1888 — The first recorded meeting of a group of manufacturers in our industry takes place. Representatives of four ice-making machinery manufacturers meet at the old Aster House in New York City to consider what might be accomplished “for mutual benefit in standardization of product.”

1903 — In February, Builders of Ice and Refrigerating Machinery meet in Cincinnati.

1903 — In September, the first formal attempt at organizing an association is made at Blue Mountain House, MD, when the Ice Machine Builders’ Association of the United States is formed. This is the earliest ancestor of ARI. The association met eight more times.

1914 — Manufacturers of Refrigerating and Ice Making Machinery meet in Chicago to form a permanent organization “to promote cooperative effort in regard to standardization of terms of payment, erroneous and false reports of salesmen, union labor difficulties, standardization of equipment, and trade practices.” Theodore O. Vilter, Vilter Manufacturing Co., is named president. A month later, the Refrigerating Machinery Club adopts a constitution and bylaws.

1918 — The club changes its name to Refrigerating Machinery Manufacturers’ Association.

1924 — The association’s name is shortened to the Refrigerating Machinery Association.

1935 — The Air-Conditioning Manufacturers Association is formed under the name Unit Air Conditioner Manufacturers Association.

1939 — The first All-Industry Exposition is held by the Refrigeration Supplies and Parts Manufacturers Association, another ARI forbearer made up wholly of the makers of parts and equipment.

1940 — The Refrigerating Machinery Association combines with the Air-Conditioning Manufacturers Association to form the Air-Conditioning and Refrigerating Machinery Association, Inc. (ACRMA), with its headquarters in Washington. The Refrigeration Supplies and Parts Manufacturers Association changes its name to Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers Association (REMA).

1950 — Vol. 1, No. 1 of REMAKoldfax is published on January 15, 1950, as successor to the Official Bulletin of REMA. Prior to 1950, REMA had published the Official Bulletin sporadically beginning during the years of WWII.

1953 — The two associations, REMA and ACRMA, unite to become the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute on April 23. REMAKoldfax becomes ARIKoldfax, and the first issue is published in July 1953. Managing director is George S. Jones Jr. President is L.C. McKesson.

1957 — Frederick J. Reed becomes ARI’s first Chief Engineer.

1958 — The first standard for heat pumps is published. ARI announces a new certification program for unitary air conditioners. ARI seal for unitary air conditioning equipment is introduced.

1959 — President Eisenhower tells ARI President Rudy Berg, “the most effective way the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute can assist (in achieving a balanced budget and forestalling inflation)…is for its members, individually and collectively, to make their wishes known to their elected representatives in the Congress and to those Congressional committees concerned with these matters.”

1960 — Tenth birthday of Koldfax. U.S. Air Force requires ARI seal on all unitary air conditioning equipment.

1962 — Certification program begins for unitary heat pumps.

1963 — ARI celebrates its 10th anniversary. ARI certificates are awarded to the first graduates of ARI-sponsored air conditioning and refrigeration technician courses. L.N. “Nat” Hunter is appointed Managing Director of ARI.

1964 — First sound standard is approved.

1965 — Certification Program for Central Station Air-Handling Units starts. ARI and the National Warm Air Heating and Air-Conditioning Association agree on proposal to realign their memberships. ARI adds 35 new companies.

1967 — ARI promotes new slogan, “Step Up to Conditioned Air.”

1968 — ARI announces sponsorship of first comprehensive textbooks on the fundamentals of air conditioning and refrigeration for secondary and post secondary schools. The Air Filters Institute merges with ARI.

1969 — ARI adds certification programs for central system humidifiers and for sound rating of outdoor unitary equipment.

1972 — ARI and ASHRAE combine forces for the first Combined Industry Expo in New Orleans, LA.

1973 — The first water cooler directory is published.

1974 — G.R. (Monk) Munger is appointed managing director of ARI.

1975 — Unitary Directory features energy efficiency ratios for the first time. William J. Bailey, president of Carrier Corp., is elected the first chairman of the board in ARI history. Chief Staff Executive Monk Munger is designated as president.

1979 — The first ARI textbook, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning, is published.

1981 — Richard C. Schulze is appointed ARI president. ARI publishes first statistical profile of the air conditioning, refrigeration, and heating industry.

1984 — Arnold Braswell is appointed president of ARI. First staff vice presidents are appointed: Herbert Philips, Engineering, and Joseph M. MaGuire, Policy and Government Affairs.

1986 — Air conditioning joins list of inventions immortalized in National Inventors Hall of Fame. Bar Code Application Guidelines for the HVACR Industry are jointly issued by ARI, ARW, and NHRAW. ARI endorses federal minimum efficiency standards for residential-type central air conditioning and heat pump systems.

1987 — President signs national Appliance Energy Conservation Act of 1987, originated and supported by a unique coalition co-spearheaded by ARI. Board initiates a research and technology program, with a new staff department and a standing committee to manage and oversee the program. Six hundred and ninety-three technicians take the first ARI/GAMA competency examinations (now called ICE). Curriculum Guide is published for HVACR training programs to use as a blueprint. Second edition of Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning is published.

1988 — U. S. Senate approves Montreal Protocol for Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

1989 — ARI publishes standard for defining acceptable levels of purity for new, reclaimed, or repackaged refrigerant used in air conditioning and refrigeration products.

1990 — Parties to Montreal Protocol agree in London to amendments that eliminate CFC use and production by the year 2000. ARI establishes product section for manufacturers of thermal storage equipment. ARI receives Presidents “E” Award for Export Service, the country’s highest export achievement award.

1991 — ARTI, an independent research affiliate of ARI, receives $2 million DOE grant to perform materials compatibility and lubricants research on CFC-refrigerant substitutes. ARI hosts “Addressing the Global Issues of Today and Tomorrow,” an international air conditioning and refrigeration forum, in New York. ARI receives EPA’s Ozone Protection Award.

1992 — The International Council of Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Manufacturers Association (ICARMA), a consultative council proposed and administered by ARI, holds its first meeting with participants from Canada, Europe, Japan, and the United States. ICARMA agrees on a common recommendation to governments regarding CFC/HCFC phaseout schedules. Montreal Protocol is revised to advance CFC phaseout to the end of 1995, with HCFCs to be phased out in steps by 2030. ARI launches Alternative Refrigerant Education Program (AREP) to find replacements for HCFC-22 and R-502. Over 30 companies from North America and overseas join the cooperative effort.

1993 — With publication of the Directory of Reclaimed Refrigerant, ARI launches its 19th product certification program. First refrigerant test reports are published by ARI and by ARTI. ARI is one of the first ten organizations approved to administer the EPA Technician Certification Test.

1994 — Clifford H. (Ted) Rees is appointed president of ARI. Eurovent establishes the first industry certification program for air conditioning equipment in Europe. The EPA Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program is finalized. ARI Positive Displacement Compressor Chiller Certification Program is approved. ARI’s Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (AREP) is honored with an EPA Ozone Protection Award. Industry Guideline IRG-1 “Industry Recycling Guideline – Handling and Reuse of Refrigerants in the United States” is published. ARI rallies the industry to assist in the development and validation of the National Skill Standards. ARI receives EPA Award as part of the Industry Technician Certification Team.

1995 — Chloroflourocarbon (CFC) production in the United States ends December 31. ARI launches “CoolNet,” the popular Internet Web site at www.ari.org, offering thousands of pages of information about the industry. Refrigerant Reclaimers becomes a new product section. A new certification program verifying the capabilities of laboratories testing refrigerant to ARI Standard 700 is developed. A new Desiccant Cooling and Dehumidifying Equipment product section is initiated. A Unit Ventilators Subsection is activated.

1996 — ARI establishes the Air-to-Air Energy Recovery Ventilation Equipment Product Section with 16 new members. ARI signs an agreement with a Chinese association, the China Refrigeration Air Conditioning Industry Association (CRAA) allowing CRAA to maximize use of the ARI standards. Industry forms a HVACR technicians certification program, the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) Program. ARI successfully negotiated the Department of Energy’s Interim Rule, which reforms the NAECA rulemaking process for appliance efficiency standards.

1997 — ARI receives the United Nations Environmental Program Certificate for significant contributions in protecting the ozone layer. ARI inaugurates the first AHR Expo-Mexico in Monterrey, Mexico, in cooperation with ASHRAE and the International Exposition Company. ARI hosts first Instructor Workshop. The AREP program ends on January 24, 1997. ARI introduces a new diskette edition of the unitary and applied directories.

1998 — Research for the 21st Century, a multi-year, million-dollar research program for air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, begins. ARI’s General Standards Committee approves the first international standard to serve as an ARI standard (ISO 13256-1-2, Ground Loop, Ground Water and Water Loop Heat Pumps), a milestone accomplished by the ARI Water-Source Heat Pump Subsection. The Board approves ARI’s 23rd product section, “Direct Expansion Geothermal Heat Pumps.” Certification directories are made available on CD-ROM. ARI introduces PrimeNet, a new online applied and unitary directory database. After receiving five annual awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for contributions to environmental protection, ARI is awarded a Best of the Best award for continued environmental concern. ARI/GAMA Competency Exams are now called the Industry Competency Exams (ICE).

1999 —The first meeting of the Refrigerant Sector Group within the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) is conducted, raising awareness on both sides of the Atlantic of the industry’s position toward accelerated refrigerant phaseout in Europe. ARI co-sponsors the highly successful exhibition “Stay Cool! Air Conditioning America” at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. Three organizations, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), the Refrigeration Services Engineers Society (RSES), and North American Technician Excellence (NATE) unify their technician certification programs into a single standard of excellence. The new program is called Air Conditioning Excellence (ACE) and is administered by NATE. ARI’s applied and unitary equipment performance rating certification directories are activated online in a new, searchable database called PrimeNet.

2000 — ARI welcomes the Commercial Refrigerator Manufacturers Division (CRMD), as well as the 24th product section for manufacturers of single package vertical units. Two new certification programs are initiated covering air-to-air energy recovery ventilation equipment and direct geo exchange heat pumps. ARI fosters the development of the European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE), a European coalition designed to coordinate industry response to European Union policy on HFCs. ARI launches the Partnership for Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigeration Accreditation (PAHRA) program. The second ARI textbook, Understanding Electrical Wiring Diagrams for HVACR, is published. HVAC industry scores a hat trick with three straight years of record shipments as 6,685,481 central air conditioners and heat pumps were shipped.

2001 — Fourteen new 21-CR Program research projects are initiated in 2001 for a total of 38 projects, valued at $5.2 million. All of ARI’s standards and guidelines are made available for free download on its Web site (www.ari.org). . PAHRA program accredits three schools. The third textbook is published: A/C Systems: Principles, Equipment and Service. “How To Open a HVACR Program” is released for duplication based on the successful Milwaukee Public School project. ARI signs Memorandum of Understandings with its counterpart organizations in India and Russia to promote trade, technical, and economic cooperation, as well as to use ARI standards. The Global Refrigerants Environmental Evaluation Network (GREEN) program is inaugurated as a global testing program to evaluate the performance of hydrocarbon and hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants in HVACR equipment. ARI announces the appointment of William G. Sutton to replace Clifford H. "Ted" Rees, Jr., on January 1, 2002, who retired after eight years as president of ARI.

2002 — ARI successfully fights to have the Department of Energy support a 12 SEER minimum efficiency standard for residential central air conditioners and heat pumps. ARI celebrates the shipment of the 130 millionth central air conditioner and Air Conditioning Appreciation Days at The Closing Bell ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange. The first new ARI standard for the Commercial Refrigerator Manufacturers Division, ARI Standard 1200-2002, “Commercial Refrigerated Display Cases,” is published. Over 150 Instructors from across the country attend ARI’s sixth annual Instructor Workshop. Four more HVACR training programs earn PAHRA accreditation.

2003 — ARI sets the standard with 50 years of industry excellence.

Publication date: 11/11/2002