Essex International Inc., Fort Wayne, Ind., set records in sales and earnings in 1997, which the company said, "reflects the benefits of strategic acquisitions, new products and continued strength in the domestic economy, particularly in construction, voice and data communication installations and the industrial markets." Essex earned $84 million in 1997 on sales of $1.7 billion, versus $36.3 million on $1.3 billion in 1996.