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Company History

4IraSpencer(oytsu2)The Air Handling Business That Started with Water

The Spencer Turbine Company was founded in Hartford, Connecticut in 1892 by Ira Hobart Spencer. One of America’s legendary inventors and entrepreneurs, Ira started a corporate dynasty by solving a tedious problem: manually pumping the pipe organ in his church every Sunday.

Figuring there must be a better way, he invented a water-powered hydraulic engine to pump air. Soon, he had a flourishing business installing water motors for church organs. When electricity arrived, he switched to electric motors. His products were called Orgoblos, coined from “organ blowers.” To this day, we continue to furnish spare parts for some of the early Orgoblos that are still in service.

Spencer’s Next Engineering Edge – Multistage Centrifugal Blowers

Ira’s experiments with air handling led, in 1905, to introduction of the Turbine Vacuum Cleaner and formation of The Spencer Turbine Cleaner Company (separate from The Organ Power Company). In 1918, a milestone year, the two merged into The Spencer Turbine Company, which introduced its first multistage centrifugal blower – the most important engineering concept of Spencer’s first century.

4SOHblue(nztsu2)

Our oldest multistage models are the standard overhung (SOH) and four-bearing overhung (4BOH) machines, both of which proudly carry our trademarked “sugar scoop” housing profile. These are among Spencer’s oldest products, so the sugar scoop profile is your visual assurance of genuine Spencer quality that has endured for more than a century.

The year 1918 also saw a relocation from Hartford to West Hartford into larger quarters. During its 57 years in that plant, Spencer emerged as a world-leading manufacturer of centrifugal blowers, exhausters, vacuum systems, gas boosters, pneumatic conveying systems and wastewater treatment blowers.

1975 – Headquarters Relocation and Expansion

In 1975, a new headquarters facility was built in Windsor, Connecticut. Today, this facility has 200,000 sq.ft. devoted to Spencer’s research, engineering, manufacturing and customer service activities. Here, we have accumulated in-depth capabilities in blower, vacuum and control technology, relying on an in-house staff of mechanical, electrical, design, manufacturing and application engineers. The manufacturing operation produces an extensive line of air and gas handling products, accessories and electrical controls.

The Energy-Conserving Power Mizer® Blower

Leading off our second century, a notable engineering achievement was the 1992 introduction of energy-efficient Power Mizer® blowers. These blowers utilize cast iron housings and uniquely shaped aluminum impellers to achieve significant energy savings.

4NYCSkyline(bzusu2)

Despite the intense competition between the builders of the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building in the 1930s, they both chose Spencer central vacuum cleaning systems to clean their skyscrapers.

Selected Milestones and Accomplishments

1892 Ira Spencer developed ‘water engine’ to pump air
1905 Turbine Vacuum Cleaner introduced
1905 The Spencer Turbine Cleaner Company formed
1915 Mormon Tabernacle Organ—two large centrifugal blowers installed
1918 First fabricated multistage centrifugal blower developed
1925 White House—central vacuum cleaning system installed, which was still in good operating condition when the White House was renovated in 1952
1931 Standard shaft seal gas boosters introduced
1930 Chrysler Building, world’s tallest building, selected Spencer central vacuum cleaning system for 150 operators
1931 Empire State Building, world’s tallest building, installed Spencer central vacuum cleaning system with two vacuum producers serving 102 floors
1935 Industravac® stationary and mobile self-contained vacuum cleaners developed
1937 First sewage aeration blowers sold
1940s 25 blowers/day produced for WWII pilot trainers
1951 First hermetic gas boosters introduced
1965 Tubing and fitting product line manufacturing and sales initiated
1967 Japanese licensee Muto Denke appointed to make and sell certain Spencer-designed products
1974 Vortex® regenerative blowers distributed under Hitachi license
1975 First UL Listed gas boosters introduced
1975 First gas booster approved for use in nuclear applications
1975 New Spencer headquarters built, Windsor, CT
1981 RedLine turbo blower introduced with energy-efficient airflow
1992 Power Mizer® cast centrifugal blowers introduced
1996 Largest central vacuum system in Scandinavia installed to clean high-rise complex in Oslo, Norway
1996 Central vacuum cleaning system furnished for Moscow, Russia World Trade Center complex of apartments, stores, offices and hotel/casino
1997 Vortex blower line totally domestically produced by Spencer
2001 FastVac® self-contained vacuum cleaning systems introduced
2002 4356 sq. ft. area dedicated to manufacturing of electrical controls and instrumentation
2003 First digester gas booster skid package sold for municipal methane recovery
2004 Spencer vacuum producer powered the world’s largest upright vacuum cleaner (19 feet tall!) for cable TV series
2005 Spencer central vacuum cleaning systems installed in Quick Turnaround facility of the largest U. S. airport-based rental car complex
2007 Spencer introduces Energy Watcher® car care vacuum system energy monitoring control
2009 GasCube® natural gas booster skid package series introduced
2010 Spencer introduces the AyrJet™ high speed, single-stage turbo blower
2011 Spencer expands global presence with opening a sales and service office in Beijing, China
2014 Spencer acquires TIGG Corporation – specialty manufacturer in air and water treatment

Looking ahead, Spencer will continue to apply its E2 strengths, Experience and Engineering, to create an Engineering Edge that meets the E2 challenges of Energy Conservation and Environmental Improvement.