Harris Corporation was founded in the 1890s by Alfred and Charles Harris. The brothers ran a jewelry store in Niles, Ohio, while they tinkered with a variety of new gadgets. Their first truly successful invention was an automatic sheet feeder that eliminated the laborious job of hand-feeding printing presses.
Ironically, the sheet feeder was too advanced for the printing presses of the day, so the brothers developed a new printing press that was better able to accommodate it. The press was revolutionary, delivering 10 times what a pressman could feed by hand. In fact, the press was so much faster than anything available that the brothers had to understate its capabilities in order to get potential customers to believe them.
On December 23, 1895, the Harris Automatic Press Company was incorporated. The company went on to produce many printing innovations during the early 1900s. By the middle of the century, it had grown into one of the world's largest and most successful manufacturers of printing equipment under a new name - Harris-Seybold.
he company continued to grow and evolve, and in 1957, Harris-Seybold merged with Intertype Corporation, a world leader in typesetting equipment. Company leaders wanted to move beyond printed communications into the broader field of electronic communications. Thus began a series of moves that transitioned Harris-Intertype into the Space Age and added broadcasting and microwave communications capabilities.
The company's transformation to a pure electronics business began in 1967, when it acquired Radiation Inc., a manufacturer of space and military technology located in Melbourne, Florida, just south of Cape Canaveral.