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Cummins: For 100 Years - A Name You Can Trust

Posted by Cummins Expert on

Cummins Celebrates 100 Years of Innovation and a Commitment to Quality and Dependability.

From its humble beginnings in an Indiana garage in 1919, Cummins Machine Works, now Cummins, Inc., has since grown into a global Fortune 500 company spread across five business segments supporting power, transportation and distribution needs threading numerous industries. Cummins diesel and natural gas engines and components power commercial fleets large and small around the world. Cummins power systems provide high-speed, high-horsepower engines and power generation trusted for use in residential and commercial applications from healthcare to telecom to mining and everything in between. Through the company and product line’s exponential growth over the last 100 years, Cummins’ core mission has grown with it: “Make people’s lives better by powering a more prosperous world.” 

It all started with a diesel engine.

Clessie Cummins, founder and first company president, knew his way around an engine. Having previously worked as a chauffeur, a member of the Marmon Motor Company pit crew and also the owner of an auto repair shop, Cummins had an entrepreneurial spirit and a knack for turning challenges into opportunities. Inspired by Rudolf Diesel’s engine designs, Cummins started Cummins Machine Works with an aim to produce his own flavor of diesel engine. By 1924, the company was producing the Clessie Cummins’ patented direct-injection engine, known as the Model F. From that point on, innovation and growth continued, as each iteration of Cummins engine continued to improve and slowly gain traction in commercial vehicles. But it was the Model H engine in 1932 that changed the course of the company. The Model H would eventually become the most abundant engine on American highways, and a major fixture in the North American trucking industry. For the next 70 years it would make the Cummins name synonymous with reliability, paving a strong road for future growth.

Taking dependability to a global scale.

By 1955, Cummins diesel engines had become the trusty workhorses of the American highway system, powering over half of commercial diesel trucks crisscrossing the country. This market dominance didn’t go unnoticed, and the company began expanding internationally, first in Scotland, then Brazil and beyond, as global markets recognized an emerging leader in the industry. To streamline production and keep costs under their control, Cummins also began acquiring smaller components companies, starting with Seymour Woolen Mills, which would become Fleetguard Filtration. Rather than be at the mercy of the ebb and flow of the marketplace, pulling smaller components companies under the Cummins brand also meant better quality assurance. Instead of telling other people how to design and produce a filter, for example, Cummins could ensure the highest quality standards for components that would keep their engines running in top shape. Today, in addition to Filtration, the Cummins Components segment includes Turbo Technologies, Emissions Solutions, Electronics, and Fuel Systems.

Constant innovation to keep up with a changing world.

Still headquartered in Columbus, Indiana, Cummins has expanded beyond the garage and that early Model F diesel engine to incorporate natural gas engines and now a fully electrified heavy-duty truck, the AEOS, embracing the changing marketplace and innovating ahead of, not behind, changing global needs. As further proof of that innovative spirit, in 2018 Cummins added Electrified Power to its lineup of business segments–currently in development are the Cummins Battery Electric System and Cummins Power Hybrid Plug-In systems for urban buses. If 100 years of steady growth has shown anything, it’s that commitment to quality and reliability, while turning challenges into opportunities for innovation, have been the unwavering forces behind the company’s overarching vision: “Innovating for our customers to power their success.” And serving that vision, despite unpredictable changes in technology and business, has made Cummins a name to trust. 

Cummins has done a lot in 100 years–see the full timeline from 1919 to 2019. It’s an impressive story!


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