A Century of Innovation

This year marks 100 years of McDonnell & Miller, a Xylem brand, as an industry leader in engineering and manufacturing safety devices for steam and hot water boilers.

Our History

For 100 years, McDonnell & Miller has been committed to delivering quality through its comprehensive portfolio of safety devices, including its proprietary low water cutoff solutions, which contribute to improved efficiency, reduced energy consumption, lower operational costs and better emissions control. 

In 1924, recognizing the need for an improved way to protect low pressure steam heating boilers, Everett Nicholas McDonnell, in collaboration with Pat Miller, formed McDonnell & Miller (M&M). The company prospered and during the 1930s, it developed many products that are still used today, including a patented cold feed valve and a quick hook-up fitting that made the valve easy to install. The company prospered, and during the 1930s it developed many products that are still used today, including a patented cold feed valve, and a quick hook-up fitting that made the valve very easy to install.

In the mid 1930s, new boilers with automatic burners created the need for a safety device that would turn off the burner if a low water condition developed. This led to the development of M&M’s low water cutoff product line for hot water and steam boilers. By the end of the decade, code authorities were mandating that pressure boilers be protected with some type of low water sensing device.

Pent-up consumer demand after World War II led to updates in automatic heating equipment. M&M reaped the benefits of this demand, and built a new factory in the late 1940s, located near Chicago’s Wrigley Field. In 2006, the company moved its manufacturing operations to the Bell & Gossett factory in Morton Grove, Illinois.

M&M built its first flow switch in the 1930s for use in steam locomotives. Sales declined with the passing of the steam locomotive, but in the early 1950s, new market opportunities arose in commercial and industrial air conditioning to prevent a freeze-up of the chiller. Many new flow switch models were added, additional markets developed, and M&M created one of the broadest flow switch lines in the world.

In 1971, M&M was acquired by ITT Industries, Inc. The facility received ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certification in the 2000s as the result of its dedication to designing, producing and marketing the very highest quality products.

On October 31, 2011, Xylem completed its spinoff from ITT Corporation, and began a new chapter as a leading global water technology company with operations in more than 150 countries.  Formed from several of ITT’s water and fluid handling and analytics businesses, Xylem brings to the marketplace a passionate, talented and experienced workforce; well-known industry-leading brands and water solution products, and a shared commitment to making a difference in communities around the world.

Explore Our Anniversary Resources

Learn More