Kuhlman was founded in 1894. In that year, Mr. Etna Kuhlman with a start-up workforce of two men set up shop in Elkhart, Indiana. It was there that Kuhlman's very first transformer was designed and produced.
In 1915, Kuhlman moved its manufacturing operation to Bay City, Michigan, where it remained until that facility closed in 1975. Throughout the 1940's and early 1950's, with rural electrification and urban and industrial growth reaching record highs, the need for transformers rose greatly. Kuhlman's orders and backlog grew with this trend as well. After several much needed expansions to the Bay City plant and the addition of a new warehouse facility, Kuhlman was still faced with the "problem" of needing even more factory capacity.
To expand their power transformer product line, Kuhlman opened the manufacturing facility in Crystal Springs, Mississippi just south of Jackson, Mississippi in 1956. This facility allowed Kuhlman to expand into the three phase small power transformer market. This was vital for rapid growth due to the distribution substation construction throughout North America.
In July 1969, the Versailles, Kentucky plant began manufacturing distribution transformers for Kuhlman. In 1977, plans to expand the facility received corporate approval, and the project was completed in the latter part of 1978. This expansion increased capacity by about 20 percent to 250,000 square feet. Also in 1978, Kuhlman acquired Associated Engineering Company, an independent manufacturer of instrument transformers with facility near Charlotte, North Carolina.
In 1991, Kuhlman Corporation Headquarters moved from the Birmingham, Michigan facility to the Versailles location near Lexington, Kentucky in the heart of central Kentucky's lovely Bluegrass Region. In 1993, some of the company's Corporate HQ Division briefly moved to Savannah, Georgia, where they remained until the purchase of the Kuhlman Corporation (NYSE: KUH) by Borg Warner Corporation (NYSE: BWA) and the subsequent sale of Kuhlman Electric Corporation to The Carlyle Group in 1999. During the transmission market downturn of 1994, the oil-filled instrument transformers were moved to the Crystal Springs facility when Kuhlman consolidated instrument transformer manufacturing with the power transformers.
In August 2008, Kuhlman Electric was purchased outright from the Carlyle Group by ABB. In addition to Crystal Springs facility becoming part of ABB’s Small Power Transformer division, this facility also manufactures oil-filled instrument transformers for ABB Kuhlman High Voltage Instrument Transformers, a division of Power Products High Voltage.