Essex Industries began as a family affair 70 years ago in Saint Louis. Returning home from his service in World War II, Harold Guller recognized a business opportunity in jet aircraft—a new mode of transportation back in 1947. In his father’s basement, he developed and sold a Radio Noise Filter for the F-214. Harold’s brother Sidney did accounting for the business while earning his degree and then he joined the company.
That first product laid the foundation for the company’s future. Decades later, Essex offers a wide variety of Platform Controls, including hands-on throttle and stick (HOTAS) grips, control wheels and weapons system officer (WSO) hand controllers for fixed-wing, rotary and land combat vehicles. The company manufactures thousands of Aircraft Components to meet demanding applications, such as hydraulic, pneumatic, fuel and anti-gravity valves, hydraulic pulsation dampeners and flame arrestors. This expertise has made Essex a part of virtually every major military and commercial aerospace program since 1947.
Essex entered the cryogenics market in 1963, with designs and the capability to manufacture liquid oxygen (LOX) converters, a highly efficient method of oxygen storage and delivery. Originally used by aircraft pilots and crew, this technology has readily transferred to air and ground-based medical life support equipment. Essex has provided over 100,000 new LOX systems for military and commercial applications, ranging from a 5 Liter Converter to the new 500 Gallon LOX Trailer.
In 1991, Essex acquired the Portable Breathing and Rescue Products Division from The DuPont® Corporation, which enhanced the company’s offering of Emergency Breathing Equipment. Thousands of units are in service worldwide, with Essex smokehoods standard equipment for the United States Air Force, all major domestic airlines as well as many international commercial and military fleets. .
Essex has also established a significant presence in the US healthcare market by supplying oxygen regulators for patients. Essex premium and integrated regulators are engineered to be safe, durable and easy to use in homecare, hospital, clinic and emergency response applications. High quality standards have made Essex regulators a preferred product for major OEMs and gas companies throughout the world.
Today, seventy years after it was founded, Essex remains family owned and operated. Sidney Guller is still active in the company as Chairman of the Board. Second generation Keith Guller serves as CEO and Mickey Waldman is President. Five members of the third generation are also currently engaged in the business.
The company’s commitment and leadership extends outward to the Saint Louis community. The Guller Foundation, the charitable arm of Essex Industries, contributes to scholarships at the Olin Business School, research at Barnes Jewish Hospital and many other worthwhile causes. Members of the executive team are active in organizations that include the National Kidney Foundation, ALS Association, Boys Scouts of America, National Defense Industry Association (NDIA) and Association of the United States Army (AUSA).
Today, Essex employs over 250 people in Saint Louis, serving local, national and international customers, both military and commercial.