More than a century ago, a group of ceramists and entrepreneurs in Worcester, Massachusetts, set out with a goal: meet the growing need of the burgeoning U.S. manufacturing industry for an ever-increasing supply of grinding wheels to build and maintain machinery. Norton was founded in 1885 to manufacture the first grinding wheel that could be precision made and mass-produced.
Norton began to expand as the new bonded abrasives reached customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. In 1909, a new plant was built in Europe. Eight years later, Norton formed a joint venture in Asia. In 1956, Norton grew with an acquisition in South America. This steady growth, based upon our innovation, technology and responsiveness to customers, has continued and Norton now has a presence in 28 countries around the world.
Since our first breakthrough, our research efforts have continued to produce industry-leading results. Norton abrasives are used in every industry, from manufacturing and construction to aerospace and electronics - wherever metal, glass, ceramics, wood and other materials must be cut, ground, sanded, sharpened or polished.
In 1990, Norton was acquired by Saint-Gobain, a world leader in the manufacture of engineered materials. Saint-Gobain, founded in 1665 with headquarters in France, shares Norton's tradition of commitment to its business and customers, of understanding and responding to the needs of the marketplace, and of technical innovation. Saint-Gobain's experience has been a strong addition to Norton.
Our strong emphasis on research and our commitment to product development led to the opening of the World Grinding Technology Center in Worcester in 1993, followed by a satellite technology center in Japan. In 1998, the World Grinding Technology Center was rededicated and renamed as the Higgins Grinding Technology Center, in honor of the late Milton P. Higgins, a member of one of the founding families of Norton. The Center and its satellites enable Norton to set the standards for product performance throughout the worldwide abrasives industry.
For 125 years, Norton has provided innovative solutions for the challenges faced by industries. Our dedication to our business and customers ensures we will continue to be a global leader and full-line supplier of abrasives, providing value and efficiency to your operation.