Essex Industries began as a family affair more than 70 years ago in Saint Louis. Returning home from his service in World War II, Harold Guller recognized a business opportunity in jet aircraft—a new mode of transportation back in 1947. In his father’s basement, he developed and sold a Radio Noise Filter for the F-214. Harold’s brother Sidney did accounting for the business while earning his degree and then he joined the company.
That first product laid the foundation for the company’s future. Decades later, Essex offers a wide variety of Platform Controls, including hands-on throttle and stick (HOTAS) grips, control wheels and weapons system officer (WSO) hand controllers for fixed-wing, rotary and land combat vehicles. The company manufactures thousands of Aircraft Components to meet demanding applications, such as hydraulic, pneumatic, fuel and anti-gravity valves, hydraulic pulsation dampeners and flame arrestors. This expertise has made Essex a part of virtually every major military and commercial aerospace program since 1947.
Essex entered the cryogenics market in 1963, with designs and the capability to manufacture liquid oxygen (LOX) converters, a highly efficient method of oxygen storage and delivery. Originally used by aircraft pilots and crew, this technology has readily transferred to air and ground-based medical life support equipment. Essex has provided over 100,000 new LOX systems for military and commercial applications, ranging from a 5 Liter Converter to the new 500 Gallon LOX Trailer.
In 1991, Essex acquired the Portable Breathing and Rescue Products Division from The DuPont® Corporation, which enhanced the company’s offering of Emergency Breathing Equipment. Thousands of units are in service worldwide, with Essex smoke hoods standard equipment for the United States Air Force, all major domestic airlines as well as many international commercial and military fleets. .
Today, Essex remains family owned and operated. Second generation Keith Guller and Mickey Waldman serve as Board Directors. Third generation Evan Waldman is CEO. Four other members of the third generation are also currently engaged in the business.
The company’s commitment and leadership extends outward to the Saint Louis community. The Guller Foundation, the charitable arm of Essex Industries, contributes to scholarships at the Olin Business School, research at Barnes Jewish Hospital and many other worthwhile causes. Members of the executive team are active in organizations that include the National Kidney Foundation, ALS Association, Boys Scouts of America, National Defense Industry Association (NDIA) and Association of the United States Army (AUSA).
Essex employs over 450 people in Saint Louis, Missouri, Huntington Beach, California, and Milford, Connecticut, serving local, national, and international customers, both military and commercial.