Chuck Campbell, CEO of Friedrich Air Conditioning, is leading the company into its next cool invention.
But, the company already has a rich history of some pretty cool stuff that’s still around.
Wentzel Friedrich was a German cabinet maker who migrated to the U.S. and eventually moved to San Antonio. He taught his sons Ed and Richard Friedrich the trade.
Wentzel became famous for his horn furniture and in 1883, Ed founded ‘Friedrich.’
“They started out making furniture and over time got into different types of products in the 1920s. They got into refrigeration equipment for restaurants, bars, things like that, and in the 1950s got into air conditioning,” said Campbell.
But it was the next big venture that launched them into the AC business.
“In the 1950s, we were the first to introduce a window air conditioner and it really caught on quickly,” Campbell said.
About a decade ago, one of the first units made was discovered, and was still in working condition.
“Several years ago, a consumer called us up and said they had a really old air conditioner. Would we like it back?” he said. “We found out it was the fourth air conditioner we ever built in1952, and to this day, it still runs and blows cold air.”
Friedrich ACs can be found in homes, hotels, apartments and senior living centers. The headquarters, testing and engineering is still based in San Antonio.
The company has gone on to other firsts, including the first to use environmentally friendly refrigerant, and the first to connect products to Wi-Fi and smart devices, according to Campbell.
“We want people to see Friedrich products locally and think that we’re a good employer and part of the local community,” he said.
Friedrich is listed on the City of San Antonio’s Office of Historic Preservation’s list of Legacy Businesses.