Last week, Nortek Global HVAC made public that by October 31, production will cease at what’s still known around Mercer as the Reznor plant. Reznor has been making heating products in Mercer since 1888.
In the display area of the Mercer County Historical Society, there are a dozen antique Reznor heaters — pre-1940.
Executive Director Bill Philson said the company started 131 years ago with Civil War veteran George Reznor.
“He built this thing, this heater, and he started making them in the back of the old Humes Hotel.”
By 1911, Reznor had a catalog showing all of the styles of upright heaters available for homes. The cover of the 1922 catalog had a mother and child in a bathroom, keeping warm with a wall-mounted Reznor heater.
At one point, Reznor also made washboards — the 10-year guarantee printed on top.
Still, the company is most famous for its heaters.
“They’ve made household heaters, they’ve made industrial heaters. A lot of people will know them from industrial usages,” Philson said.
In fact, at the plant east of Mercer, there is an industrial Reznor heater right out front.
Reznors are also popular for heating garages.
For the first 75 years, the company was family-owned. In one picture of eight company executives, three of them are Reznors.
“It’s a very well-known name and it’s known worldwide,” Philson said.
Though the name Reznor remains visible at the Mercer plant, there’s been an ownership or name change 15 times since 1963.
Before the year’s over, the plant will close, ending Mercer’s long legacy of Reznor heaters.
“It’s very much a part of Mercer Borough in that it’s been an economic driving force for the last 120, 130 years,” Philson said. “It’s hard to see something like that go away.”
Probably the most famous Reznor is Trent Reznor — the man behind the rock band Nine Inch Nails — who can trace his ancestry back to George Reznor and the start of the company in 1888.