Lennox International Inc. is one of the privately-owned largest companies in the world. Company has grown gradually since 1904 – As their website says, in these 125 years, they have seen weathered wars, natural disasters, economic recessions, and most recently a pandemic, and this all, on these three guiding principles: Integrity, Respect, and Excellence.
Lennox produces various residential and commercial heating, air conditioning, and refrigeration equipment and components based on three manufacturing subsidiaries. They are named as follows- Lennox Industries Inc., Heatcraft Inc., and Armstrong Air Conditioning Inc.
The company owner of the entire Lennox International is almost all the members of the Norris family. W. Norris, Jr., is chairman of the board and chief executive officer. About 100 descendants of founder D. W. Norris own shares of Lennox.
Lennox’s starting point was Marshalltown, Iowa, during the last few years of the 19th century. The first product, the riveted steel metal coal furnace, was designed and patented by two inventors Ernest Bryant and Ezra Smith. Their product was a significant improvement compared to the furnaces of that time. Dave Lennox was hired to build the necessary equipment of the machine for the furnace.
Bryant and Smith did not have enough funding to pay Lennox, and so Lennox got the product patented again, altered Later, he decided to sell the furnace business. It was owned by D.W. Norris, who was editor and publisher of the newspaper. He merged the operation as Lennox Furnace company and progressed in selling 600 furnaces in the company’s first year.
The method opted by the Lennox company for distribution, selling, and delivering products directly to authorized dealers was set up in the company’s first year itself, and it is followed to date. Norris’s president used his area of expertise in newspaper advertising and established a direct link to dealers.
Today the same network has grown to 6000 independent dealers in 70 countries globally, a fantastic establishment in the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry.
John W. Norris, son of D. W. Norris, started working in the company in 1927 after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. One of the great things he did was setting up the research department in the 1930s. The future growth of the company can be said the result of this research department.
This development includes adding blowers to the furnaces, the appearance of oil and gas forced-air furnaces, a three-ton water-cooled air conditioner, compressors, and air conditioning systems, commercial air conditioning systems that saved energy by using outside air whenever possible, Power Saver air conditioner, and many more in the future.
Making the necessary business decision as needed and required, they increased manufacturing plants, further innovations. They expanded the scope of operations, full-production facilities in different locations, tack-ticks to improve sales, and many more strategies to improve and develop. Lennox continued to expand quickly in both its product line and geographical scope for the next half-century.