Curtis started up in 1960 with fewer than 10 people working in a rented storefront in Mt. Kisco, 40 miles north of New York. The first Curtis products were electrochemical elapsed time indicators (ETIs). Their accuracy, reliability and ultra-low power consumption quickly made them the choice for recording use-time of diverse equipment. NASA built these Curtis ETIs into every major electronic system of Lunar Landing Modules, starting with the first moon landing in 1969.
Continued use of these early ETIs confirms their engineering excellence. Years of research and development led to creation in 1988 of solid-state ETIs and counters with unprecedented reliability for rugged military applications. Curtis then adapted its technology to create the first solid-state hour meters and counters for commercial applications. These are in worldwide use as the preferred instruments for scheduling equipment maintenance, determining rental charges or verifying use-time for warranty purposes. They are employed in applications as varied as aircraft, office machines, medical equipment, bulldozers, compressors and satellite communications.
1963 Curtis pioneered gages to monitor the state-of-charge, the "fuel" level, of vehicle traction batteries. Astronauts exploring the moon in Lunar Roving Vehicles in 1971-1972 relied on early Curtis gages. The moon thus was a proving ground for forerunners of Curtis gages that now enhance electric vehicles in warehouses, factories and mines, on golf courses, mobility aids for the handicapped and on-street vehicles.
Curtis widened its role in electric-vehicle efficiency in 1985 when PMC Energy Systems became the Curtis PMC division. Curtis pioneered the use of power MOSFET technology in motor controllers for superior drive control and energy savings. Curtis PMC TM controllers in use throughout the world include programmable models which generate plain-language displays of tests and diagnostics. In 1996 Curtis strengthened its leadership in motor controllers by creating an additional R&D center, Curtis Instruments AG, in Biberist, Switzerland.