The Global Appeal of Clean Air

April 29, 2021

Over the last 100 years, AAF has drastically expanded its footprint and its product offerings. Of course, our company started out in 1921 in a garage in Louisville, KY, where our found Bill Reed invented an air filter to preserve his paint jobs. By 1929, Bill Reed merged his namesake company with seven others to create American Air Filter Company, which serviced the entire U.S. and parts of South America.


Initially, the air filter was available in only one type of construction. Specifically, it was a panel filter, with steel wool tucked into layers of chicken wire held together by a wood frame. Before long, however, new types of air filters started to emerge. These newer forms included pleated filters, filters made with a media pad, and filters that featured a series of pockets or bags. These filters had greater surface area, which allowed them to hold more dust while more air was able to pass through.


Because of overseas demand for air filters, AAF began operating in Europe and Asia in the 1950s and ‘60s. In 1970, the company established headquarters on both continents to better serve customers there. These offices eventually expanded their geography to include the Middle East and North Africa.


By the middle of the 20th century, air filtration had made major leaps forward. New media materials, such as fiberglass, had emerged, and the types of filters available boomed in terms of both construction styles and ability to capture increasingly smaller particles. Besides improved designs for panel filters, pleated filters, and bag filters, AAF introduced box filters and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. By the end of the century, air filters became capable of capturing still finer particles with ultra-low particulate air (ULPA) filters and controlling gases and odors with high-efficiency gas absorption (HEGA) filters.


Today AAF is the world's largest manufacturer of air filtration solutions. We operate production, warehousing, and distribution facilities in 22 countries across four continents. AAF offers comprehensive, innovative air filtration solutions that remove and control airborne particulates and gaseous contaminants in homes, businesses, and industries.


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