The Lennox International Family – Lennox Industries, Heatcraft, Armstrong, and Lennox Global Ltd. – are industry leaders. Lennox air conditioning and Lenox central air are trusted names when it comes to unitary commercial air conditioning, residential air conditioning, commercial refrigeration, and heat transfers. Lennox is an innovator, developing high-quality solutions for every environment imaginable. Their specially designed giant coils maintain consistent temperatures and they have developed a method of controlling the precise temperature of freezing systems designed to preserve nutrients and flavor in fresh-picked vegetables. Their coolant systems are used in every industry from shipping to health care to food. Their quality is recognized on 5 continents.
Before their initial public offering, Lennox International was a family-owned and operated company that was founded in 1904 and has been growing and innovating ever since.
The core of Lennox International is the groundbreaking work that Lennox Industries performs. They are largely based in North America and specialize in residential and commercial heating and air, manufacturing and distributing their own unique equipment to thousands of independent dealers across multiple countries.
Lenox International introduced Heatcraft in 1973 when they expanded their operations. Heatcraft focuses on 3 key areas: heat transfer surfaces, which use copper tubes and coils; refrigeration units, including condensers and cooling towers; and electrical controls, including humidifiers and heating elements. In 1995, the company expanded to multiple continents, and is now a trusted distributor in Europe, Australia, Singapore, Brazil, and Mexico, making it one of the largest and most innovative HVAC companies worldwide.
In the late 19th century, two inventors, Ernest Bryant, and Ezra Smith patented a coal furnace made from riveted-steel sheet metal. These inventors hired Dave Lennox, was a simple machine shop owner at the time, to handle the manufacturing process. When the inventors ran out of money, Lennox acquired their patent, improved upon it, and went into the business himself. He sold the company to the Norris family, who wanted to get out of the newspaper business, and they incorporated the business as Lennox Furnace Company, and thrived, selling nearly 1,000 units in their first year. Norris used his expertise in newspaper advertising to contact distributors directly.
The innovative furnace quickly proved superior to the more commonplace cast iron furnace and business expanded even further, acquiring Armstrong and using their warehousing for furnace manufacturing. The tradition for innovation continued with Norris’ son, who established a research department upon his graduation from MIT.
Thanks to his research, the company continued to innovate. He came up with blowers in furnaces and developed oil and gas-burning furnaces, which were a major game-changer in the industry. He also invented porcelain enamel cabinets designed to house the furnaces, introducing aesthetics to residential cooking.
The company’s popularity saw continued expansion, both of factories and of sales centers. In fact, during World War II, they even built a precision machine shop and began making aircraft parts and bombs for the military. Their dedication to country and innovative techniques led to a soar in demand, establishing them as the top US provider of heating after the war.
The 50s ushered in even more growth, with an expansion into the air conditioning business. They changed their name from Lennox Furnace to Lennox Industries to reflect the additional range in products. They created commercial systems that used outside air if possible, making themselves among the first companies to manufacture energy-efficient appliances. They were also responsible for the modular system that allows separate floors in high rises to be heated and cooled individually.
They continued to expand through the 1960s, creating a virtually silent gas furnace thanks to their Duracurve heat exchanger and inventing rooftop heating and cooling systems.
Lennox continued to rapidly expand throughout the 1970s, acquiring Heatcraft Inc., who specialized in coils, copper tubing, and other electric heating and cooling components. The company quickly outgrew existing facilities and expanded further, even designating entire buildings to research and development and relocating their headquarters to be nearer to their research facilities.
They also introduced a computer program called LOGIC (Lennox Objective Guide to Installation Comparisons) in the late 1970s, which conducted an analysis of HVAC designs, and opened a computerized data center. In 1979, they unveiled their solar-powered residential air conditioning unit.
By the 1980s, Lennox controlled 17% of the gas forced-air furnace market, 15% of the unitary air conditioning market, and 14% of the electric heating market, distributing their products through over 6,000 dealers throughout multiple countries
In 1982, Lennox soared to the top of the home furnace industry by introducing the first combustion gas furnace, which they named the Pulse. This was a highly efficient forced-air ac unit and was the first piece of innovation in residential furnaces in decades. This furnace ignited tiny bursts of gas and air rather than using an open flame, which was much safer, and because they attained over 90% fuel efficiency thanks to their 60 bursts per second, they nearly doubled the energy capacity of other furnaces on the market. They reached nearly $600 million in sales, which was quite a feat in the 80s!
Not content to rest on their laurels, only one year later they unveiled an energy-efficient air conditioner – the Power Saver. This was the first two-speed unit that achieved a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 15. Their labs continued their research into compressors.
Their innovation led to further expansion, and they began producing dies and precision tools so they could make heat transfer products. They also changed the competitive game, backing their Pulse furnaces with lifetime warranties and forcing competitors to do likewise in order to stay in business.
The 80s was one of their most productive time periods because there were a couple more important innovations that were developed in the late 80s. The first was the introduction of the world’s first scroll-compressor heat pump. The second was a licensing agreement with Powell Energy Products that led to the development and market for thermal energy storage systems.
With so much expansion and acquisition happening, the 90s were a time for restructuring the company. They divided themselves by 3 subsidiaries, each with their own President: Lennox Industries for sales and manufacturing; Heatcraft for furnaces; and Armstrong, for air conditioning. They expanded their sales operations and began partnerships with new dealers. Their Research and Development Laboratory also became recognized by the American Gas Association as an accredited lab for certification testing.
The newly consolidated company united their marketing, ordering, sales, and management teams under one centrally located headquarters rather than various autonomous regional divisions. They also consolidated all production into 4 strategic locations. Their corporate leadership was restructured as well, with several people receiving promotions and many long-time executives retiring into board positions.
They celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Pulse furnace at the company’s birthplace, dedicating their millionth furnace, and moved their European facility to a larger plant in a neighborhood more friendly to innovation.
Not one to let restructuring dampen innovation, Lennox rolled out their Diplomat products in the early 90s, as well. This line included heat pumps, gas furnaces, and centralized air conditioning units. This line secured a place for them in the residential construction market, which they had previously been priced out of, due to its popularity. They also introduced CompleteHeat, the first hot water system for high-efficiency space heating and became the first HVAC company to manufacture gas fireplaces. They also launched a furnace inspection program, which certified over 100,000 furnaces in its first year.
In 1995, the company celebrated its centennial anniversary, which they celebrated by adding a fourth subsidiary to their corporation, calling it Lennox Global, Ltd. This subsidiary was introduced to expand its global operations.
Lennox already had facilities in England, but this allowed them to capitalize on their partnership and joint ventures in Mexico and France and assume complete control over the Australian market. Lennox Global got into the business of creating worldwide joint ventures. It allowed Lenox to assume the number one spot for rooftop air conditioning, chillers, process cooling, precision air conditioning, and commercial refrigeration for all of Europe. They soon expanded into Spain and Brazil, as well.
Due to changing markets, they developed a new strategy for American sales. They began acquiring small dealers throughout the United States and Canada so that they could eliminate the middleman and profit from retail markups by selling directly to consumers.
They slowly began consolidating a very fragmented market. Once again, they expanded their influence by acquiring some smaller companies and forming Hearth products, which placed them in the market for selling gas and word burning fireplaces, gas longs, free-standing stoves, and fireplace inserts.
In 1999, the company made a fairly radical move given their history of family ownership. They announced plans for an IPO, offering a stake in their company to the public. While the Norris family and their descendants still retain a controlling stake, they are more free to sell their holdings and the company remains open to new innovation in the new century.
East Coast Mechancial (ECM) is proud to offer industry-leading Lennox® air conditioners, the quietest and most energy efficient units on the market.
Dave Lennox Signature® Collection
“The most precise and efficient air conditioner you can buy”
“High-efficiency air conditioner”
“Efficient, economical air conditioner”
Customer Ratings :
Efficiency Rating (SEER) : up to 26
ENERGY STAR® Qualified
Price Guide : $$$$
Customer Ratings :
Efficiency Rating (SEER) : up to 17
ENERGY STAR® Qualified
Price Guide : $$
Customer Ratings :
Efficiency Rating (SEER) : up to 16
ENERGY STAR® Qualified
Price Guide : $