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The History of Edson

Edson's first New Bedford factoryIn a fine example of "Yankee Ingenuity", Jacob Edson invented the diaphragm pump, and in 1859 established The Edson Corporation in Boston, Massachusetts to manufacture and sell his pump. He continued to invent a wide range of marine products which resulted in significant growth; and in the mid 1930's the company moved to expanded facilities in New Bedford, MA. The Edson Corporation is now recognized as one of the oldest continuously operating businesses in Massachusetts and the United States.

CLICK HERE for a video on Edson's History by Boating Today TV

You can view a pictorial timeline of the History of Edson below...

edson historical time line

A brief chronicle of Edson's progress .
  • 1859 - Jacob Edson forms Edson Corporation to design and manufacture specialty hardware for the commercial marine trade. Invents first diaphragm pump.
  • 1875 - Edson develops "Boom Buffer" to reduce the shock of gybing. Becomes standard hardware on all Gloucester fishing schooners.
  • 1880 - Edson Diaphragm Pump receives U.S. patent, First to use rubber diaphragms and valves.
  • 1890 - Edson pumps first used for pumping sewerage. Company introduces horse-drawn honey wagon.
  • 1902 - Edson designs a worm-steering system for Kaiser Wilheim's 161 -foot yacht Meteor used to race against King George's yacht, Britannia. This rugged steerer, now called the "Meteor," is still available from Edson.
  • 1904 - Edson exhibits steering systems and pumps to the yachting industry at the first New York Boat Show, held at the old Madison Square Garden.
  • 1905 - Edson steering system designed for the schooner, America, begins long association with America's Cup defenders.
  • 1910 - Edson introduces first portable power pump combining a diaphragm pump with a magneto-gasoline engine, also manufactured by Edson.
  • WWI - All the Hog Island freighters and the liberty ships of WWI use Edson Emergency Steering and Pump systems.
  • 1920's - Yachts of the Roaring 1920's and 30's are almost always equipped with Edson hardware including pumps, steering systems, custom wheels, deck plates, flag staffs, ventilators, and stanchions.
  • WWII - The famous Elco PT boats and naval and merchant marine vessels are equipped with Edson emergency-steering systems and emergency pumps.
  • 1949 - Company moves from the Boston waterfront to New Bedford, Massachusetts.
  • 1956 - Edson Corporation is bought by Henry R. Keene, who starts updating the product line, putting emphasis on lightweight materials, including aluminum castings.
  • 1958 - Edson introduces new bone-dry Gallon-a-Stroke Bilge Pump. Heavy cast-iron is replaced by aluminum and bronze housings.
  • 1959 - Edson steering system installed on the first fiberglass sailboat, the 40foot Bounty, introduced at New York Boat Show.
  • 1960 - Edson develops pedestal guard for new Hinckley Bermuda 40, 1961 - Edson adds the wheel brake to pedestal steering systems.
  • 1963 - Edson introduces el fresco dining with the first pedestal-mounted table.
  • 1965 - Edson centralizes boat control with pedestal-mounted engine controls.
  • 1970 - New Edson instrument pods bring electronics to the steering pedestal.
  • 1973-1974 - Edson patents Radial Drive Steering System for sailboats.
  • 1976 - Edson designs Pull-Pull Cable Steering System for use on center-cockpit sailboats.
  • 1980 - Edson supplies government with sewerage pump-out systems for chemical warfare shelters.
  • 1982 - Edson buys Anbar Foundry. Edson begins to make its own aluminum and bronze castings and produces specialty hardware castings for boatbuilders.
  • 1984 - Edson introduces cast lightweight-aluminum dinghy davits
  • 1986 - New Edson spacemaker pedestal design provides valuable room below the cockpits of sailboats.
  • 1988 - Edson develops NAVCOM integrated tower system for mounting radar, radio, and navigation antennas.
  • 1989 - New Edson RLA Pedestal System provides wheel steering for boats with transom-hung rudders.
  • 1991- Edson uses industrial-pump technology to engineer holding-tank pumpout systems for marinas, yacht clubs, and municipalities. Ships 800 sewerage pump-out systems to Operation Desert Storm.
  • 1992 - Edson introduces new Diamond Series T14 lightweight aluminum wheels.
  • 1993 - New Edson small-boat steering system for sailboats under 25 feet.
  • 1994 - Edson expands NAVCOM tower system to include lifting cranes, radar reflectors, leveling kit and anchor arm. Introduces new instrument housings, guard-mounted radar displays, and stainless wheel storage devices.
  • 1994 - Edson named official supplier for the BOC Challenge 1994-1995,
  • 1995 - Edson selected to provide steering systems for the BT Challenge for the second time. Wrong way around the World course will be sailed in 1996.
  • 1996 - Edson develops new line of Diamond Series? Console Pedestals which allow a large range of instruments and controls to be mounted within easy reach of the helmsperson.
  • 1996 - Edson introduces new CD-i? Compact Rack and Pinion Steerers in Classic?, Diamond Series? and Integral Console versions.
  • 1997 - Edson's new Single Lever Engine Control, mounted directly below the compass, is developed to make maneuvering a sailboat a simple, one-handed job while at the steering pedestal.
  • 1997 - Edson Europe Limited established in Portsmouth, UK.
  • 1999 - Edson Europe Limited launches new line of Rudder Bearings.
  • 2000 - Edson reintroduces its Powerboat catalog featuring Edson products specifically designed for the powerboat market. Rudder bearings added to line of steering products.
  • 2001 - Edson Europe moves to new headquarters. Pump accessory store added to Web Site at Pro-Series Powerknob introduced to powerboat market.
  • 2002 - Edson publishes Traditional Steering Systems catalog. Stainless davit System added to product line. Multi-Mode Steerer for MegaYachts introduced.
  • 2003 - Edson redesigns logo, first update in over 35 years. Vision Series Pods Introduced; Sportsman Series Plastic Powerknob offered as economical alternative to ProSeries Stainless version.
  • 2004 - Edson celebrates 145 years of business; Vision Series™ Pedestals introduced; New Clutched Wheel design; Comfort Grip Powerwheel developed.
  • 2005 - Edson President Will Keene awarded SAIL Magazine’s 2005 Industry Award for Leadership, All-new Edson Wheels catalog and website launched. Edson Pumpout Accessories online store launched.
  • 2006 - Edson reinvents the Wheel! All new Steering Wheel provides cockpit ACCESS. New Comfort Grip PowerKnob.
    All new lineup of Radar & Electronics Interface products. Pump Out Nozzle with Splash Guard wins METS DAME Award and SAIL Pittman Award for innovation.
  • 2007 - Edson introduces online store for Marine Accessory products. Edson develops "Speedster" Mini Multi-Mode Geared steerer for smaller yachts.
  • 2008 - Edson publishes 150th Anniversary Catalog. Adds to NavCom Tower line with Custom Series Towers as well as large variety of Radar Towers for Sat TV, Telephone and Night Vision Cameras for nearly every electonics manufacturer.
  • 2009 - Edson fully embraces online social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Bloging and eNewsletters.

MEDIA & PRESS: Download Hi-Res Edson Historical Images here for media usage.

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