Woodward, Inc. is the world's oldest and largest independent designer, manufacturer, and service provider of control systems and control system components (e.g. fuel pumps, engine controls, actuators, air valves, fuel nozzles, and electronics) for aircraft engines, industrial engines and turbines, power generation and mobile industrial equipment.
Woodward, Inc. was founded as The Woodward Governor Company by Amos Woodward in 1870. Woodward Governor Company initially made controls for waterwheels (first patent No. 103,813) and then moved to hydro turbines. In the 1920s and 1930s Woodward began designing controls for diesel and other reciprocating engines and for industrial turbines. Also in the 1930s, Woodward developed a governor for variable-pitch aircraft propellers. And when the United States military's first turbine-powered aircraft successfully flew, its GE engine had a Woodward control. Starting in the 1950s, Woodward began designing electronic controls, first analog and then digital units.
The journey began in Rockford, Illinois in 1870 with Amos W. Woodward's invention of a noncompensating mechanical waterwheel governor (U.S. patent No. 103,813). Thirty years later his son, Elmer, patented the first successful mechanical compensating governor for hydraulic turbines (U.S. patent No. 583,527). In 1933, the company became more diversified by expanding its product line to include diesel engine controls (U.S. patent No. 2,039,507) and aircraft propeller governors (British patent No. 470,284). Woodward governors followed the rapid advancement of diesel engine applications for railroads, maritime and electrical generation in many fields. The advent of gas turbine engines for aircraft and industrial uses offered still more opportunities for Woodward designed fuel controls. And, of course, the science of electronics has added impetus to this industry.
Elmer E. Woodward conceived, designed and developed the first successful propeller control in 1933. This model PW-34 propeller governor is on display at the Udvar-Hazy annex of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Today, approximately 75% of all propeller-driven aircraft use Woodward AES controls. A growing number of general aviation and commuter aircraft rely on Woodward AES overspeed governors, synchronizers and synchophasers for the turboshaft, turboprops and reciprocating engines. As engine controls have moved toward electric-based systems, Woodward has responded with a line of electric propeller controls. The engines that are controlled by Woodward Aircraft engines systems are from Honeywell (TPE331), General Electric (CT7), Pratt & Whitney Canada (PT6A series), Raytheon, Vans, and Rotax Corporations to name a few. To continue the history journey and for more historical facts and figures the oldwoodward.com website has the world wide web's largest collection of historical facts on the Woodward Governor Company.
As of 2007, Woodward Governor Company became a $1 billion company with establishments all across the globe including: Japan, China, Europe and many others.
On January 26, 2011, the company announced that shareholders have approved the name change to Woodward, Inc.