100 years is a remarkably long life, for a person or a company. Very few people live to see their 100th birthday, and most businesses fail to last 100 days in operation. Here in 2021, we proudly mark the occasion of the 100th anniversary of AAF.
Back in 1921, World War I was fresh in people’s minds, and the Industrial Revolution had transformed much of the world from an economy based on farming to one based on manufacturing. Engineer and entrepreneur Bill Reed painted automobiles in his workshop in Louisville, KY. Because he grew irritated with dust fouling his work, Reed inserted steel wool between two layers of chicken wire and into a wood frame, inventing what would become a game-changing air filter.
Discovering that his invention was popular not only in the automotive industry but other settings as well, Reed founded the Reed Air Filter Company. The company established its first offices and manufacturing plant on Central Avenue in 1924. Five years later, Reed merged his company with seven other manufacturers to form the American Air Filter Company, or AAF.
Meanwhile also in 1924, the company that would become Daikin and, much later, AAF’s parent company was founded in Osaka, Japan. The company began by producing radiator tubes and related products for aircraft. Daikin started making coolants and other chemicals in 1935, eventually branching into manufacturing air conditioners in 1951.
Back in the US, A. R. Allan, Jr. founded the Flanders Filter Corporation in 1950. His company would be the first air filter manufacturer to sell commercial high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, to develop multiple improvements to HEPA filters, and to produce ultra-low particulate air (ULPA) filters.
Given each company’s tradition of innovation, perhaps they were destined to join forces. In 2006, Daikin acquired AAF International, which became part of the Daikin Group. Ten years later, AAF merged with Flanders, creating AAF Flanders in the process. The resulting company still stands as the world leader in clean air solutions for homes, businesses, and industries today.
Want to learn more? Please visit our company timeline on the AAF History page. Be sure to check out our Filtration Firsts.