History of Friedrich Air Conditioning

Image Source:
Friedrich Company History

Friedrich Air Conditioning is a privately held company that manufactures residential and commercial-grade air conditioners.  Friedrich’s corporate headquarters is in San Antonio, Texas while its primary manufacturing facility is in Monterrey, Mexico.

Important timelines:

1883 — Ed Friedrich founded the company.  He first started out making handcrafted furniture, billiard tables, store fixtures and cabinetry. Friedrich later realized the importance of cooling food and invented a refrigerator using ice blocks.  A few years later, he determined the need for mechanical refrigeration and the modern refrigerator was created. 

1950 — By the 1950’s, Friedrich became one of the largest manufacturers of commercial refrigeration equipment.

1952 — Introduced to the world window air conditioning units.  Credited with several innovations, which include a refrigerated display case for food retailers. Quite a few of their original units are still in production.

1971 — Moved its headquarters to the east side of San Antonio (Pan Am Expressway).  San Antonio (from Spanish, “Saint Anthony”), is the 7th largest city in the United States by population. 

2008 — Moved most of its manufacturing to Monterrey, Mexico.

2010 — Moved its headquarters to Uptown San Antonio.  Also, introduced new products that showcase innovation and energy conservation. 

2012 — Corinthian Capital acquired the company.

Move of Friedrich Production to Monterrey, Mexico

On September 17, 2007, Friedrich President and CEO Charles M. Marino announced that it was moving production of all room air conditioners from the San Antonio plant to Monterrey, Mexico.  Production at the San Antonio plant will end in November 2007.

After considerable deliberation and assessment of our business, the decision has been made to cease production in our San Antonio plant. This extremely difficult decision was made for competitive reasons and to ensure the future of our business. While I understand that this is sad news for our many dedicated manufacturing employees in San Antonio, I am proud that we have continued to manufacture here in the United States long after our competitors have moved production overseas.

Read full press release at

Given that all other manufacturers of room air conditioners had already left the United States, Friedrich deemed the move essential to compete with products produced overseas, primarily in China. The U.S. Dept of Commerce reported that the United States imported 9+ Million room ACs in 2006.

So why Mexico?  Marino explained that the city of Monterrey offers a skilled, stable work force, and a strong supplier base.  In addition, it provided strategic advantages over other manufacturing center’s since it was close to its headquarters in San Antonio.

Friedrich is Not Alone in Monterrey, Mexico

In February 2016, another HVAC manufacturer — Carrier — announced plans to move its production to Monterrey from Indianapolis over a 3-year period.  According to Carrier, Monterrey offers world-class manufacturing and existing infrastructure. 

This plan is intended to address the challenges we continue to face in a rapidly changing HVAC industry, with the continued migration of the HVAC industry to Mexico, including our suppliers and competitors, and ongoing cost and pricing pressures driven, in part, by new regulatory requirements; as well as imports from Asia. It will allow us to remain competitive and protect the business for the long-term.

Read the full article here.

Almost every HVAC Manufacturer has moved some part of their production to Mexico including Rheem, Lennox, Nortek, Trane, Goodman/Daikin and JCI/York. The main reasons for manufacturers moving to Mexico are its skilled workforce, strategic location, large suppliers and supply chains.

Watch this video on the manufacturing of Friedrich’s products:

Friedrich products showcase innovation, energy conservation

Ed Friedrich, the 2nd generation furniture maker, was an innovator and craftsman. He penned the company’s first and only rule: quality without compromise. They focus on the high-quality end of room air conditioners with a product line that is durable, technological advanced, energy efficient and attractive.

Friedrich offers a full line of room air conditioners such as window units, thru-the-wall, ductless split systems, portables, dehumidifiers and air purifiers. You can purchase their products via independent appliance retailers and HVAC distributors.