When visitors come to the Chester Connecticut or Charlestown New Hampshire factories of
Whelen [wee-lin] Engineering Company, they are always surprised by the size and scope of the facilities. While in recent years many local companies downsized, relocated or outsourced, Whelen has, instead, maintained its edge in the market place by responding to the needs of the emergency warning industry; designing and developing a wide range of innovative products. And, the company stands behind those products with a world-class customer service network. Quality throughout is the linch pin of success for the organization.
Whelen Engineering began in 1952 when George W. Whelen developed a rotating aircraft “anti-collision beacon.” This original concept was expanded to create a magnetic mounted beacon used by police, public safety, fire departments, and, to convert hearses to ambulance service!
In 1963 Whelen began researching strobe light technology in order to introduce affordable, reliable and highly effective strobe products to the light aircraft industry and then to the automotive market.
During the 1970’s the company continued product development, adding more aviation products and a broader line of automotive and railroad safety lighting devices. The first all strobe enclosed crossbar was introduced as the 6000 Series, replaced in 1978 by the 8000 Series. The 70’s also saw the introduction of the Outdoor Warning Siren … totally electronic and capable of not just warning tones but also high-powered voice messages!
In 1983 Whelen announced a strategic advancement in lightbars, the low profile “Edge 9000” Lightbar. Refined and updated for over 20 years, the aerodynamic Edge lightbar remains an industry standard to the present day. Whelen also supported and developed the concept of uniform ambulance lighting, using more efficient and effective systems to reduce power consumption, thereby increasing the reliability of these vehicles. Strobe based technology expanded into ambulance, fire and rescue apparatus, railroad, police, DOT, marine and aviation applications. The 90’s saw computer-networked vehicle warning systems, programmable warning equipment and instant operating diagnostics for safer vehicle operation. Voice and siren warning intelligence moved indoors for plant-wide employee warning systems. 1998 unveiled “Fasttrax”, a slick roof line lightbar for the police market. By the year 2000, Whelen had designed and developed the newest LED technology to create a diverse line of lighting products with exceptional performance and reliability. Now available in ultra low profile lightbars, dash and deck lighting and a wide range of lighthead models, heavy-duty, low current LED’s have quickly become the choice of fire, emergency and DOT professionals across the country.
Whelen is the only US manufacturer of emergency warning equipment to still manufacture its products entirely in the United States. The use of robotics and a motivated workforce allow it to compete with off-shore products.