LEESON®: Fifty Years of Excellence and Innovation

For 50 years, the LEESON ®  brand has been at the forefront of the commercial motors sector. You'll find LEESON motors on farms, in the food preparation industry, and in dozens of other applications. 

As part of Regal Rexnord, LEESON is a market leader with a track record of reliable, powerful products. The LEESON brand makes thousands of AC motors, DC motors, gearmotors and variable speed solutions. LEESON is the industry leader in washdown duty motors. Customers around the globe trust LEESON's history, quality, and innovation. 

Leeson's Origins

Brothers Christopher and Daniel Doerr incorporated the LEESON Electric Corporation in Wisconsin in 1972. The Doerr brothers were part of a family legacy in motors. Fifty years earlier, their grandfather, Emil Doerr, worked at the St. Louis Electrical Works and started his own company. In 1938, Emil's son Lee and two of his brothers founded Doerr Electric. When Christopher and Daniel Doerr started their own company, they decided to honor their family in the name of their new venture. The name LEESON comes from the fact that they were Lee's sons.

Innovation came quickly for the new company. LEESON tested its first 48- frame motor within a year of the company's incorporation. Pilot runs of the first 48- frame motor production began in 1974. In June 1975, LEESON moved production from a rented facility to a plant in Grafton, Wisconsin. By the end of the year, the company had 115 motor accounts. 

LEESON grew throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Four acquisitions enhanced the LEESON line:

  • In 1985, LEESON acquired Unison Dynamics, a company that manufactured DC permanent magnet 48- and 56-frame motors. 
  • LEESON purchased Motronics Corporation in 1988. Motronics made subfractional horsepower AC and DC motors and gearmotors. 
  • In 1995, LEESON grew further with the acquisition of Gear Systems, Inc.
  • In 1997, LEESON acquired Sandor Corporation. Sandor specialized in commercial-duty DC subfractional motors. 

From its earliest days, LEESON established a reputation as a family-owned company that made durable, high-quality  motors. LEESON placed an emphasis on meeting specific customer needs. LEESON offered a range of motors, each available in a variety of colors. Customer demand drove these color options and other customizations. This focus on customer-specific customization was a matter of pride for the company. At one point, the LEESON catalog contained almost 16,000 items. But LEESON did more to meet customer needs than just offer motors in a variety of colors.     LEESON's Smart Team was a group of engineers that travelled to any customer's location. The team would design motors to fit each customer's specific application. 

In terms of marketing, name recognition was important for LEESON. One company goal was to be in every phone book in the United States, so that people would know the name LEESON. Despite the wide reach, LEESON still emphasized individual customers.  

LEESON's impact wasn't limited to the United States. The company established LEESON Canada in 1977. LEESON had customers in other markets in Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and the Pacific Rim.


Becoming Part of the Regal Family

Regal Rexnord (then Regal Beloit) purchased LEESON in September 2000. By that point, LEESON supplied more than 3,000 accounts across the globe. LEESON had a market presence, brand recognition and a reputation for making quality motors. Those three factors have continued in the years since the acquisition. Today, LEESON serves original equipment manufacturers and distributors from 23 warehouses in the United States. LEESON's current products include:

  • Adjustable Speed Drives
  • AC & DC Gearmotors
  • Agricultural Duty
  • Brake Motors
  • Custom Motors
  • Definite Purpose Motors
  • Explosion Proof
  • General Purpose Single & Three Phase
  • HVAC – Fan Motors
  • IEC Metric Motors
  • Inverter Duty
  • Permanent Magnet AC & DC
  • Severe Duty and IEEE841
  • Special Voltage
  • Subfractional to 5,000 HP

Equipment manufacturers make a wide range of products powered by LEESON standard and special motors. Some of the many solutions served by LEESON's motors are:



Since its early days, customers knew LEESON for its line of washdown duty motors. These types of motors are vital in industries like food processing, pharmaceuticals, chemical processing, and beverage manufacturing and brewing because they can withstand intrusion by liquids. In 2008, LEESON patented the Extreme Duck Ultra® motor, the latest in the line of the Duck series of motors. The Extreme Duck Ultra motor is a market leader in washdown motors. The Extreme Duck Ultra has also won many awards and certifications, namely the UL Ingress Protection (IP) 69K certification, the highest certification available for ingress protection.


LEESON has also led the industry in manufacturing innovation. LEESON's manufacturing plants have added automated computer-aided machine tools and winding equipment. The plants have also revised manufacturing processes to minimize material handling. Other improvements include deploying manufacturing space to make the product line more efficient and productive.

Even as the company has innovated, LEESON has continued to utilize solutions that are responsible for the brand's success. LEESON's distribution network  helps the brand reach end-user, small OEM and replacement market. The network is important to continued success and growth as well as building relationships with customers.

The LEESON brand has come a long way since 1972. To learn more about how LEESON solutions can work for you, browse our product catalog.

View all LEESON motors.


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Commercial Systems|Industrial Systems