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The History of Buffalo Forge

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The History of Buffalo Forge


The History of Buffalo Forge - The Road to Howden Americas

Buffalo Forge started as a company that manufactured portable forges for blacksmiths and metal workers, hence the name Buffalo Forge. These forges employed a lever driven fan, rather than a bellows, to supply air to the forge. From that lever-driven fan, they immersed themselves in fans and air handling equipment and grew to become a leading producer of fans and air handling equipment for industrial and commercial applications - including equipment that heats and cools some of the most iconic buildings throughout the world.

Being acquired by Howden, the existing Buffalo Forge brand is under the control of Howden Americas, who still maintain a sizeable presence in Buffalo, NY.

Since the early years, Buffalo Forge was recognised as a leader in technology for fans and air handling equipment. In 1902, one of their top engineers, Willis Carrier, invented what we now know as modern air conditioning. In 1911, Carrier developed the psychometric chart, which forms the basis for air conditioning theory. In 1914, Buffalo Forge published the First Edition of Fan Engineering, which was edited by Carrier. Now in it’s Ninth Edition, the Fan Engineering handbook is recognized as the authoritative text on fans and air handling equipment throughout the industry.

Although we no longer produce Buffalo Forge branded machines, we still supply Buffalo Forge design axial and centrifugal fans, still continuing to service and support the existing Buffalo Forge fans through our industry-leading aftermarket group.

Today Howden Americas brings industrial fans, including Buffalo Forge designs, to almost every part of the globe. But it has not been a straight-forward journey to get to where we are today. Below we have outlined the History of Buffalo Forge and how it came to be part of Howden.

The History of Buffalo Forge

Buffalo Forge timeline
1878 - The Buffalo Forge Company was formed
William F.Wendt became a part-owner and formed the Buffalo Forge Company as a means to manufacture blacksmith’s forges.

1883 - William Wendt introduces brother Henry W. Wendt into the business
After buying out his former partner, Charles Hammelmann, William Wendt brought his brother Henry W. Wendt into the prospering business, Buffalo Forge.

1883-89 - The Buffalo Forge product line expands
With the corner blacksmith slowly disappearing, the brothers were ready to explore America’s industrial expansion including drilling machines, and the discovery of air as a usable tool for many jobs.

Buffalo Forge developed and evolved:

  • Hand-operated blacksmith post drills ie hand crank blowers

  • Exhaust fans for industrial users

  • Ventilating fans in public buildings

  • A line of blacksmith tools: lever-operated punches, shears, and bar-cutters that further evolved into combination machines and bending rolls.

  • “Armor-Plate” steel frames with the claim of being “unbreakable forever”.

  • Complete lines of power drills

  • Steam engines and pumps

1900 - Buffalo Forge was incorporated
With a capitalisation of $500,000 that was increased to $1,000,000 the following year.

1902 - Geo. L. Squier Manufacturing Company of Buffalo is purchased.
This purchase opened Buffalo Forge up to a South and Central America market

1902 - Willis Carrier, a Buffalo Forge engineer, invents modern air conditioning
Carrier was soon named to head a subsidiary of Buffalo Forge named Carrier Air Conditioning Company, in honour of the young engineer.

1915 - Carrier leaves Buffalo Forge to form the Carrier Engineering Corporation
After WW1 the Buffalo Forge Company decided to confine its activities entirely to manufacturing, resulting in Carrier, along with six other colleagues used their personal savings of $32,000 to incorporate Carrier Engineering Corporation.

1941 - Control of Buffalo Forge changed from the Wendt family to a public stock offering
In 1941, it was decided that stockholders would be best served if the stock were placed on the New York Stock Exchange.
A reorganisation took place so that The Squier Corporation, Buffalo Pumps, Inc., and the Canadian Companies became wholly-owned subsidiaries of Buffalo Forge Company, and stock was offered to the public for the first time.

1981 - Buffalo Forge was acquired by Ampco-Pittsburgh

1993 - Acquired by Howden Group

1999 - The Howden subsidiary containing the remainder of Buffalo Forge was renamed Howden Buffalo.

2010 - The Howden subsidiary containing the remainder of Buffalo Forge was renamed Howden North America.

2018 - Today Buffalo Forge is handled under our Howden Americas region.

To find out more about what other brands we have acquired here at Howden take a look at our Supported Brands At Howden page.

If you want to know more about our wide range of industrial fans take a look at our Fans page.

Please get in touch today if you have any questions or queries about Buffalo Forge or Howden Americas Get In Touch

Article Date

Monday, 24 June 2019



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