ASHLAND CITY, Tenn. - Water heater industry pioneer John R. Lindahl Sr., cofounder of State Industries, passed away July 5, 2006. He was 84.

"John was a pioneer and an icon in the water heater industry," said Ajita Rajendra, president, A.O. Smith Water Products Co. "We have all lost a good friend and role model, and I know I speak for the entire A.O. Smith family when I say he will be missed."

Born in 1922, Lindahl piloted a B-26 Marauder on 64 bombing raids during World War II. After the war, he returned home to Nashville, Tenn., to manage State Stove & Manufacturing Co., which was cofounded by his father. At the time, Lindahl worked in the factory, delivered water heaters on his truck, and installed them by hand. Two years later, he designed his first original water heating equipment.

Lindahl was known "for spurring numerous technical advances in the water heater industry, as well as a way of doing business that revolved around building and managing industry relationships," the company said. "He was the first manufacturer in the industry to focus on energy efficiency, and the first to use insulating foam between the tank and the jacket."

Lindahl also introduced the Sandblaster® self-cleaning device to reduce sediment accumulation, and pioneered the development and use of self-cleaning dip tubes. He was inducted into the Plumbing Heating Cooling and Piping (PHCP) Hall of Fame in 1993.

Publication date: 08/07/2006