View the highlights of our rich history for over 150 years by clicking on the dates below or clicking through the page.
Watts Regulator Company founded by Joseph Watts in Lawrence, Massachusetts
In 1874, English immigrant Joseph E. Watts opened an independent machining shop in Lawrence, MA, Watts Regulator Company, suppling parts and fittings to local textile mills.
Received first of 18 patents
Joseph Watts was a prodigious patent holder, innovating steam and water pressure regulators designed to stop catastrophic boiler failure and protect textile mill workers. While designed primarily for the textile industry, Joseph Watts’ first pressure relief valve patent was hugely successful, finding widespread application and implementation.
Burchard Horne acquires Watts Regulator
In 1918, Watts Regulator was purchased by Burchard Everett Horne (B.E. Horne), transforming the company into a family-owned and operated business. Horne would seek to expand Watts Regulator’s product offering, paving the way for the development of the patented and revolutionary combination temperature and pressure valve.
Introduced T&P Relief Valve
To prevent boiler explosions, two risk factors need to be managed: temperature and pressure. In response to this dangerous problem, Watts introduced the first ever Temperature and Pressure Relief Valve (or T&P Valve), designed to regulate boiler temperature by draining superheated water once a specific temperature or pressure threshold was exceeded. Watts led the charge educating the industry on the need for this pioneering technology, working to establish a national safety standard and specify T&P valves in safety codes.
Relocated Manufacturing Facility from Lawrence, MA to Franklin, NH
By the late 1950s, the Watts manufacturing facility had grown overcrowded and desperately needed an expansion. A new 73,000 square foot manufacturing plant was built in Franklin, NH. Today, the Franklin plant dwarfs its original facility, with 16 expansions and nearly triple the original square footage.
Opened First International Manufacturing Facilities
The sixties marked an era of bold, international expansion for Watts. In 1961, the company opened its first manufacturing plant in Canada. The very next year, in 1962, Watts took a transatlantic leap, constructing a plant in Stroud, Gloucestershire, England, to sell in the U.K. and Europe.
Entered Backflow Market
Watts was approached by Colorado state sanitation inspectors about backflow prevention solutions. The creation of a complete line of backflow preventers marked an industry-wide step forward in preventing backflow contamination incidents.
Became a Publicly Traded Company as Watts Industries
The mid-eighties marked a massive period of growth for Watts, as sales rose to exceed $100 million. Seeking to build on recent success, Watts went public on the NYSE! The newly public company initially traded for $16.50 a share.
Entered Drains Market
Watts acquired two Canadian-based manufacturers of water traps and drains, Enpoco and Ancon. Their combined product lines enabled Watts to offer a total product solution, from rooftop to basement, to our North American commercial, industrial, and institutional customers.
Opened First Manufacturing Facility in China
Watts launched its first joint venture in 1994 with the Tianjin Tanggu Valve Plant of the People’s Republic of China, buying 60% controlling interest. An established ISO 9001 certified manufacturer, Tanggu sold its butterfly, globe, and check valves to 29 provinces and autonomous regions in China and exports to the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Southeast Asia.
Watts Hits $1 Billion Sales Mark
After years of continued growth and strategic acquisitions, including FEBCO, Mueller Steam Specialty, and Dormont, Watts reached a corporate milestone: $1 billion in sales.
Further Expansion into Stainless Steel Drains Market
In April 2008, Watts acquired Denmark-based BLÜCHER. BLÜCHER is a leading provider of stainless-steel drainage systems in Europe and a worldwide leader in providing stainless steel drainage products to the marine industry.
Expanded Water Safety Presence in Europe
In April 2011, Watts acquired Socla, a leading manufacturer of a wide range of water-safety valves and flow-control solutions for the plumbing and HVAC market. With products distributed worldwide for municipal, industrial, commercial, and residential use. With this acquisition, Watts solidified its position as a leader in the European market.
Opened a New “Lead Free” Foundry in Franklin, NH
In response to the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, Watts made the decision to open a dedicated 30,000 square foot lead free foundry at its Frankin, NH campus, positioning the company as a trusted source for lead free products. As a lead free pioneer, Watts also took a leadership role in educating the industry about lead free as a founding member of the “Get the Lead Out” Consortium.
Entered Heating and Hot Water Markets
Prior to 2014, Watts had offered many of the components of a water-heating system, but not the boilers or water heaters themselves. All that changed in November 2014 with the acquisition of AERCO, a New York state-based manufacturer of high-efficiency commercial condensing boilers and water heaters. In November 2016, Watts acquired PVI in Fort Worth, TX, a leading manufacturer of high-efficiency commercial water heaters for new construction and building retrofits in North America. PVI complemented the AERCO brand’s leading position in high-efficiency boilers, thus strengthening Watts’ ability to provide customers with complete heating and hot-water system solutions.
Watts Works Learning Center opens in No. Andover, MA
In April 2016, Watts opened its Watts® Works Learning Center at the company’s headquarters in North Andover, MA and subsequently opened additional learning centers in multiple sites across the world. These centers provide customers, channel partners and Watts’ employees with valuable knowledge and experience of Watts’ products and system solutions.
Driving Innovation with Smart Products & Connected Customers
In early 2019, Watts unveiled its Smart and Connected strategy, leveraging Watts’ electronics expertise to create connected products designed to better meet customer needs. The Smart and Connected promise, “Connect, Control and Conserve,” embodies the three dimensions Watts aspires to deliver: connecting customers with smart systems, controlling systems for optimal performance, and conserving critical resources by increasing efficiency and driving sustainability.
Launched Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives
You don’t make it to 150 years without an incredible team. Watts' employees have always been the company’s most valuable resource. As part of our ongoing commitment to a culture of connection and diversity, 2020 marked the launch of Employee Resource Groups. These groups, Black Matters, Women of Watts, Pride Matters, Vet Matters, LAW (Latin Americans at Watts) Matters, and Tech Matters, bring awareness and education of issues critical to their platform, and help to foster an inclusive workplace.
Appointed Chief Sustainability Officer
In 2021, as part of Watts’ continued commitment to social and environmental responsibility, Watts appointed a Chief Sustainability Officer. This role crafts business strategy through the lens sustainability and environmental impact, ensuring that every action we take has the smallest footprint and greatest handprint possible.
Global Sustainability Efforts
As part of a continued commitment to sustainability, Watts joined the UN Global Compact Initiative, committing to action in six areas of water stewardship and contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In recognition of these continued efforts, Watts achieved verification under The Water Council’s WAVE: Water Stewardship Verified program, signifying the company’s comprehensive efforts to reduce water consumption, enhance water quality, and contribute to watershed health.
Bradley Corporation Joins the Watts Family of Brands
Watts acquired Bradley Corporation, a veteran manufacturer of commercial washroom and emergency safety solutions. Serving the commercial and industrial end markets for over 100 years, the Bradley acquisition provided Watts a strong foundation to build an industry-leading water application portfolio, adding front-of-wall applications including plumbing fixtures, specialty washroom products, and emergency safety products to its back-of-wall products.