The EC&M story began in 1897, when A.C. Dinkey, a chief electrical engineer with the Pennsylvania plant of Carnegie Steel Company, recognized a need to motorize overhead cranes to increase the efficiency of integrated steel mills. He experimented with various motor installations and found that the street railway type of motor best suited the purpose.
After refining the motor’s controller to better accommodate the preferences of mill operators, Dinkey patented his design. He then partnered with Charles Wellman of the Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Company to form The Electric Controller and Supply Company in Cleveland for the exclusive production of the Dinkey controller.
From the beginning, EC&M Company kept pace with the changing needs of the metals, mining and shipbuilding industries by creating new types and applications of industrial electric motor controls to modernize and significantly advance production efficiencies. By the turn of the century, innovation was the standard, and engineers continued improving the original controller design. Soon the company expanded operations and began to build plate-handling magnets. Their work proved so impressive that it earned the company an invitation to exhibit the first scrap handling lifting magnet at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.
As controller and magnet production proliferated, the term “supply” became somewhat of a misnomer, and in 1908, the company changed its name to The Electric Controller and Manufacturing Company (EC&M) to more accurately reflect its operations. Additional manufacturing facilities soon became necessary as the company grew exponentially.
EC&M contributed proudly to the patriotic missions of two World Wars, during which it manufactured products such as mine sweepers and attack transports for the armed forces.
Through the years, EC&M developed numerous innovative control products and systems to support a number of industries. In 1954, Square D Company purchased EC&M and operated it as its Heavy Industry Controls Division. In 1972, Square D closed the Cleveland facility and moved the Crane Control Division to its Columbia, South Carolina, plant.
More changes came in 1991, when Square D merged with the Paris-based Schneider Electric Company and became a leading brand for Schneider. As part of Schneider’s manufacturing and product strategy, the decision was made to divest of the crane control business. In 2003, two long-term Square D executives, Nelson Carter and Keith Hudgins, made a successful bid to purchase the crane control product line.
Capitalizing on a century old brand name, The Electric Controller and Manufacturing Company “re-opened” its doors on November 1, 2003. After operating for a brief period from the Square D Columbia, SC facility, EC&M opened its 80,000 square foot facility in St. Matthews, South Carolina.
Currently, a majority of EC&M’s staff is comprised of former Square D employees with a combined 600 years of experience in the crane control and heavy industry market.