Walter Kidde & Company Aviation Photograph Collection

Walter Kidde & Company was founded in 1917 by Walter Kidde (1877-1943). Initially established as a construction company, Kidde moved to fire suppression systems, introducing the first portable carbon dioxide fire extinguisher in 1924. In 1926, the Kidde Company, working with the US Navy, developed a fire prevention system for aircraft engines. A branch of the company was founded in the United Kingdom in 1935. The company experienced large growth during World War II. After Walter Kidde's death in 1943, the company was headed by his son, John Kidde. The British company Williams Holdings acquired Kidde in 1988. In 1989, Kidde merged with another Williams Holdings company, Graviner, to form Kidde Graviner. Williams Holdings spun off Kidde in 2000. It was acquired by United Technologies Corporation in 2005, and, merging with other UTC companies, became UTC Fire & Security.