Vent-Axia celebrates 80 years of innovation

Vent-Axia, 80th Birthday, 2016

UK ventilation company, Vent-Axia, celebrated its 80th anniversary at its Crawley HQ last month, with a ceremony attended by the town’s Mayor, Cllr Raj Sharma and local MP, Henry Smith. To mark the occasion, Vent-Axia buried a time capsule in its grounds.

Founded by Joe Akester in 1936 when he invented the world’s first electrically-operated window fan, Vent-Axia has been a leading British manufacturer ever since. Now a multi-million pound company, Vent-Axia has become a household name, featuring annually in the UK Superbrands league table and holding the prestigious Royal Warrant.

Central to the company’s success is its innovation. Its new products, as a proportion of sales, are three-times the average of existing products in its catalogue.

During the last year Vent-Axia has launched a raft of best in class products including: the Sentinel Kinetic Advance, the first UK-manufactured web-enabled Mechanical Ventilation with Heat Recovery (MVHR) system; the Lo-Carbon Revive, a fan designed specifically for the social housing sector; and the Lo-Carbon Svara the UK’s first App-controlled bathroom fan. To reflect this innovation Vent-Axia chose to include the Lo-Carbon Svara in its time capsule.

World first

“We are delighted to be celebrating our 80th Anniversary at Vent-Axia. From the very beginning, with Joe Akester’s invention of the world’s first electrically-operated window fan, Vent-Axia has been a company built on innovation. We have continued this ethos over the years, developing, expanding and innovating to create the very best in ventilation. This is a tradition that we are very proud to continue today with launch of our latest best in class products, as we look forward to the next 80 years ahead,” said Mark Hoskins, Managing Director at Vent-Axia.

Henry Smith MP said: “I am thrilled that Vent-Axia, an innovative, locally based, world-class company, is celebrating its 80th Anniversary. I am proud that this iconic and historic business continues to manufacturer in Crawley and wish the company continued success over the next 80 years and beyond.”

At the 80th Anniversary Celebration, guests toured the Crawley facilities seeing some of the latest fans manufactured on the production lines. This was followed by words from Vent-Axia’s Managing Director, Mark Hoskins, Henry Smith MP and 91-year-old ex-employee Edna Barnett. Edna worked with Vent-Axia from 1943 to her retirement in 1985 and delighted guests with anecdotes from her early days working with the company’s founder Joe Akester at Vent-Axia, as well as the exciting day she opened the envelope that contained a cheque to Vent-Axia from Winston Churchill.

Time capsule

The focal point of the 80th Anniversary celebration was the burial of a metal time capsule by the Mayor of Crawley, Cllr Raj Sharma and Henry Smith MP, outside the Vent-Axia reception. The time capsule is to be buried for 80 years and contains items that reflect Vent-Axia today, such as its innovative Lo-Carbon Svara – the UK’s first App-controlled bathroom fan and photos of the Vent-Axia team – plus objects that reflect the current time we live in, such as the current issues of local papers, a pound coin and press coverage on Brexit.

Sir Winston Churchill was one of the company’s first customers with Vent-Axia supplying ventilation for 10 Downing Street during World War Two. The company’s innovations are now present in a wide range of landmark projects from buildings in Her Majesty’s Royal Estates to the White House.

Leading the way in design and reliability Vent-Axia’s products also stand the test of time with its T-Series fan inducted into the hall of fame as the UK’s favourite commercial fan. The T-Series has sold 1.4 million fans since 1986 with the fan illustrating that good design doesn’t age.

Each year the company supplies air management solutions for over half a million installations across the residential, commercial and industrial sectors in the UK and around the World.

Did you know?
  • The Silent Six was donated to the Science Museum in 1976.
  • One of Vent-Axia’s first customers was Sir Winston Churchill. During World War Two, Vent-Axia created the right air quality for clear thinking at No.10 Downing Street.
  • A Vent-Axia fan is mentioned in the first page of the James Bond best seller Moonraker by Ian Fleming, published in 1955. The author was fascinated by brands and used them in his book.
  • The T-Series fan celebrates its 30th birthday this year. It is the UK’s favourite commercial fan selling 1.4 million fans since its launch.
  • The T-Series fan appeared in the classic 1986 film Aliens.
  • Banksy has used a Vent-Axia HR500 through the wall heat recovery unit as part of his graffiti artwork on the side of a Torquay hotel in Devon. The artwork is of a little boy drawing a giant robot. The Vent-Axia fan features in the eyes of a robot drawing.
  • A planet called Ventaxia features in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Devil’s Due, which was first broadcast in 1991.