Rockwell Automation was founded in 1903 as the Compression Rheostat Company by Lynde Bradley and Stanton Allen with an initial investment of $1,000. In 1910 the company was renamed the Allen-Bradley Company. In 1952 they opened a subsidiary in Galt, Ontario, Canada, that now employs over 1,000 people. In 1985 a new company record was set as they ended the fiscal year with $1 billion in sales. On February 20, 1985 Rockwell International (now Rockwell Automation) purchased Allen-Bradley for $1.651 billion, which is the largest acquisition in Wisconsin's history.
Rockwell Automation spun off from Rockwell International in 2001. From there, Rockwell Automation went through a series of acquisitions, particularly Propack Data (now Rockwell Automation Solutions GmbH) in 2002, DataSweep in 2005, GEPA in 2006, ICS Triplex, ProsCon and Pavilion Technologies in 2007, Incuity in 2008, Lektronix Ltd in 2011 and vMonitor in 2014. On January 31, 2007, Rockwell Automation sold off their PowerSystems Division which consists of Dodge mechanical and Reliance Electric motors with headquarters in Greenville, South Carolina, to Baldor Electric Company.
In 2014 the company was named by Ethisphere Institute One of World's Most Ethical Companies for the sixth time.