HVAC manufacturer celebrates 100 years

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In 1931, Nortek employees gathered for a photo outside the company’s St. Louis plant.

Nortek Global is celebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2019. Celebrations began at the 2019 AHR Expo Jan. 14 in Atlanta and will continue through the year.

Originally founded as the International Oil Heating Co. in 1919, the company built its business manufacturing coal-to-oil conversion furnace burners. The innovative oil burners helped reduce coal-burning air pollution in its St. Louis, Missouri hometown, then considered the dirtiest city in the Mississippi Valley. Later, the company launched even cleaner gas-fired burner conversions.

In 1933, the company designed, built and installed its first heater for mobile homes and quickly became a leader in manufactured housing HVAC, in which it is still active today.

The company innovated dozens of “firsts” throughout the subsequent decades, such as the first fully-automatic mobile home furnace, first sealed combustion oil furnace for mobile homes, and the first electric hot water self-contained baseboard heaters.

In 1987 the company was renamed Nordyne. Around this time, it was able to take its years of manufactured housing HVAC experience and apply it to the residential market. It continued to introduce innovations including SmartLite technology, which extended igniter life, inverter technology with the iQ Drive line and, in 2014, the RH8E residential condensing gas/electric packaged system.

In 2015, Nordyne became Nortek Global HVAC. The company credits much of its success to its partnership with independent contractors and distributors.

The Venmar division of Nortek operates plants in Saint-Léonard-d’Aston, Quebec and Saskatoon, Sask. For more information, please visit www.nortekhvac.com.

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