ABB is the product of many acquisitions and mergers, but primarily the 1988 coming together of ASEA and BBC, formerly known as Brown Boveri, two of the proudest and best known names in European electrical engineering history.
Before the ASEA and BBC merger
ASEA employs 71,000 people and reported revenues of $6.8 billion and income after financial items of $370 million.
ASEA launches one of the first industrial robots.
ASEA builds the first nuclear power plant in Sweden and goes on to build nine of the country’s 12 reactors.
ASEA achieves a major technological breakthrough with the introduction of an improved thyristor able to handle substantially more electrical current than existing devices.
ASEA installs the world’s first HVDC transmission line, providing 20 MW, 100 kV to the Isle of Gotland over a distance of 96 km.
ASEA is the first company in the world to manufacture synthetic diamonds.
ASEA designs and installs the first 400 kV AC cable – a 70 m low pressure oil-filled (LPOF) cable connecting an underground power station (built to withstand an atomic bomb) to the Swedish grid.
ASEA builds the world's first 120 MVA, 220 kV transformer in the Stockholm Elverks Värtanstation.
ASEA builds the world’s largest self-cooling transformer rated at 2,500 kVA (kilovolt ampere).
ASEA supplies locomotives and power converters for the new Stockholm to Gothenburg railway.
ASEA builds the first three-phase transmission system in Sweden.
Elektriska Aktiebolaget merges with Wenströms & Granströms Elektriska Kraftbolag to form Allmänna Svenska Elektriska Aktiebolaget, later shortened to ASEA.
Jonas Wenström invents the three phase system for generators, transformers and motors.
Ludvig Fredholm establishes Elektriska Aktiebolaget in Stockholm as manufacturers of electrical lighting and generators.
BBC employs 97,000 people and reported revenues of $8.5 billion and an income after financial items of $132 million.
Installation of the first of nine BBC generators in the world’s largest hydroelectric power station at Itaipú in South America.
BBC starts production of bipolar semiconductors at its dedicated Lenzburg semiconductor facility.
BBC builds the most powerful transformer in the world at 1,300 MVA (megavolt ampere).
BBC develops the first gearless cement drive in the world.
BBC builds the first 110 kV GIS (gas-insulated switchgear) allowing circuit breakers to operate safely in a confined space.
The first data transmission at carrier frequency is performed by BBC over a 735 kV high-voltage line to the power station control unit.
BBC develops the first high-speed locomotive with drive shafts fitted exclusively in bogies.
BBC builds the first 110 kV high-speed air blast circuit breaker.
BBC builds the first combustion gas turbine for generating electricity.
BBC obtains the patent for turbine rotors constructed from individual steel disks that are welded together.
BBC builds the first steam turbine in Europe.
BBC supplies Europe’s first large-scale combined heat and power plant producing alternating current.
Charles E. L. Brown and Walter Boveri establish Brown, Boveri & Cie in Baden, Switzerland. Shortly afterward, Brown, Boveri is the first company to transmit high-voltage power.