York International is the final name of a company started in York, Pennsylvania in 1874, which developed the York brand of refrigeration and HVAC equipment. The York brand is now owned (since 2005) by Johnson Controls.
The company began as York Manufacturing Company (YMC). YMC had 6 original investors, Stephen Morgan Smith, Jacob Loucks, Henry H. LaMotte, Oliver J. Bollinger, George Buck, and Robert Shetter. The company made a variety of products over the decades. Its early-era product line included steam engines, turbines, washing machines, and farm machinery. Its interests grew in commercial ice making plant and commercial refrigeration plant for food processing and commercial cold storage; these eventually developed into its main line of business from the 1890s through the 1920s. For example, it did a lot of dairy plant business, including ice cream plant, as well as air washing for large buildings (a form of dehumidification that presaged modern air conditioning). Its ice machinery was used in part as a new source of ice (besides ice cut in winter) for the large ice trade. In the late 1920s, York Machinery Company bought seven of its eight independent sales companies and three companies selling collateral equipment. The new, larger York was called the York Ice Machinery Corporation. In the 1920s and subsequently, the commercial business lines evolved with the gradual advent of widespread home refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners—the consumerization of the refrigeration industry, which had earlier been only commercial and industrial. Thus York became a builder of major appliances and of refrigeration compressors for sale to other OEMs, and it became an important brand in what had now coalesced into the commercial and residential HVAC industry (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning combined into integrated systems). It provided massive air conditioning plant for skyscrapers all the way down to AC window units for a single room. In 1956, Borg-Warner purchased the company, making it the York Division of Borg-Warner. In 1986, York was spun off as an independent company, York International.
At the time of its acquisition by Johnson Controls in 2005, it was the world's largest independent manufacturer of air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration machinery. The company was sold to Johnson Controls for $3.2 billion in August 2005. Its stock symbol was formerly YRK.
A monograph of the company's history from its origins through 1997, providing some good insight into the history of the industry, was published among the Legend monograph series of corporate histories.
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