The Moog Story

Over the last 65+ years, our engineers have developed the capability to design and manufacture the most advanced motion control products for aerospace, defense, industrial and medical applications – applications where precise control of velocity, force, acceleration and fluid flow are critical. Our motion control portfolio has expanded to include all forms of actuation technology, sophisticated control electronics and system software. We are a leading integrator of precision motion control systems and our products reflect the culture that our people embrace – a culture where the opportunity to solve a challenging control problem is always welcomed.



John R. Scannell

William C. Moog - 1961

Moog is a highly successful Company built upon a community of hardworking, talented and dedicated people.

Our story confirms that.

The Moog story began in the mid-1940’s in Teterboro, New Jersey where two brothers, Art and Bill Moog, were working for Bendix Aviation Corporation. Art was an engineer in the aircraft department working on autopilots and Bill’s engineering efforts were in the hydraulics design department. Both young men were ambitious and they often talked about starting their own company.

In 1948, Bill went to work as a research engineer for Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory in Buffalo, NY. He was developing automatic control devices for use in advanced aircraft and guided missile applications. Funded through Johns Hopkins University, the project’s ultimate aim was to develop a super-sonic test vehicle that became the Terrier/Tartar anti-aircraft missile.

Bill’s function in the project was to invent a practical servovalvea high-performance control device. At the time, existing devices were clumsy complex assortments of cams, electric motors, and linkages that provided poor performance, were difficult to build, and were not reliable on high-speed missiles. Helping Bill with his design review progress presentations was the supervisor of Cornell’s hydraulics laboratoryan engineer named Lou Geyer. The two young men perfected a routineLou set up and conducted the demonstrations while Bill explained to onlookers what was happening.

Bill was confident that the review panel would be pleased with their progress. He had developed a new design called a Pin Type Drive that was, in his mind, an improvement. After seeing the demonstration, the Johns Hopkins team told Bill and Lou that their newest iteration was not at all a step forward.

Bill worked on his design all night and by the time Lou arrived at the lab the day after his presentation, Bill already had a new servovalve design. They lost no time in making the drawings for its components and having the parts built. Within a short time, they had two operational valves.

The lab was a not-for-profit research facility. Its function was to develop new technology and then to grant licenses to interested companies. Since no one from the Cornell Lab team saw the potential for Bill’s valves, Bill was told that if he wanted to make the servovalves himself, he was welcome to do so. Bill told his brother Art that his new servovalve was the breakthrough they had been looking for, and that if they worked hard, eventually they could both make $10,000 a year selling the device. Art sold his house in Minneapolis and moved his family to East Aurora, NY, a few blocks from where Bill lived.

Bill Moog, Lou Geyer, and Art Moog

Art and Bill felt as if they needed two more elements: someone who knew how to test the valves and someone with a good engineering background who could explain to customers what the servovalve could do for them. Lou Geyer fit both descriptions so they asked him to join them.

While Bill continued to work at Cornell Labs during the day and at night, Bill and Lou assembled and tested their new valves in a lab that they rented for $10 a month. Art worked on building a test stand and searched for a place to set up their shop.

In July of 1951, Bill Moog, Art Moog, and Lou Geyer pooled $3,000 and opened “Moog Valve”. They had little or no money, a primitive work facility in the corner of a dirt-floored airplane hangar, only a couple of potential customers, and one great product. Problem solving depended on their two resources: persistence and creativity.

Through a small-classified work-wanted ad, the brothers learned of two tool and die makers, Walt Walker and Ray Lasser, who owned a company called Batavia Machine and Tool. They drove over to talk to the machinists and explained that they were willing to pay $200 to have a set of parts made, a sum that equaled 50% of the price that they were going to charge for one valve. The hitch: they couldn’t pay until the valves were sold. Walt and Ray agreed to take a chance on the proposition. 

The customer is coming to inspect the plant?

Take them instead to the well-established vendor doing the machining.

The customer is expressing doubts that the schedule can be met?

Agree to sign a contract giving them the design rights if the hardware is a day late.

Hardware worth $25,000 is destroyed in a fire?

Work around the clock to replace it.

There’s no money for the payroll?

Send an employee on a plane to New Jersey with the customer’s hardware and tell the employee to come back with cash.

For Bill, Art and Lou, the word “can’t” did not exist and they inspired everyone who worked with them to do the same. The company got its start just as WWII officially ended and the U.S. Government was eager to buy valves that could improve its guided missile system. Bendix, a prime contractor, placed the company’s first order for four valves. A Philco subcontractor ordered seventy-five more before the first four were finished and by the end of the first year, gross sales reached $200,000 and the company had produced over 500 valves.

Moog quickly became a source for guided missile prime contractors. Within a short time, the company received its first aircraft valve order. By 1955, Moog was supplying Douglas Aircraft, North American Aviation, Convair, and Boeing. Gross sales had grown to over $2,000,000 and its valves were being used on rudder controls for the Navy’s jet fighters.

Although Moog’s first component parts were machined outside of the company, it soon became clear that the founders’ sense of urgency had little effect on third-party vendors. To succeed, they had to manufacture their own parts. The company wanted no part of high-volume commodity manufacturing. Its self-appointed mission was to solve difficult and unique engineering problems, to create and build hardware that worked through elegant design, and to incorporate fail-safe redundancy in spite of the odds against it. 

Moog: An Innovative Environment

Bill Moog's sense of innovation went far beyond product design. From the very beginning, Bill believed that work should be a special place. He believed that people would be more creative, committed, and productive in a work environment where they felt trusted, respected and rewarded. This set of ideas came to be known as the Moog Philosophy. This set of principles still guides the company today. Bill believed that “work was be a more rewarding and satisfying experience for everyone in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence." Bill Moog often went home from the plant as soaked with hydraulic fluid as everyone else.

The men and women who worked at Moog were pioneers on the frontiers of technology. Early Moog employees worked on projects and saw things that no one else had seen before. They had to make their own way. There were no maps to guide them, no existing set of industry suppliers. In Moog’s case, they had to make the tools to make their own way, and design their own tests and testing equipment to discover if they had taken a wrong turn. Through constant research and development, creativity and productivity, they were constantly growing design and manufacturing knowledge.

Having spent some time themselves in big hierarchical companies that rarely gave responsibility to anyone under 50, the three founders vowed never to make the same mistake.

If a customer was having a problem, there was no red tape to unravel. The engineer working on the project, regardless of age or tenure, was expected to solve it.

When a design did not work perfectly the first time, they reminded their young staff that there is no shame in failure–only in quitting.

Bill and Lou knew firsthand that frustration redeems itself by kindling sparks of brilliance. Their style extended outside of the company as well. During sales calls to customers, their dynamic spirit was apparent to other engineers, some of whom came to visit only to return home, pack their things, and move to East Aurora. They were rewarded with hands-on experience. It was not uncommon for a 25-year-old engineer to arrive for work one day and find himself flying across the country to see a customer the next day.

Expanding into Industry and Space

The company’s missile and aircraft backlog was growing so fast that the plant could not be expanded fast enough to keep up. Bill felt that development into the industrial market was critical to diversifying the company’s technology–and to reducing its dependence on government spending. By 1954, Weisner-Rapp, a commercial manufacturer in Buffalo, was the first customer to use Moog’s industrial valves on an automatic machine tool.

By 1959, total sales had grown to over $10 million and employees numbered just shy of 700. Every U.S. intercontinental ballistic missile, including Atlas, Titan, and Jupiter was guided by Moog controls. The company’s valves were also on Convair’s F-106 and McDonnell’s F-4 Phantom fighter. In less than ten years, the company’s ever-growing team of kindred spirits had become the undisputed leaders in their field of electrohydraulic servocontrols.

In the 1960’s, few other large or small U.S. companies had successfully expanded into international territory. After a brief experiment with a licensee in the U.K., Bill decided that the only way to keep control of the quality of products that carried his name was to open wholly-owned subsidiaries. His first overseas foray was in Germany in 1965, closely followed by an operation in England.

His strategy proved highly successful and set the company apart from its competitors, making the Moog name a well-known brand in Europe. While the international operations brought the company sales and recognition, they also brought invaluable exposure to new ideas, to new technologies, and to companies that would otherwise have remained strangers. Moog’s overseas customers were then and are still the leaders in their industrial markets – they tend to demand the latest technology. Collaboration with these customers and machine designers accelerated their own machine development as well as Moog’s technology.

Back in the U.S., Moog machinists, technicians, and engineers began the decade hard at work on America’s Man on the Moon program. By the end of the 1960’s Moog had participated in every manned space launch including the Apollo 8 spacecraft. Launched in December of 1968, Apollo 8 used 18 of Moog’s actuators – 8 on the first stage, 8 on the second stage, and 2 on the third stage. Moog’s third stage actuators were particularly critical because, unlike the first and second stages, which both had a cluster of engines and actuators, there was only one engine and one pair of actuators.

During this timeframe, the company gained a leadership role in liquid secondary injection controls, and mechanical feedback actuators were added to the product lines. At the same time, Moog developed its Hydra-Point numerical control machining centers. Testing of a new Moog deflector jet servovalve by commercial aircraft manufacturers foretold the future opportunities for the aircraft market and the first Moog controls for helicopters shipped to Sikorsky.

Moog’s engineering and management expertise rose geometrically in the 1960’s with the addition of a number of people who would ultimately play leading roles in the company’s future. As this generation of leaders arrived, Art Moog and Lou Geyer took the opportunity to retire from what had been nearly twenty years of ever more frenetic growth. They left the company when it had revenues of more than $23 million and employees numbering 1,300.

By the late 1960’s, the overseas operations had become the fastest growing segment of the company, Bill Moog initiated a “Johnny Appleseed” approach to further international expansion in the 1970’s, planting Moog facilities in Japan, France, Italy, Sweden, Brazil, and Australia. Several markets experienced vigorous growth including industrial robots and steel rolling mills and the plant was thrumming with military and aerospace business that grew at a rate of 15% for 8 years in a row. Fueled by the F-15 Eagle (1972 first flight), Trident missiles, and preliminary work on the Space Shuttle contracts (1974), the company’s U.S. revenues were again dominated by defense spending. Adding to this segment of the business was the acquisition of Carleton Controls, a company that produced precision pneumatic pressure and flow control components used on space vehicles, military and commercial aircraft, submarines, and guided missiles.

Thousands of hours of research and development performed in the 1970’s came to fruition on a number of Moog’s major programs in the 1980’s, making it a decade of technological triumphs.

Perhaps the most dramatic was in 1981 with the flawless mission of the Space Shuttle orbiter Columbia. The first Shuttle thrust vector control actuators were shipped from Moog’s East Aurora facility in 1979 and flew for the first time in April 1981. Moog supported the Shuttle program for over 30 years and all 132 missions. On the morning of July 21, 2011, almost exactly 60 years after the Moog Valve Company was founded, Space Shuttle Atlantis landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. STS-135 was the final mission and flight for the Space Shuttle Program. The program, once described as the meeting of Moog’s expertise in flight controls and in missile steering controls, is an important part of the company’s heritage.

Moog supplied complete thrust vector control systems for the Peacekeeper missile and hardware for all three stages of Trident and three stages of the MX missile. Equally significant was the first flight of the B-2 Stealth Bomber in 1989. These accomplishments were highlighted when Fortune magazine named Moog’s servovalve one of the products that America Makes Best. Overseas, Moog continued its expansion, doubling the sizes of its existing facilities and opening new operations in Ireland, Spain, the Philippines, Korea, India, Finland, and Hong Kong.

Given Enough Hard Work, Success is Assured

Across languages, cultures, religions, and time zones, Moog’s philosophy that people do their best work in an atmosphere of mutual respect and personal responsibility travelled intact.

Within the next ten-year span, Moog’s sales grew from $135 million in sales in 1980 to $307 million in 1987. In 1988, cost estimates on a number of fixed price contracts for developing new technologies grew dramatically during the course of the year while at the same time; transitions from the programs’ development phases to profitable production status were delayed. The combination caused the company to report a loss of nearly $14 million.

In 1988, Bill Moog turned 72 years old and opted for semi-retirement. Turning in his stock to the company in exchange for Moog’s Industrial Division, the company’s founder turned over leadership of the company to Bob Brady, President of the company’s Aerospace Group.

A leader is measured by the quality of his followers. Bill Moog was a magnet for people who wanted responsibility and challenge. It was rarely necessary for him to look for help. The finest machinists, engineers, and administrators in the world wanted to work at Moog.

Bob Brady started at Moog in the mid-1960’s after graduating from MIT and Harvard and serving as a Naval officer involved in shipbuilding. Bob Brady formed what, ultimately, proved an indomitable team–Joe Green, Dick Aubrecht, Bob Maskrey, Phil Hubbell, Bing Sherrill, and Bob Banta. The seven men guided the company through the difficult last two years of the 1980’s and well into the millennium.

Beginning the 1990’s with sales just over $300 million, the company was faced with an uncertain U.S. defense budget and, along with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the certainty of a recession overseas. It took two years for the full effect of these circumstances to affect Moog’s earnings. In 1992, the U.S. Congress decreased production on the B-2 and terminated production of the F-15, F-16, Maverick and Small ICBM programs, among others. At the same time, Europe was reeling from the effects of its reunification. Because of these conditions, Moog suffered a 24% reduction in work force, and a 19% reduction in facilities, reporting a loss of nearly $7 million. It took two years for the company to begin its recovery from these changed circumstances. Ultimately, Moog recovered in a big way.

Just as Bill Moog had used overseas subsidiaries to expand the reach of his business, Bob Brady used focused acquisitions to turn the company’s fortunes around and to ensure that Moog had a viable future. Ironically, the first acquisition was the biggest and therefore the least likely deal to close, particularly given the company’s then-difficult financial condition.

Many people thought that AlliedSignal’s Torrance, CA actuation systems’ $78 million price tag, a sum that equaled nearly 30% of Moog’s annual revenues at the time, would be a showstopper. Even if Moog’s Board of Directors could be convinced the purchase was a good idea, who would lend the company that amount of money? What the naysayers did not consider was the respect that the local Western New York banking community had for the Moog leadership team.

The acquisition went through in 1994 and has been very successful. Two years later its addition gave the company the resources to repatriate Moog Controls Inc., the former Industrial Division spun off to Bill Moog in 1988, and the ability to adopt the role of “consolidator” in its specialized markets. New subsidiaries in Singapore and China added heft to the company’s Pacific Rim presence.

Technology gained from the various acquisitions included mechanical actuation through planetary gear trains for the maneuvering leading edges on aircraft. Carrier-based F/A-18C/D Hornets and F/A-18E/F Super Hornets fly with maneuvering leading-edge flap and rotary mechanical wingfold systems and the F-18 program has been one of the most successful fighter airplane production programs for Moog. The designs are produced at Moog’s Torrance, CA location, described above as a business acquired from AlliedSignal. Other F/A-18 controls designed and built by Moog include the rudder directional control valve, leading edge extension spoiler and servovalves that control fuel flow and configuration for the engines.

In the Industrial segment, Moog gained manifold technology, turbine controls, radial piston pumps, and high voltage electric motion controls. In Space, it acquired antenna and solar array pointing mechanisms and avionics. These new capabilities gave the company access to a number of new markets.

While these markets were coming on board, established businesses continued their evolution. The V-22 Tiltrotor also began its demonstration period with a successful first flight in 1989. The V-22 combines vertical tilt capabilities with fixed-wing aircraft speed and range. Moog supplies the primary flight control actuation, vibration control actuation system, utility actuators and components for the V-22 fleet.

During the flurry of launches that established the world’s space-based commercial communications constellations, Moog provided hardware for the launch vehicles as well as for the steering controls on the satellites themselves.

With the return of Moog Controls in the mid 1990’s, the company’s North American industrial business came to life, providing earnings growth.  The industrial focus was on controls for plastics, turbines, simulation, test, heavy industry, metal forming, down-hole drilling, motorsports, textiles, paper and lumber mill markets benefitted from the return of Moog Controls to Moog Inc.

Engineers in Moog facilities around the world resumed collaborations, designing and manufacturing industrial products using precise machining tolerances, state-of-the- art production processes, and thorough product testing to guarantee precise control of critical machine parameters and long product service life.  Engineers working directly with OEM customers took on the difficult engineering challenge in target industries which were beginning to transition from hydraulic to electric or combined hydraulic-electric systems. 

Robert T. Brady
Chairman Emeritus

As Moog moved into the millennium, sales hit $500 million and in its 50th anniversary year, the company found itself in an enviable position. Fifty years of experience shaped its technology and processes, and the company was diversified geographically, technologically, and in its markets. Enjoying a worldwide reputation for excellence, its vast expertise was magnified many times over by an international community of colleagues and engineering talent. Boeing and Lockheed Martin’s competition for the Joint Strike Fighter, the next generation fighter aircraft, reflected the reputation Moog had in the aircraft universe – as both companies specified Moog controls hardware for their concept demonstrator aircraft.

In 2003, Moog acquired the assets of Northrop Grumman Corporation's Poly-Scientific Division, a manufacturer of motion control and data-transmission devices with $130 million in sales. Renamed Moog Components Group, its principal products include electrical and fiber-optic slip rings, brushless D. C. motors, and electromechanical actuators.

Also, in 2003, Lockheed Martin’s demonstration fighter was selected in the competition for next-generation strike aircraft for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Marines, and U.S. allies. Moog was awarded the system development for the primary flight controls and the F-35 was program was born.

Aircraft contract awards continued in 2004 when Boeing selected Moog to supply the primary flight control actuation system as well as the spoilers and the horizontal stabilizer for Boeing’s clean sheet commercial airplane, the 787 Dreamliner. Moog provides more than 400 discrete parts on the 787.

For the first time ever, Moog sales hit $1 billion in 2005. The next ten years brought multiple commercial and military awards and it started a decade of aircraft program growth and first flight successes.

  • The V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor, initially kicked-off as a Bell Boeing team development program in 1983, was deployed by the U.S  Marine Corps (2007).
  • Moog was awarded the flight control designs on the Airbus A350 wide body clean sheet aircraft (2007);
  • Lockheed Martin celebrated first flights for all three variants of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
  • The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) selected Moog to supply the High Lift System on the C919, COMAC’s new narrow body commercial transport (2012).
  • Bell Helicopter selected Moog for the design, qualification and manufacturing of the primary flight control actuation on the new Bell 525 Relentless helicopter (2013).
  • Embraer S.A. selected Moog to supply the Primary Flight Control System for Embraer’s second-generation
    E-Jet family (2013).
  • Bell Helicopter selected Moog to design, manufacture and qualify an integrated flight control system, for the Bell V-280 Valor™, a third generation tiltrotor (2013).
  • Gulfstream Aerospace, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics, awarded Moog the high lift system and the pilot directional control system for its G500 and G600 business jets (2014).
  • Moog’s commercial efforts as the premier aircraft controls solution provider were acknowledged when Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner went into service (2014).

Additional acquisitions brought the former Smiths Aerospace in Wolverhampton, UK and multiple medical pump businesses and additional industrial and space products to Moog. Sales hit $2 billion for the first time in 2010.

From one small servovalve, the company’s capabilities have grown to include what some people refer to as “a dizzying array of products” serving commercial and military aircraft, spacecraft and launch vehicle, and industrial hydraulic and electric markets. Bill’s tradition to attack the most demanding technical challenges lives on today. 

In Moog’s 2006 Annual Report, Bob Brady wrote, "The most important attribute of our Company, though, is the culture that unites and motivates our people. It’s a culture that's founded on integrity, honesty, and mutual trust. It values competence, extraordinary effort, individual responsibility, collaborative relationships, and open communications. It's what attracts the best people to our Company and it’s the reason that the best people stay.

In this environment, they're able to do their best work. Customers, who know our people, know that they will make every effort to deliver on our commitments.

"If a man or woman from Moog makes a promise, our Company will keep that promise."

What other companies are now just discovering, Moog employees have known all along–that people work best in an environment where they feel valued, involved and empowered. As Bill Moog once said,

"We believe in the people who work here–having trust and confidence in our people is the only way we know."

In December 2011, Moog’s Board of Directors elected John Scannell, 21-year employee of the company to succeed Bob Brady as Chief Executive Officer. Bob Brady, who had been Chairman and Chief Executive Officer since 1988, continued in the role of Executive Chairman until he retired in 2013. In his final letter to shareholders, Bob wrote, “Our company’s role goes beyond designing and building today’s products. Our challenge is to develop and maintain an organization of people and processes that can develop the technology and the products that our customers will need tomorrow.”

Moog’s self-perpetuating culture of mutual trust and individual responsibility has allowed the company to survive the most difficult of challenges and to deliver products of the highest possible quality. Almost 69 years after its founding, Moog’s annual sales exceeded $2.9 billion.

Over the course of Moog’s history, past and present machinists, technicians, engineers, and support staff have offered customers thousands of years of accumulated experience. Visitors find a community of men and women performing tasks that are interesting, critical, and difficult. They quickly learn that everyone at Moog is on a first name basis. You can ask anyone in the plant or an office for help – and get it. There is a welcoming eagerness when visitors stop at a workbench or a machine to ask questions. It isn’t surprising that employees at Moog enjoy showing off what they do. People’s lives depend on what they make.

Even as the company has grown to include close to 13,000 people around the world, Bill’s Culture and Philosophy has been fiercely protected. There’s a quiet confidence that shines through at Moog, a trait burnished by working amid a community that’s known throughout the world for the expertise of its staff and the quality of its products. Plant walls are covered with awards and plaques of appreciation from customers, personal workspaces frequently contain evidence of accomplishments in designs, first flights, and personal interests in education, music, art, and athletic and sporting competitions.

Consciously and unconsciously, Moog employees seem to develop an intellectual style that considers a problem, works out a solution, and then arranges a fail-safe backup. This skill-set, along with being in the company of thousands of similarly skilled individuals, gives employees confidence that they can conquer any problem. Amid this atmosphere of intellectual curiosity and constant growth, a chance to engage in difficult problem solving is always welcomed–and never feared.

John R. Scannell
Chairman and CEO

William C. Moog

William C. Moog

In the fall of 1997, Bill Moog passed away. In a tribute to Bill shortly after his death, Bob Brady, Chairman, and CEO, had this to say about the Moog Company:

"Every day an extraordinary group of people come together to devote their time and energy to build the best product of its type built anywhere in the world...and to deliver that product to the most demanding customers in the world."

"Those customers can be assured that the product bearing Bill's name is the best product that mankind can make...and it will be better next month and better next year. This is our lasting tribute to Bill."


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