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Our History

Our History

Joseph Bruening, who founded Applied Industrial Technologies as the Ohio Ball Bearing Company in 1923, once said, "There must be money in straw hats, but I'm not going to sell 'em." Joe knew his business was the distribution of industrial components, and to be better than the other guy he had to know his products and how to apply them, and above all else, take care of the customer. That is still our philosophy.

Today, Applied® provides engineering, design and systems integration for industrial and fluid power applications, as well as customized mechanical, fabricated rubber and fluid power shop services. We also offer maintenance training and inventory management solutions that provide added value to our customers.

With our proud heritage of 90+ years of strength in distribution, we are...

All Things Industrial®


1923 Founded as The Ohio Ball Bearing Company
1953 Changed Company name to Bearings, Inc.
1954 Initiated targeted U.S. expansion
1990 Acquired King Bearing, Inc., adding more than 94 service centers, 3 distribution centers and 5 specialty shops
1995 Fluid power expansion begins; Recorded $1 billion in sales
1997 Changed Company name to Applied Industrial Technologies, Inc.; Acquired Invetech Company, increasing size by 30%
1998 Expansion beyond U.S. begins
2008 Acquired 7 fluid power distribution businesses, making us the world's largest fluid power distributor
2009 Product line expansion continues
2010 Foundation prepared for Maintenance Supplies & Solutions℠ platform
2012 Expansion beyond North America begins with entry into Australia & New Zealand
2013 90-year anniversary
2015 Enterprise-wide inventory visibility across our U.S. and Western Canada service centers, as well as our Fluid Power businesses
2016 Launched redesigned e-commerce website