THE BEGINNING

As a World War I Radio Operator, Val was frustrated by the two-way communication technology that prevented a receiving telegraph operator from breaking into or stopping a sender’s transmission. This often led to misinformation or the need to resend the message.

In critical situations, he had seen this error cost lives, and he vows to create a better system…

1919

Val Leach invents the Leach Break-In Relay, a device that revolutionized telecommunications and launched the Leach Relay Company.

1936

Val designs the first solenoid contactor specifically for use in aircraft, known as Leach Type 5038. As U.S. aircraft manufacturers struggle to find heavy-duty relays, this new product can finally withstand the extreme conditions and high demands of commercial flight.

1929

Leach moves to Los Angeles, CA and hires his first employee, E.K. Neale.

The 1930s is a time of tremendous growth.

• new relays added to product line

• staff grows to 20 employees

• first building & land purchased

• plant enlarged to twice its original capacity

1936-1942

The Leach Type 5038 is used in starter motor applications for all 607 of Douglas Aircraft Company’s venerable DC-3.

(credit: “Douglas DC-3 XC-CFE” by Bill Larkins is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

WORLD WAR II

Demand for aircraft increases, and so has the demand for relays.

Leach grows to 75 employees with three adjacent lot purchases and a new building under construction.

1940

Tragedy strikes

1941

Val Leach dies in an automobile accident in October. The corporation continues to operate with Neale, Croft, and Lyle Adams (representing Mrs. Leach) as directors.

Tragedy strikes again

1942

Mrs. Leach passes away during surgery in August, leaving the Leach Relay Co. to her two minor children, Patricia and Bill, under guardianship of Attorney F. Paul Hornaday, administrator of the estate.

Business is sold to the Robinson Foundation, Joseph F. Clark is installed as President and General Manager, and E.K. Neale remains Vice President in charge of production and engineering.

1945

Clark sells it to G. L. Ohrstrom & Company

1949

1941

Leach employs 125 production workers and Leach Relay incorporates.

President – V.A. Leach

VP & General Manager – E.K. Neale

Secretary & Treasurer – Harry Croft

Dec 7, 1941

PEARL HARBOR: Relay demand grows exponentially

1944

Production at Leach increases from 20,000 units monthly to 130,000 units. Leach begins producing relays for aircraft, tanks, landing craft, and communications equipment manufacturers as well as the Air Force, Navy, Signal Corps, and other government branches. Staff increases to more than 800.

1946

The Robinson Foundation sells the company to Joseph F. Clark

ACQUISITION & GROWTH LATE 1940s – EARLY 1960s

Many companies who entered the aircraft relay industry during World War II abandon these divisions and return to their industrial and commercial fields.

The Leach Relay co. continues supplying relays to the aircraft industry

LATE 1950’s

As the world’s first satellites are launched, Leach’s Relay Division becomes an industry leader by meeting critical demand for smaller and lighter components with higher resistance to shock and vibration forces.

1959

Leach Relay Plant circa 1959

1951

A New MilestoneLeach engineers develop the contaminant-free “balanced armature” unit used in the Century Series, including the F100 through F106 aircraft.

(credit: “Air Force Thunderbirds, F-100” by born1945 is licensed under CC BY 2.0)

YEARS OF EXPANSION
1960s – 1970s

The market for time delay relays and other control devices grew as aircraft manufacturers demanded smaller and lighter components to conserve space and weight in a growing number of jet aircraft with complex electrical systems.

Leach Relais and Elektronik (LRE) is founded in Germany to provide the same capabilities in space electronics abroad.

1961

1975

Leach develops a hybrid microelectronics facility to produce miniaturized timing circuits for time delay relays. The product gains immediate acceptance in the marketplace and creates an opportunity for Leach to manufacture a broad line of new solid-state products – the smallest, lightest devices of their type in the industry.

1962

Leach begins delivering electronic relays for critical European defense and industrial uses from its new plant in Munich, Germany. The new plant, opened in only one year, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leach International, originally established to produce parts for the F-104G jet program.

(credit: “Munich – Old City Hall” by roger4336 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0)

GLOBAL EXPANSION
1979 – CURRENT

Leach emerges as a leading supplier for sophisticated military and aerospace applications.

The Buena Park, CA facility is acquired in December and opens its doors for business

1979

Leach consolidates all U.S. manufacturing operations at Buena Park facility.

1992

1997

Leach International Asia-Pacific, Ltd is added in Hong Kong to extend global reach, overseeing manufacture and marketing for the region..

1990 until today – new product expansion

• the smart contractor

• the ideal diode

• solid state power distribution systems

• the ground fault interrupter

• the modular power distribution system (or AeroCots)

• high voltage components

Leach celebrates 100 years in business

2020

Late 1980s – new product expansion – for automatic power management systems in commercial and military aircraft, land-based defense vehicles, rail & helicopter applications, and various spacecraft.

• solid-state power controllers

• power control modules

1994

Leach Corporation merges with LRE to form Leach International. European operations are consolidated at Sarralbe, France, Leach International’s European headquarters

1999

The Guizhou Leach-Tianyi Aviation Electrical Company is formed in Zunyi City, China, resulting from Leach International’s joint venture with the Tianyi Electrotechnical Factory.

2001

Leach International Mexico is established as a maquiladora in Tijuana, Mexico. The new facility provides increased manufacturing lines and core processes to support Buena Park.

LOOKING AHEAD
2021 & BEYOND

As we step into our next 100 years, we look to our reputation and our respect for quality.

Under new leadership, we are investing in ourselves as a company to provide our customers with exceptional service. We are coming together as a team to ensure growth, evolution, and innovation. The first 100 years have been about providing the best in power distribution and setting the highest standard in our field. This is a legacy we are proud to continue.