A History of Innovation

Mestek is an extremely broad and diversified HVAC/Architectural products company.  While that makes our products some of the most widely used in the construction industry we face an interesting problem.... very few people have heard of us.  Since the company goes to market with the individual brand names manufactured by our various divisions the name "Mestek" is pretty much unknown.

Many of the brands that make up the Mestek family have long histories in the HVAC business.  One of those brands is produced in Dallas and is known as "LJ Wing".  We recently did a little digging in our archives and came across a brief history of the brand that I want to share. 

The LJ Wing company actually started with the inventions of Mr. Levi Wing back in 1875.  Yes, that date is correct...1875!  As early as 1878 Wing was starting to receive awards for designs of products such as a ventilation fan. In 1902 the company was officially incorporated as the LJ Wing Manufacturing Company and that company name stayed unchanged for the next 63 years.  Through a series of sales and acquisitions LJ Wing finally became a part of Mestek in 1987.

Looking back through the history of Wing highlighted how innovative the company has been over the past 100 plus years.

  • Wing is believed to be the originator of gas engine power for marine applications.  Your current outboard motor was spawned from that idea decades ago.
  • Wing received a number of awards from 1878 through 1893 for design and development of a ventilation fan known at the time as a "disc fan"... basically a precursor to today's "propeller" fans.
  • One of the other significant innovations that was part of the development of the disc fan was the integration an electric, steam, or gas-powered motor to drive the fan.
  • Following along this line of integrating unique, for the time, drive systems 1907 saw Wing introduce a turbine-driven forced draft blower for the power plant industry.
  • In 1917 Wing introduced marine versions of its propeller fans to the US Navy.  This design ended up installed on over 200 US Navy destroyers over the next couple of years and, eventually, on almost 80% of the fleet.
  • 1920 saw the first product that would eventually become part of today's product line...a lightweight, overhead mounted, unit heater with hydronic coil.
  • In the late '20s Wing introduced what we know today as "door heaters".
  • In the late '30s a core product of today's company was introduced... the integral face and bypass coil.  Originally in a vertical configuration the same basic coil design is available today in both vertical and horizontal configurations.
  • Also in the late '30s Wing introduced an axial flow blower system to industry and the navy.
  • Another unique, and still produced today, product developed in 1935 was the revolving discharge that allows unit heaters to spread heat over broad areas by slowly spinning the discharge openings through 360 degrees of rotation.

Over the next 90 years Wing products were refined and modified for better performance and reliability.  Then, in 2014, Wing products that have integrated fans and housings were upgraded with optional DDC controls that not only control unit operation but allow the LJ Wing products to be integrated into a building automation system or accessed remotely via the Internet.

LJ Wing clearly has a history of innovation and a history that has survived all of the major economic downturns.  Engineers, contractors, and owners who specify or purchase LJ Wing products can obviously have confidence that the company will be there to support them. 

Wing is just one of the many brands produced in Dallas by the Mestex division of Mestek and the common theme for all of those brands is innovation, stability, and longevity.

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