Edwin L. Wiegand, a self-taught engineer from Pittsburgh, PA, had always shown an intense curiosity in electrical conductivity. In his makeshift laboratory off his family’s dining room, Wiegand experimented with ways to encapsulate the fragile and sometimes dangerous “open coil” heat technology of the time in a dielectric. This led to his groundbreaking patent in 1915 of a resistance-heating element embedded in an insulating refractory and enclosed in a metal sheath. On this technology, he founded Chromalox in 1917 and began producing the strip heater for what would become the modern electric clothes iron.
The next few decades were a boom period for Chromalox as electricity became a part of more homes and manufacturing plants. Heat and controls became integrated into systems, and Edwin Wiegand’s numerous patents found many applications in both the residential and commercial markets.
World War II created an enormous demand for portable heat on land and sea. Chromalox joined the war effort, and continues to be an integral supplier to military and aerospace.
Over the past half century, the ever-changing energy sector has opened up many areas for growth. Chromalox was the first supplier of pressurized heaters used in nuclear power plants and submarines. And as the world began shifting from fossil fuels to electric products, Chromalox has kept up with an ever-expanding portfolio of products and services around the globe.