Foster Transformer History

Born of an entrepreneurial spirit, the Foster Transformer Company was established by Arnet P. Foster in 1937.

A University of Cincinnati Electrical Engineering graduate, Arnet was employed by the Crosley Corporation as an Electrical Engineer where he was widelyregarded as their Magnetics Specialist.

Recognizing the opportunity that existed for a supplier of high quality transformers in a rapidly expanding electronics industry, Arnet started the company with limited funds operating out of his home in Wyoming, a suburb of Cincinnati.

Arnet’s reputation as an exceptional designer of transformers spread quickly, and what started as a part time job became a full time business. The business was moved from Arnet’s home to dedicated facilities in Reading, Ohio where it remained until a fire destroyed the building in 1941. Turning to his former employer, Powell Crosley, Arnet made arrangements to purchase our present Cincinnati headquarters which had been used by Crosley to manufacture his “Icy-Ball” refrigerator.

Fate again entered the picture when the Dudlow Coil Winding Division of the Phelps-Dodge Corporation became available. Phelps-Dodge was, and remains, a very large supplier of the magnet wire used to wind electrical coils. Since many of Phelps’ customers objected to buying wire from a company that also competed with them, Phelps found it necessary to dispose of the coil winding business. Foster was able to strike a deal to acquire the business, equipment, and some key employees. This brought not only additional sales and customers, but also valuable experience in the art of coil winding.

With the outbreak of WWII, there was a tremendous demand for military transformers which Foster was well positioned to fill. The demand for product was such that Foster opened a second facility on 8th street in downtown Cincinnati. Other companies, some of whom were much larger than Foster joined the effort as subcontractors.

After the war, the company continued to produce products for the military, but also expanded its business to the home entertainment, HVAC, and Industrial markets. The demand for HVAC transformers proved so large that additional facilities were needed. The 8th street plant was closed and a new plant was established in Seymour, Indiana specifically to serve the needs of the HVAC industry.

Sadly, Arnet Foster contracted lung cancer and passed away in 1957. The business continued under the ownership of his widow, Mary Foster, and several key employees until it was acquired by the Kinetics Corporation in 1962. Kinetics Corporation, then a division of the Waltham Precision Instrument Company, was a well established Design Engineering firm with Machine Shop capabilities. The acquisition by Kinetics added greatly to Foster’s capabilities allowing the expansion of its product offering to include complete power supplies and other value added assemblies.

Herman A. Harrison, President of Kinetics, arranged to purchase Kinetics and Foster from the Waltham Precision Instrument Company in 1965. He continues to lead Foster today.

In 1999, Foster entered into a partnership to produce transformers and other value added assemblies in China. This new facility strengthens Foster’s commitment to offer its customer’s the best value in the industry.

As we approach our 70th year, our vision remains clear. Offer our customers innovative and cost-effective solutions, produced to the highest standards of quality, and delivered on time. Let us show you how we continue to lead the industry.