In the winter of 1918, Modine had solid roots in the booming American auto industry market. However, frigid Wisconsin temperatures and inadequate heating options caused Arthur B. Modine to head to the drawing table and develop a revolutionary new heating product. Armed with ingenuity and a need to improve the comfort of employees, Modine combined an automotive radiator, a fan, and steam pipes to construct the first unit heater, thus creating Modine’s Heating Division.
Within ten years of its rudimentary beginnings, the Modine Heating Division had developed additional unit heaters, including regular, vertical, and power throw configurations. Modine also licensed the patented technology to 15 companies and controlled more than 94% of the unit heater market. The Modine name was so synonymous with the unit heater that many contractors and builders used “Modine” as the generic product name. Even today, many people ask for a “Modine.”
Because Heating Division products were sold through engineers and architects to contractors by a sales representative, Modine utilized marketing and advertising strategies to promote them. Much later on, Arthur Modine even took to the skies, utilizing banner ads behind an airplane flying throughout the United States to promote Modine’s products.
As he did with Modine’s vehicular business, Arthur Modine started with an identified need, added some ingenuity, and created a business that is still thriving today.