The Honeywell Round Thermostat

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Winning Nomination

William R. Sweatt was the founder of Minneapolis Heat and Regulator Company, which later merged with Honeywell. Under Sweatt's leadership Honeywell grew into a major force in engineering and world business. Commercializing the world's first adjustable thermostat--the Flapper Damper invented by Arnold Butz--allowed citizens to sleep through the night without having to turn on and off their furnaces to maintain a comfortable temperature. Today the Honeywell Round thermostat is one of the most globally recognized brands installed in hundreds of million homes. With the sale of Honeywell to Allied Signal in Morristown, N.J., Minnesota lost one of its crown jewels. The Honeywell red "H" logo was saved from oblivion solely because of its global brand recognition.
~William R. Sweatt II, Golden Valley, MN



A design recognized around the world

It all started with a little device called a "damper flapper," which helped to regulate a room's temperature-—especially important for those who wished to sleep through the night without having to adjust their furnaces. The damper flapper was invented by Albert Butz, who sold his patents to a company that in turn was bought by William R. Sweatt, who merged his company with one founded by Mark Honeywell, all leading to the eventual founding of Honeywell, Inc., one of Minnesota's oldest and most successful businesses.

Honeywell is notable for all sorts of reasons, but none is more significant than the development of the T86 Round—-the round thermostat introduced in 1953. Through an aggressive advertising campaign that advanced the Honeywell Round as the perfect complement to streamlined, post-World War II homes, the company's little wonder soon made its way into millions of American homes. Today a digital version remains a top seller, and the original design was included in a 1997 exhibit at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York.

The Honeywell Round's distinctive look and user-friendly dimensions were the brainchild of Henry Dreyfuss, who also designed telephones for Bell (including the famous Princess phone), tractors for John Deere, and cameras for Polaroid. Dreyfuss was a practical, form-follows-function type who designed with real people and real homes in mind. "If people are made safer, more comfortable, more eager to purchase, more efficient—-or just plain happier—-the designer has succeeded," he wrote. Based on those criteria, the Honeywell T86 Round is a smash.

Resource Links

Honeywell Intl Inc: Information from

Honeywell : Library : MNHS.ORG

Why the World Is Round

Our History - Honeywell International

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