Philips Bodine's Celebrates 50 Years of Product Innovations
Philips Emergency Lighting (PEL) celebrates its golden anniversary this year. PEL is the big 5-0 and happy to shout it from the rooftops. The company began in 1962 as a small, family-owned business in western Tennessee. Half a century later, PEL is a global leader in emergency lighting solutions for commercial, industrial and institutional applications.
The company, founded as The Bodine Company by Dick and the late Virginia “Jinnie” Bodine, sprang from humble origins. In fact, its early days were spent in a chicken coop. But Dick and Jinnie had bigger plans than their chicken coop could accommodate.
In 1967 they bought the Collierville, TN, property upon which Philips Emergency Lighting still stands. They built a successful company with hard work and determination. The Bodines infused their young company with an enduring philosophy of customer service and, just as important, community service. Philips Emergency Lighting is long recognized as a good neighbor. Throughout the years, PEL has been a generous contributor to many wonderful social, civic and educational programs in Memphis area communities, including medical research, public television, economic development, children’s development and the arts.
PEL is best known for fluorescent emergency ballasts (battery-powered backup sources) in bright red cans, but the first lighting product the company sold was the TRAN-BAL inverter ballast, which allows a fluorescent light to run from a low-voltage DC current. Notable early clients included Honeywell, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Skylab. PEL was the first to make the TRAN-BAL inverter ballast commercially available.
As technology evolves, so does Philips Emergency Lighting.
Product development and innovation have been critical to PEL’s success from the beginning. TRAN-BAL production expanded into award-winning fluorescent emergency ballasts, HID backup ballasts, energy-saving generator-compatible devices and, within the last 10 years, emergency LED drivers. As technology evolves, so does Philips Emergency Lighting.
The company’s energetic success attracted the attention of Royal Philips Electronics, and in 2006 The Bodine Company became Philips Emergency Lighting, a division of Philips Electronics North America Corp. The well-respected “Bodine” brand in conjunction with the Philips powerhouse is synergy at its best.
The little company that could – and did.
PEL/Bodine has always been the little company that could – and did. Through the lean and fat years, the company has marched forward. The most striking example of PEL tenacity was born in the late hours one May evening in 2008. A fire ravaged the plant site. When the sun came up the next morning, the remains of buildings, equipment and stock lay among ashes. It was a shocking sight.
But the fire did not keep the company down. Instead, with the help of dedicated employees and its Collierville community, PEL immediately rebuilt. The fire destroyed things, but it didn’t touch heart of the company, and like the mythical Phoenix, PEL rose from the ashes. Now, at 50, four years after the fire, PEL is better than ever and looking forward to the next 50 of providing exceptional customer service and the highest quality innovative emergency lighting products and solutions.
We thank our employees, our customers and our community for their unwavering support through the years. Without you, we wouldn’t be celebrating this amazing milestone.