Close Menu
The Lee Company | Our Story

The Lee Company History:
More than 75 Years of Innovation

A family-owned and operated company since 1948, The Lee Company continues to carry out our founder’s vision of providing innovative solutions to some of industry’s toughest problems. Mr. Lee wouldn’t have it any other way. His unwavering commitment to superior quality and high performance has inspired team members to continue innovating and improving.

The Lee Company is a world leader in miniature precision fluid control products for industries like aerospace and defense, automotive, diagnostics, industrial and off-highway, medical equipment, scientific instruments, motorsports, oil and gas, power generation, and many others— providing engineered solutions for some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies.


The Lee Company is Founded

Leighton Lee II founded The Lee Company at his home in Rocky Hill, CT. Within a couple of years, The Lee Company quickly expanded through the purchase of a machine shop in Hartford, CT.

In 1954, Mr. Lee purchased an additional 88 acres of land in Westbrook, CT which would serve as the future site for The Lee Company’s headquarters.

In 1958, just in time for the organization’s 10th birthday, the patent for the original Lee Plug® was issued. The success of this product line became the foundation for today’s extensive line of product offerings.

In the early 1960s, The Lee Company developed the Lohm Laws for defining and measuring resistance to fluid flow. Just as the “Ohm” defines electrical resistance, the “Lohm” or “Liquid Ohm” can be used as a measure of fluid resistance.

Spurred on by this innovative spirit, The Lee Company continued to expand with new buildings to allow for in-house manufacturing.


New Frontiers

As the space race ultimately came to a head at the end of the 1960s, several Lee products were used in the rocket that took the astronauts into space, the lunar module that put them on the moon, and the space suits regulating oxygen to allow them to breathe as they took the first steps on the moon. It was on this historic mission that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin Jr. took their first steps on the surface of the moon as part of Apollo 11.

In the 1970s, The Lee Company published the first edition of the Technical Hydraulic Handbook, which has become an industry-standard engineer reference for innovative fluid control solutions.

Sales offices were opened throughout the US and Europe to provide a direct sales force of engineers able to solve customers’ problems.


Growth and Expansion

The Lee Company launched the first Lee HI-BAR® Safety Screen, a robust safety screen which uses an innovative manufacturing technique to enable an unmatched combination of performance and durability for last-chance protection against rogue contamination.

The Industrial MicroHydraulics Division (IMH) was formed to meet the high-volume production rates and unique quality demands of the automotive industry.

The late 1980s and early 1990s saw a flurry of innovation, including the introduction of High Density Interface (HDI®) solenoid valve products for the medical market and Very High Speed (VHS) solenoid valves used in medical equipment and commercial printing. The Lee Company also began supplying piloting solenoid valves that reduce size and weight for applications including aerospace, oil and gas, and motorsports.

The Lee Company underwent a major restructuring to improve responsiveness for customer support. This change divided the organization into separate product groups — each with its own dedicated engineering staff and manufacturing facilities. The Electro-Fluidic Systems (EFS) Division met expansion needs by moving into a manufacturing facility in Essex, CT.


Era of Innovation

By 2006, the EFS Division had expanded again, adding an additional 70,000 square feet of manufacturing space to accommodate the company’s continued growth.

The Lee Company also launched the Zero Leak Lee Chek® Valve, the first of many products to utilize an elastomeric seal for applications in which eliminating any leakage is critical — this is especially ideal for use in pneumatic systems.

This time period established The Lee Company as a go-to producer of miniature fluid control solutions to be used in applications where there is zero room for error. A few years later, the standard families of Lee Chek®, Lee PRI®, and Lee Flosert® were offered in entirely NACE-compliant materials for use in the extreme environments associated with deep-well drilling and completion equipment.

Beginning in 2010, The LSP and IEP Series solenoid valves were introduced along with several derivatives to existing product series.


Forging Ahead

The mission of The Lee Company has always been, and remains, to design and build state-of-the-art products that exceed customers’ expectations for utility, performance, and quality. Our team has seen a lot in our 70+ years in business and we are well prepared to handle the demands and pace of today’s technology.

We produce critical components that are used across a wide array of applications to keep people safe, including playing an important role in vaccine development, COVID-19 testing, and the production of medical equipment during the pandemic. We responded to the global need by switching our production facilities from producing airplane parts to ventilator parts.

The Lee Company also worked closely with customers supplying products to the manufacturers of diagnostics kits and instruments used to help detect the presence of COVID-19 in a patient sample. On the prevention side, Lee components helped researchers and scientists work around the clock to develop a vaccine to cure the world of the novel coronavirus.

While prioritizing industry efforts to help in the fight against COVID, we continue our commitment to on-time deliveries to customers in any industry.