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.
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.
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.