90 Years of Innovation and Engineering Expertise

Littelfuse has a long history of pioneering innovative products and services to serve the engineering needs of customers and industries. This commitment started in 1927, when Edward V. Sundt founded Littelfuse and invented the first small, fast-acting protective fuse to prevent sensitive test meters from burning out. From that pioneering first step, our company has gone on to define the standards of the circuit protection industry and become a global leader in circuit protection, power control, and sensing platforms.

The company’s early work was hallmarked by the introduction of fuses for the automotive, aviation and communications industries. This foundation provided us an opportunity for ongoing engineering innovation that led to circuit protection solutions for other industries and end markets like fuses for television sets and mission-critical, life-protecting high-durability fuses to protect micro-circuitry for NASA’s Gemini space program.

In 1965, sales hit a new high - $11 million – and Edward Sundt retired as the company’s chairman, ending a 38-year tenure, and was succeeded by Thomas Blake. Tracor, Inc. an international technological defense company, acquired Littelfuse in 1968. During this time our company operated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tracor and continued growing operations in Europe, Asia and the United States.

Littelfuse expanded into the electrical market in 1982, introducing a new line of fuses for general industrial and commercial applications. In 1987, Westmark Systems, a defense contractor in Texas acquired Tracor, and in 1991 Littelfuse emerged as an independent Illinois corporation and posted year-end sales of more than $135 million, an all-time high.

After 25 years with the company, Chairman, President and CEO Howard Witt retired at the end of 2004, and was succeeded by the company’s Chief Operations Officer, Gordon Hunter. Gordon led the company through more than 10 acquisitions and exceeded $1 billion in sales in 2016. In 2017, Gordon Hunter transitioned to Executive Chairman and Dave Heinzmann, Chief Operating Officer, became President and Chief Executive Officer and we celebrated our 90th anniversary. Littelfuse launched a new corporate strategy in 2017, with plans to build on the past success and continue with double digit growth.

Learn more about our history by checking out the history timeline on the right.