under the Elgin®, Vactor®, Guzzler®, Westech™, Jetstream®, Ox Bodies®, Crysteel®, J-Craft®, Duraclass®, Rugby® and Travis® brand names.[citation needed]

Safety and Security Systems Group is a leading manufacturer and supplier of comprehensive systems and products that law enforcement, fire rescue, emergency medical services, campuses, military facilities and industrial sites use to protect people and property. Offerings include systems for campus and community alerting, emergency vehicles, first responder interoperable communications and industrial communications, as well as municipal networked security. Specific products include vehicle lightbars and sirens, public warning sirens, general alarm systems, public address systems and public safety software. Products are sold under the Federal Signal™, Federal Signal VAMA® and Victor® brand names. The Group operates manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Europe and South Africa.[1]

Federal Signal was founded in Chicago, Illinois, in 1901 as Federal Electric Co. by John Goehst and James and John Gilchrist.[2] Samuel Insull later acquired the company. The company went public in 1969 under the leadership of Robert T. Gilchrist. Currently, the company has 14 manufacturing facilities in five different countries.[3]


Federal Signal was founded as the Federal Electric Company in 1901 by brothers John and James Gilchrist and partner John Goehst, manufacturing and selling store signs lit by incandescent lamps. By 1915, they began manufacturing and selling electrically operated mechanical sirens (such as the Q Siren and the Model 66 Siren).

During this time, Federal Electric came under the ownership of Commonwealth Edison, eventually becoming a part of the utility empire of Samuel Insull.

By the 1950s, the company was manufacturing outdoor warning sirens, most notably the Thunderbolt series, primarily intended for warning of air raids or fallout during the Cold War. Many of these sirens have been removed, but some still operate in tornado siren systems. Longtime engineer Earl Gosswiller patented the Beacon-Ray and TwinSonic products, which set the standard for emergency vehicle lightbars.

In 1956, the company became a corporation, renaming itself "Federal Sign and Signal Corporation". By this time, it made outdoor warning sirens, police sirens, fire alarms, and outdoor lighting.

By 1961, Federal Sign and Signal had gone public, trading on the NASDAQ market. This was when new products started being manufactured and sold, such as the Federal Signal Model 2. In 1976, the company became Federal Signal Corporation.

On Feb 22, 2000, Federal Signal Corporation announced the signing of a definitive agreement for the acquisition of P.C.S. Company ("P.C.S.").[4]

On June 27, 2005, Federal Signal Corporation announced the signing of a joint venture agreement to establish a Chinese company, Federal Signal (Shanghai) Environmental & Sanitary Vehicle Company Limited, based near Shanghai, China.[5]

On February 29, 2016, Federal Signal announced the signing of a definitive agreement for the acquisition of Joe Johnson Equipment and the rights to the name and company.[6]

On July 2, 2019, Federal Signal completed the acquisition of the assets and operations of Mark Rite Lines Equipment Company, Inc. (“MRL”), a leading U.S. manufacturer of truck-mounted and ride-on road-marking equipment. The acquisition includes the operations of HighMark Traffic Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of MRL, which provides road-marking services, primarily within the state of Montana. The signing of the purchase agreement was previously announced on May 14, 2019.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "2018 10K". Feb 28, 2019.
  2. ^ "Federal Signal Corp". Company Histories. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Who We Are". Federal Signal. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  4. ^ "Federal Signal Annual Report, 2001, See note K". September 3, 2019.
  5. ^ "Federal Signal Corporation Announces Establishment of Federal Signal Environmental & Sanitary Vehicle Company, Ltd".
  6. ^ "Federal Signal Executes Agreement to Acquire Joe Johnson Equipment". PR Newswire. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
  7. ^ "Federal Signal Completes Acquisition of Mark Rite Lines Equipment Company, Inc" (PDF). Federal Signal. July 2, 2019.