Our History

Nearly a Century of Value-Creating Transformation

ITT has a rich and vibrant legacy, shaped by world-class products and services, technological leadership, international expansion and a series of successful reinventions. Beginning as a telecommunications provider, ITT grew to be one of the largest global conglomerates and completed multiple demergers, before becoming the focused global multi-industrial company it is today.

A Historic Call

The story of ITT begins with a historic call — for its founders to develop phones. The original International Telephone & Telegraph was created in 1920 by two brothers named Sosthenes and Hernand Behn who set out to build the first worldwide system of interconnected telephone lines. The company had a small beginning as the Puerto Rico Telephone Company but grew quickly through strategic acquisitions and the purchase of telephony patents. The result was the creation of a major international provider of telephone switching equipment and telecommunications services.

The Conglomerate Years

The next chapter for ITT can best be described as the conglomerate years. From 1960 to 1977, ITT acquired more than 350 companies and had a portfolio that included well-known businesses such as Sheraton hotels, Avis Rent-a-Car, Hartford Insurance and Continental Baking, the maker of Wonder Bread. During that time, ITT grew from a medium-sized business with $760 million in sales to a global corporation with revenue of $17 billion.

Following the conglomerate years, ITT began restructuring through strategic divestitures and acquisitions to organize the company into more manageable segments. It culminated in 1995 when ITT split into three separate, independent companies: ITT Corporation, which was focused on the hotel and gaming businesses; ITT Hartford, which became a stand-alone insurance operation; and ITT Industries, which started as a collection of manufacturing companies.

A decade later, ITT Corporation had been acquired, ITT Hartford had changed its name, and ITT Industries continued its transformation. ITT Industries, which changed its name back to ITT Corporation in 2006, played an important role in several vital markets, including water treatment and fluids management, global defense and security, and motion and flow control.

The Next Chapter

Throughout each chapter in its history, ITT has been known for pursuing transformative strategies to create value for shareowners. In 2011, a new chapter began when ITT Corporation separated into three independent publicly traded companies and spun off its water and defense-related businesses. ITT Corporation – which is now ITT Inc. following a corporate reorganization in 2016 that created a new parent company – has emerged as a global, multi-industrial manufacturer of highly engineered critical components and customized technology solutions for a wide range of transportation, industrial and energy markets. With its ongoing focus on innovation, operational excellence and premier customer service, ITT is well-positioned for continued growth and value creation for customers, shareowners and employees both now and far into the future.