Tradition of Innovation

Inside Airolite - Tradition of Innovation.

Airolite’s long tradition of innovation began in 1916 when Albert C. Wendelken invented and patented a three-piece window-wall unit to bring fresh air into a year-round sleeping porch.

The window-wall he created consisted of a glass sash, screen and adjustable louver ventilating sash. In 1919, Wendelken sold his metal lover door panel to several businessmen in Marietta, Ohio who began marketing the product under the Airolite name.

In 1926, A.L. Murray and S.C. Gilman purchased the company and shifted the company’s focus to customized Airolite door panels that changed the design of commercial buildings such as hotels and office buildings. The Airolite door panels excluded corridor lights, ensured privacy, protected against intruders and allowed circulation of fresh air without drafts.

By the early 1940s, Airolite evolved again and concentrated on producing exterior wall louvers that could be used in any structure that required fresh air ventilation and protection from the natural elements. During World War II, Airolite created specialized louvers for the portholes of naval ships. These unique louvers allowed fresh air in, but did not allow light to escape and alert enemy submarines.

By war’s end, the use of air conditioning had made door louvers nearly obsolete. Always looking forward, Airolite leveraged its very strong position in the architectural market to expand its exterior ventilating wall louver line. Airolite was at that time—and now—very much admired for its durable, all-welded construction that held up to high winds and virtually eliminated the annoying vibration noise that was common in many competitors’ products. 

In the 1950s, Airolite began using extruded aluminum that was versatile, lightweight, rust- resistant and could be molded into intricate shapes. In 1956, Airolite built the first U.S. wind-driven test facility, setting itself apart from its competitors with its commitment to laboratory testing and performance data.

Over the years, Airolite has continued to help architects meet new challenges with new product development and extraordinary customer service like Qwik Ship, which allows customers to select 1-, 5-, 10-, 15-, and 20-day manufacturing cycles for standard, non-engineered, mill finished louvers or 5-, 10-, 15- and 25-day manufacturing cycles for finished louvers. Now part of the Greenheck Group—the world’s leading manufacturer of air movement and control products—Airolite continues to fulfill the unique visions of our clients with innovative, high-performance custom products that meld form with function—and exceptional customer service that delivers “The look that works.”

Find out more about our 95-year tradition of excellence by downloading “Celebrating 95 Years.”