Skip to main content

Starting a Business

Starting a Business

"Anyone working as hard as you do ought to be working for himself." That was Marge's reaction when Duane was overlooked for a promotion at Honeywell. In a leap of faith, Pearsall resigned and started his own company; he never lost his loyalty to Honeywell and the many friends who helped his companies to become successful. Honeywell would eventually private-brand Statitrol's commercial smoke detector, which greatly helped the small company through a critical period of development. [p122]

Duane Pearsall Standing in  Statitrol Factory

Pearsall worked with Honeywell Corporation as a heating and air conditioning sales engineer for seven years. In 1955, he founded the Pearsall Company as a manufacturer’s representative for commercial climate control equipment and remained its president for eleven years. It was his first successful company.

Pearsall believed that “small business is the backbone of America.” Later in 1963, a second company, Statitrol Corporation in Lakewood, Colorado was founded to keep the new developments with the static business separate from Pearsall Company. The company initially focused on the production of static control devices, such as the Statitrol PL-300, until that fateful day when Pearsall and his engineer Lyman Blackwell realized accidentally that basic ionization technology on a Static Neutralizer could also be used for the detection of smoke.

In 1966, Honeywell Corp, which made fire safety systems, gave Statitrol a contract to develop
15,000 smoke detectors for commercial use. In 1970, Mr. Pearsall and Lyman Blackwell, a local inventor, came up with an idea to make smoke detectors practical and affordable for homeowners. By 1977, when Mr. Pearsall sold Statitrol to Emerson Electric, 54 companies were making smoke detectors.