A family basement in Detroit, MI provided the humble beginnings for a company founded by Arthur and Grace Redner in 1937. Initially manufacturing lube oil filters (under the General Brand) used in Model T & Model A automobiles, the couple supported WWII efforts in the 1940’s by manufacturing pump and filter units for aircraft. As home heating shifted from coal to fuel oil, the Redners’ then developed the first wool-felt fiber element for cleaning home heating oil.
Operations expanded to Canada, where Canadian General Filters, Ltd was founded in Scarborough at the end of the 1940’s. Brands like Gar-Ber and Unifilter® were added.
Early in the 1950’s a decision was made to diversify by introducing whole-house humidification to the residential home heating industry. Six flow-through pad models of humidifiers were offered along with two plate-type designs. It was also in the 1950’s that Arthur retired, Grace assumed the presidency and the company moved its headquarters from Detroit to Novi, MI.
A new generation of Redners’ took over in the 1960’s, and two more manufacturing additions were completed at the Novi headquarters to meet growing production demands. Sons Roland and Robert P. Redner led the company well into the 1980’s; introducing General Filters’ first micro-fiber media air cleaner.
As pollution concerns grew, General Filters introduced a unique whole-house activated charcoal based air purifier in the 1990’s. Adding charcoal to the filter made it more efficient at removing odors, smoke, chemical emissions and other harmful impurities in the air.
Today a third generation leads the helm: Carl Redner, President; John Redner, Vice President and Bob Redner, Vice President. The strength of General Filters’ market presence is preserved by recognizable brands like GeneralAire®, Gar-Ber, General and Unifilter®. In addition to the quality fuel oil filters by which the company was founded, General Filters offers a complete line of whole house residential indoor air quality products that include air cleaners, UV air purifiers, heat & energy recovery ventilators, humidifiers and dehumidifiers. Products reach customers via General Filters’ vast network of wholesaler partners.
President Carl Redner: “Our parents encouraged us to pursue a career in whatever field we wanted, but we each decided to build our careers with the family business. We believe in the products we manufacture and the benefits they provide. When someone tells me that one of our products has made a significant difference in their health it renews my sense of purpose and re-confirms my decision to stay with the family business.”
General Filters introduced a new website this year to celebrate their 75 years, along with a special “Celebrating 75 Years” anniversary logo that will be featured throughout the year.