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Nesbitt Aire, Inc. records

1933-2001 Majority of material found within 1950-1975
Accession: 2359


Nesbitt Aire, Inc. is one of the leading manufacturers of school heating and cooling systems. The Nesbitt Aire, Inc. records are a collection of product catalogues from the heating and cooling business of the company dating from 1933 to 2001. There is also a small portion of business correspondence, meeting minutes, employee newsletters, manuals and other publications.


  • 1933-2001
  • Majority of material found within 1950-1975



10 Linear Feet

General Physcial Description

8 boxes.

Historical Note

Nesbitt Aire, Inc. is one of the leading manufacturers of school heating and cooling systems. The John J. Nesbitt Contracting firm was formed in the early 1900s in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 1922 the company was incorporated after Nesbitt's eldest son Alfred joined him. The company became John J. Nesbitt, Inc. Nesbitt, Inc. entered the heating and cooling industry in 1926 with the development of a light weight copper radiator. This innovation was a major development in the heating industry. Nesbitt found its niche in producing heating and cooling elements for schools. In 1926 Nesbitt purchased the Buckeye Blower Co. of Columbus Ohio. With this purchase Nesbitt gained the rights to all of Buckeye's patents. These new patents allowed Nesbitt's Chief Engineer, John W. McElgin, to introduce a line of extremely effective steam distribution coils. With this line of coils Nesbitt established its place in the industry as a leader and innovator. In 1933 Nesbitt introduced its first air conditioning unit. Unfortunately for Nesbitt the unit was not commercially viable. It wouldn't be until the mid-1950s that Nesbitt produced air conditioners again. Throughout the 1950s and 60s Nesbitt was a major produced in the heating industry. In the late 1960s and early 1970s they developed rooftop units capable of heating and cooling up to a 75 ton capacity. in 1979 Nesbitt was forced to sell under the weight of bankruptcy. A group of former employees bought the rights to the company and reorganized under the name of Mechanical Specialties Inc. MSI thrived for nearly a decade before having to declare bankruptcy. MSI was purchased by the Mestek Company from CoreStates Bank in 1991. Mestek Inc. continued to use the Nesbitt brand until 2000 when bankruptcy forced the sale of Nesbitt to PEF Industries Inc. PEF formed a new firm called Nesbitt Aire, Inc., as a wholly owned subsidiary and moved production to Somerville, Tenn. The company remained short of capital and entered bankruptcy again in 2003. It was sold to Special Situations Fund, LLC, and Morris Capital Management, Inc., of Chattanooga, specialists in corporate turnarounds and salvage, and was reorganized as NesbittAire, LLC. After a brief period of rehabilitation, it was resold to the RSI Company of Cleveland, Ohio., who continues to manufacture the Nesbitt line. The Tennessee plant was sold at auction on May 21, 2005.

Scope and Content

The Nesbitt Aire, Inc. records are a collection of product catalogues from the heating and cooling business of the company. The catalogues span a time period from 1933-2001 with a bulk range of 1950-1975. The catalogues feature all of the parts and products that the Nesbitt company produced during this time period.

The collection includes a small amount of correspondence to stockholders concerning dividend payments and share values.

There is a nearly complete run of Nesbitt company newsletters from 1951 to 1967 along with employee handbooks, company reports, meeting minutes and agendas, and the company history. The Nesbitt company history includes pictures of the Nesbitt family, award ceremonies, and company employees at work and at social functions.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

These records are located in remote storage. Please contact staff 48 hours in advance of research visit at

Additional Information

Additional Description


Gift of the Nesbitt Family

Related Names


Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Nesbitt Aire, Inc. records
Jason Sylvestre
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
Script of description:

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA