York International: 130 Years of Innovation

York, Pennsylvania is a small city with a big history. Its founding is tied directly to the efforts of the family of Pennsylvania founder William Penn, and the city grew in importance as a frontier town, becoming an eventual haven to the Continental Congress in 1777. It was invaded by rebel forces during the Civil War. During the post-war reconstruction era six men came together to form the York Manufacturing Co. in 1874.

The six men — Stephen Morgan Smith, Jacob Loucks, Henry LaMotte, Oliver Bollinger, George Buck, and Robert Shetter — all contributed dollars or patents to get York Manufacturing off the ground. Back then the company produced three major products: The Bollinger Turbine Water Wheel, the Success Washing Machine, and a corn planter/cultivator. Most of the company's income came from repairing this equipment, not sales of it.

With the advent of the industrial revolution and the growing need for power engines, York Manufacturing expanded its product line to include side- and center-crank vertical steam engines. This contributed further to the growth and eventual purchase of the company by Henry H. Smyser in 1882. The engine business required further expansion of both the facility and the product lines and over time led to York's manufacturing of engines to drive compressors.

?n 1883, York was earnestly investigating the use of steam engines and compressors and how they could be used to make ice. That year, an engineer named George Jarman was hired. Jarman had designed a refrigeration machine that was simple to use. It made use of anhydrous ammonia as the refrigerating agent. York Manufacturing soon expanded to begin building the “Jarman Ice Machine.” The first one was built in 1885 and the rest, as they say, is history.

From ice machines to refrigeration systems to heating and air conditioning products, York innovation has lead to comfort in the workplace and the home. To this day the company remains headquartered in York, PA.

In the residential/light commercial segment, served by York’s Unitary Products Group, compressors are still a mainstay — i.e the Twin-Single compressor that uses two pistons working together for high load situations, and single piston operation for typical load situations. Other innovations include the Stealth Hot Heat Pump, Simplicity™ commercial controls, and the company’s most recent introduction of the new generation Affinity™ residential heating and cooling product line.

Today the company has a nationwide distribution network, is an Energy Star partner, and has a wide array of contractor training and support programs — including the Liberties program — to help make those contractors successful.

Innovation doesn’t end with its product — York has entered the information age with its ”e-biz” tools to provide a complete online resource for its contractor customers. This includes YorkNet, where contractors can go for real-time parts ordering, warranty and returns management, and training. There are also business tools online, such as a business analyzer, web page design tools for York dealers, and a Build-a-Brochure™ online tool as well.

Today, York operates in a decentralized environment where business units are accountable for their individual success as well as the success of York in its entirety. These business units include the Engineered Systems Group (ESG), the Unitary Products Group (UPG), York Refrigeration (YR), Bristol Compressors, and Asia Pacific. For more information on York International, visit www.york.com.

As Contracting Business celebrates its 60th year of serving the HVACR industry, we salute the dedication and innovation of York International and all its employees, vendors/suppliers, distributors, and contractors in this, the company’s 130th year. Congratulations.

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