Hunter Fan Company (Tennessee states) : The oldest and largest ceiling fan manufacturer in the United States


( Hunter Fan Company is the world's oldest and largest ceiling fan manufacturer. The Memphis-based company produces more than 300 residential, commercial, and industrial ceiling fan models under such names as the 1886 Limited Edition, the Hunter Original, the Seville, and the Fantasy Flier.

Recognized throughout North America and the world for its unparalleled commitment to quality, the result of a 500-step inspection process, Hunter has earned a reputation for producing powerful but quiet, wobble-free ceiling fans and is believed to offer the most extensive service and warranty program in the industry. Although the company is best known for its wide variety of ceiling fans that are sold through home centers, discount stores, fan shops, and lighting showrooms, it also manufactures more than 100 decorative and mounting accessories as well as a line of programmable thermostats, highly energy-efficient room air conditioners, and decorative indoor/outdoor residential lighting products. Accounting for nearly one percent of the room air conditioner market, Hunter has manufacturing operations in Memphis as well as in Mexico and the Far East.

The Hunter Fan Company was founded in 1886 in Syracuse, New York, by James C. Hunter and his father, John Hunter, immigrants from Ireland. Originally known as the Hunter Fan and Ventilating Company, the fledgling business first engaged in the manufacture of water motors and meters. The founders expanded their operations to include the production of belt-driven fans, the power for which was first provided by water motors and later by the Tuerk Electric Motor, which they developed. The Hunter reputation for quality was established early in the company's history: some of these earliest belt-driven fans are still in use today after more than a century.

In 1889 the growing company moved its operations to Fulton, New York, where it would spend the next fifty years at a plant located at Front Street, extending from Huling Street to Tolbot Street. Twelve years later, upon the death of John Hunter, his six sons incorporated the company and focused their attention on expanding the production of ceiling fans. By the early 1920s, the company was widely known for its high-quality electric fans. The early models featured natural wood blades with ornate hardware and came with only two blades; however, for two dollars more, customers could purchase a four-bladed model. Noted for their elaborate "Dragon" design, the electric fans were best suited for ceilings from ten feet and up and were advertised as "ready for electric lights." By the early 1920s the Hunter name was widely known throughout the United States and the world. The fans were especially popular in India and China, and throughout the Far East, where thousands were exported each year.

By the mid-1920s, desk oscillating fans had been added to the Hunter product line. In 1936, after purchasing the fan division of Century Electric Company, Hunter began manufacturing large pedestal air circulating fans and direct exhaust fans as well, which were used by many of the finest hotels and stores. Two years later, the company began producing attic fans as well. With the onset of World War II, the company suspended the manufacturing of ventilating equipment for consumer use and concentrated its efforts on aiding the war effort, producing belt fans for government use in Army hospitals and barracks, and portable ventilators and oscillators for the Navy.

Behind the strength of its bold marketing strategy, Hunter Fan has entered its second century of operation well positioned for continued expansion. With a wide range of ceiling fans, lighting fixtures, and other cooling products in its repertoire, and its long history of excellence in quality and service, the company is expected to move well beyond the $200 million mark. How far past this level the company will go depends largely on the state of the U.S. construction market, the success of new competitors to the industry, and the height of the mercury on the thermometer.

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