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**Sensata > About > Press Room > History of Our Company

History of Our Company

Sensata Technologies began as General Plate Company, a business that was founded on April 24, 1916 by Rathbun Willard to provide "gold plate" for the nearby Rhode Island jewelry industry. The start–up was financed with a $50,000 loan from the principals of the Grinnell Company in Providence.

Manufacturing first took place in the cellar of the Bigney Building in Attleboro. Constrained by space, Willard decided to move the company and purchased over 200 acres of land in what was then known as Cat-O-Nine-Tail Swamp. The first building was constructed at 34 Forest Street in 1926.

In 1931, the company merged with Spencer Thermostat Company of Cambridge, Mass. and formed Metals & Controls Corporation. This merger combined the capabilities of metal processing with temperature–sensing control expertise—capabilities that later attracted the attention of Texas Instruments and resulted in the 1959 merger between TI and the former Metals & Controls.

The business began expanding its operations internationally in 1955 when it opened a sales office and small manufacturing plant in Holland. Throughout the 1950s, additional plants were established in several other international locations.

In 1963, Texas Instruments renamed the division Materials & Controls. The business was renamed Sensors & Controls when the Materials business was sold in 2000.


In April, 2006, Texas Instruments sold the business to Bain Capital and Sensor & Controls became a stand-alone entity named Sensata Technologies. In November, 2006, Sensata purchased the First Technology Automotive and Special Products business from Honeywell. This was followed in March, 2007, by the purchase of SMaL Camera from Cypress Semiconductor. In July, 2007, Sensata acquired Airpax Holdings, Inc. and its four subsidiaries. Sensata sold the former SMaL Camera business to Melexis in 2009. The company completed a successful initial public offering in 2010.

Today, Sensata Technologies is a world leader and early innovator in mission-critical sensors and electrical protection. We have two major global business units with sales offices worldwide and business and manufacturing centers in nine different countries.

Our devices are used in automotive, appliance, aircraft, industrial, military, heavy vehicle, heating, air conditioning, data, telecommunications, recreational vehicle and marine applications and help satisfy the world’s growing need for safety, energy efficiency and a clean environment.

From integrated manufacturing to state-of-the-art environmental practices and a full spectrum of technical and analytical services, Sensata Technologies remains committed to helping its customers find leading-edge technology solutions to meet today’s market needs.

The World Depends on Sensors and Controls