Stories From Curtis


Curtis on the Moon

Curtis Buesman, one of the founders of Curtis Instruments, pioneered the development of a device known as the mercury coulometer. Originally designed to measure current over time, the coulometer effectively indicated the lifespan or usage of various pieces of equipment. Its application spanned across diverse fields, including medical equipment, power supplies, warranty, and use measurements. Eugene Finger, one of Curtis' early engineers, transformed the coulometer into a timer. This modified device could indicate the amount of operable life left on a piece of equipment or its batteries. NASA took notice of this innovation due to its small size, low weight, low power, and reliability -- ultimately resulting in a contract for Curtis Instruments to supply timers for the Apollo missions! 

Over 40 timers, also called hour meters, played a vital role in monitoring the electrical equipment during both the ascent and descent stages of each Apollo mission. Given the rigorous testing undergone by the Lunar Module, it was imperative to have real-time information about the equipment's condition throughout its journey to the moon and back. Interestingly, there are still 20 Curtis timers left on the moon today, deposited along with the descent modules and Lunar roving vehicles.

End of an Era

Miguel Tirado Memory Honored

The original Curtis factory, founded in 1986 in San Juan Puerto Rico, has recently been demolished. This is where and when it all started in Puerto Rico! The old building was vacated when Curtis established the new, larger, state-of-the-art Curtis facility in Carolina, but seeing it vanish is still a bitter sweet moment in Curtis history.

The first General Manager was Miguel Tirado, who established our presence in Puerto Rico. He was instrumental in building a world-class team and solidifying the foundation for decades of success on the island. The former Curtis president and CEO Edward M. Marwell often stated, with pride, that Curtis motor speed controllers and other products were built by American citizens, as they are still 37 years later.


Curtis UK and The Greatest Show on Earth – or at least in Northampton!

PT Barnum, the original showman, said “The noblest art is that of making others happy.”

Sadly, 1.5 million UK families can’t afford a single day out together. That is bad enough on its own, but gets worse when 50% of families with disabled children say that the stigma and discrimination that they face can make them feel isolated and unable to attend mainstream events.

Allow us to introduce you to Circus Starr, a little known UK charity who tour the UK staging animal-free circus performances in what they call a “tutt-free zone”. Shows where shouting out, dancing, and jumping up and down are expected, not frowned upon! Every child, whoever they are, is free to be themselves at a Circus Starr Show – shout with joy, move to the music or appear centre stage!

Circus Starr create a magical world, harnessing the power of the circus and invite families with all kinds of different needs to have fun together in a safe, welcoming and unique atmosphere. In the Spring and Autumn, Circus Starr can be experienced under the starry canopy of a big top and when winter makes accessibility more difficult, performances move indoors so the English weather can never disappoint deserving audiences.


Empowering Mobility: Curtis’ Commitment to Making a Difference

At Curtis, our products have worldwide impact. Electrification solutions across manufacturing industries are central to an evolving green economy. But our story doesn’t end there. We work hard to ensure our customers receive the best care—and product experience—available.

Curtis’ engineering team invited a special young woman and her mother to visit the Switzerland office, where our wheelchair control systems are developed. Nora is a 14-year-old living with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, resulting in muscle degeneration and weakness. She is fully dependent upon her electric wheelchair. 

Nora and her mother were kind enough to share a firsthand account of their experiences. We learned about the daily struggles they face, and the many ways in which Nora’s mobility and independence are enhanced by a high caliber electric wheelchair. 


Turning Bottle Caps into Baby Incubators

Curtis/Balkan Contributes to Life-Saving Bulgarian Initiative

Bulgarian fitness instructor and entrepreneur Lazar Radkov was determined to provide municipal hospitals across his country with greatly needed baby incubators. His plan was simple: collect plastic bottle caps and trade them in for cash.

“Caps for the Future” launched as a singular initiative in the capital city of Sophia in 2017. That year, Radkov’s campaign collected 69 kg of plastic bottle caps — enough to purchase five incubators. Six years later, “Caps for the Future” has captured significant national attention and grown dramatically with 25 towns participating across the country.

Curtis/Balkan associates joined the initiative in 2018. In our first year, we collected a modest two kilos of plastic bottle caps. Since then, our team has bolstered that amount exponentially with a combined total of more than 170 kilos collected.

As a result of its success, “Caps for the Future” has expanded into separate spring and fall campaigns that are supported nationwide. Families, schools, fire and police departments, government institutions, and private companies have all joined the life-saving initiative. Since its inception, the campaign has been responsible for recycling more than one million kilos of plastic.


Curtis India Expand Production Capabilities

As the world is moving toward zero emission vehicles, machinery and equipment, the subcontinent of India, is making major strides to electrify. For decades, Curtis has partnered with major Indian manufactures such as REVA car, Mahindra, Godrej and many more. The national government's Ministry of Road Transport and Highways subsequently announced a target of EV30@2030 — 30% of newly registered private cars, 40% of buses, 70% of commercial cars, and 80% of 2-wheelers and 3-wheelers will be electric by 2030, plus off-road equipment and vehicles. India is now the world’s most populous countries— with more than 1.4 billion people. India has had robust economic growth for the past three decades, with GDP per capita having risen by 245%. There is enormous potential for economic growth, and improvements in human welfare and for a cleaner environment. As the United States’ concerns about China grow, India is a global technology innovator that offers a promising alternative in supply chains, innovation hubs, and joint ventures.

Recognizing the immense potential and rapid growth of the Indian EV market, Curtis Instruments India embarked on an ambitious effort to expand manufacturing operations within India, under the government’s sustainability and manufacturing program ‘Made in India.’ This strategic decision will result in faster deliveries of the new Curtis F-Series controllers, enhancing supply chain efficiency, and delivering tailor-made solutions that cater specifically to the unique requirements of the Indian market.