Autocall has an interesting backstory, in that it was originally founded in 1908, but the name disappeared after the 2001 Simplex/Tyco merger. It was not until November of 2017, after the Johnson Controls Simplex acquisition that Johnson Controls made the decision to bring back the Autocall name, and use re-branded, non-cross-compatible devices Simplex currently has on the market.
Autocall manufactures Panels, Smoke Detectors, Heat Detectors, Pull Stations, and Notification Appliances.Visit the Autocall Website
Edwards is the main company behind both the Kidde line of products, which is used in smaller applications, and the EST line of products which is used in larger applications. The EST devices can only be programmed by an authorized dealer. Edwards has been around for many years, and in the fire protection industry their older devices are labeled under the Edwards name. Inconveniently, they have changed up their system and removed cross compatibility between their high and low end product lines.
Fire-Lite is one of the most open source brands out there. Manufactured by Honeywell, the design of products matches many other Honeywell brands such as Notifier. The programming software is available online for all to download, and any licensed technician can program a Fire-Lite panel.
Fire-Lite manufactures Panels, Smoke Detectors, Heat Detectors, and Pull Stations Visit the Fire-Lite Website
Gamewell-FCI is a mix of two big names from an older time, put together to make a great, modern version of fire alarm devices. Gamewell is commonly known for the alarm boxes seen on the streets of many cities, unfortunately most of those have been removed now, but some cities still have active box alarms despite the outdated technology. FCI, on the other hand, was mostly known in the past for their notification appliances.
In the modern days, however, Gamewell-FCI has created high end panels that have recently been growing in popularity throughout the market. Their latest series, the S3, features a touch screen color display that is expandable to have 122 nodes, each having two SLC loops, which adds up to tens of thousands of devices, all on one network.
Gamewell-FCI manufactures Panels, Smoke Detectors, Heat Detectors, and Pull Stations Visit the Gamewell-FCI Website
Notifier is a little different form it's other Honeywell counterparts, in that it has two main lines of products. Their Fire Warden series is just like the Fire-Lite line of devices, and even uses the same programming software. The Onyx series, however, is their more advanced, more proprietary lineup. In order to program an Onyx system, a technician must purchase a software license from Notifier in order to program. To purchase a license, a technician must go through proper Notifier training.
Notifier manufactures Panels, Smoke Detectors, Heat Detectors, and Pull Stations Visit the Notifier Website
Siemens is very proprietary brand that besides testing and basic maintenance, additional work is limited to Siemens technicians. Because of this, the company has a lot of quality control over their products, but it can make the job of non-Siemens techs more difficult when it comes to troubleshooting.
Siemens manufactures Panels, Smoke Detectors, Heat Detectors, Pull Stations, and Notification Appliances Visit the Siemens Website
SilentKnight, like Fire-Lite is more open source, any licensed technician can program and modify it. The programming software and control panel layout is more unique, but overall concepts and language can be carried over between all Honeywell systems.
SilentKnight manufactures Panels, Smoke Detectors, Heat Detectors, and Pull Stations Visit the SilentKnight Website
Simplex, recently acquired by Johnson Controls, has been in the fire alarm industry since 1958 by acquiring the IBM fire alarm division. They are a widely used, well known company in the fire protection industry. Due to their big name, they try to protect the Simplex name by being fairly closed off in terms of installation and programming. Simplex is known for requiring their trained technician be sent out to do any form of programming or panel maintenance. However, for less technical tasks, such as replacing a faulty device in the field, any licensed technician should be able to do it.
Simplex manufactures Panels, Smoke Detectors, Heat Detectors, Pull Stations, and Notification Appliances Visit the Simplex Website
I'd love to sit here and list out every single fire alarm manufacturer that has ever existed, but I don't have the time and chances are you don't want to read all that, so instead let me state that those mentioned above are the most notable and common brands that make panels, Notification Appliance brands include Wheelock, System Sensor, Potter, and Gentex.
It's important to note that Potter is beginning to make a big push into the fire protection industry, when in the past they have been in the back of our minds. I would be surprised if someday soon, Potter doesn't have a more dedicated place in this page.
Some older brands that are either lesser known or no longer in the industry include Space Age, FCI (Separate from Gamewell-FCI), and many MANY others.
Potter and System Sensor are two of the larger brands that make water-flow and valve tamper equipment.