Ninety years ago, the founders of a high-tech startup used chalk and string to trace the dimensions of their first lab - setting Raytheon on a historic course of continual renewal inspired by customer focus, strong values and excellence in technology and innovation.
As Raytheon marks its 90th anniversary in July, tens of thousands of employees worldwide are celebrating the remarkable journey of an early technology startup that has continually renewed itself through technology and innovation leadership in pursuit of customer success.
“It is truly amazing to think about how far Raytheon has come since our early days, with our rich heritage of 90 years of inventions and breakthroughs to support customers around the world,” said William H. Swanson, Raytheon Chairman and CEO. “While our world has changed a lot since 1922, what remains steadfast is Raytheon’s consistent focus on excellence in technology and innovation, and our talented team tackling some of our customers’ hardest problems.”
Raytheon was founded in Cambridge, Mass., on July 7, 1922. The company’s founders included Laurence Marshall, an engineer and business person; Dr. Vannevar Bush, who would become Dean of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s School of Engineering and science advisor to President Roosevelt during World War II; and Dr. Charles G. Smith, a brilliant scientist. The startup was initially called the American Appliance Company.
Later in July, after the venture’s incorporation, in a scene memorialized in Raytheon’s biography, The Creative Ordeal by Otto J. Scott, “Marshall led C.G. Smith to a vacant third floor of the Suffolk Engraving Co. building on Kendall Square, Cambridge. The leader was carrying a string and a piece of chalk, and the two men marked off the space for a wall enclosing the new laboratory” of their startup.
Its breakthrough innovation was a tube that would transform the radio into an accessible and affordable “must-have” device for the home. The company gave its new tube an auspicious name, ultimately parsed from the Old French (“rai” – “a beam of light”) and the Greek (“theon” – “from the gods”). The tube, and later the company itself, would be called “Raytheon.”
Read more about Raytheon throughout the years.
View the July 7 Citation From the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.