L-3 Communications, Electrodynamics, Inc.
The history of L3 Electrodynamics, Inc. (L3 EDI) evolved from the birth of precision watch making dating back to the craft and trade guilds of the Renaissance. From its beginnings as the Elgin National Watch Company and through a variety of names and acquisitions, L3 EDI has maintained precision manufacturing techniques and has manufactured products that represent the leading edge of quality.
The Elgin National Watch Company
The Elgin National Watch Company was founded in 1864 in Elgin, Illinois as the National Watch Company, and some of the organizers were later to become some of the biggest names in the American watch industry. Also known as the Elgin Watch Company, the company was the largest American watch manufacturer in terms of total production volume. Elgin produced approximately one-half of the better-quality pocket watches manufactured in the United States. Total production over its 100 years of operation reached 60 million watches.
The Evolution of the Modern Ordnance Industry
With the coming of World War II, Elgin and its competitors, such as the Bulova Watch Company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and the Gruen Watch Company in Cincinnati, Ohio, were asked by the Government to transition their watch making expertise for wartime manufacture, focusing on the complex manufacture of mechanical time fuzes for bombs, mortar rounds, and artillery shells. In response to this request, Elgin Micronics, the forerunner of L3 EDI and a division of Elgin National Watch Company, was created to manufacture small, precision, high-reliability timing instruments and fuze products in support of the war effort for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and other pioneering defense companies. Beginning in 1958, the Eglin Micronics Division was relocated and consolidated at a new manufacturing facility located in Rolling Meadows, Illinois. In December 1998, EDI was acquired by L3. Then in 2014, L3 EDI moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, to share manufacturing space with L3 Fuzing & Ordnance Systems (L3 FOS).