Vilter History
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Vilter History

The Vilter™ story is a proud and dynamic one that stretches back into the early history of Milwaukee. It is the story about a company that has grown and changed over the years to become an industry leader in the field of industrial refrigeration and cooling equipment.

The history of the company begins in 1867 when it was founded in Milwaukee for general jobbing and the manufacture of slide-valve steam engines. Vilter furnished the equipment for one of the first air conditioning installations in Milwaukee and even installed the first unit cooler in a small butcher shop in Milwaukee.

The company responded to the need for new refrigeration machinery and quickly became an industry leader in providing cooling equipment to ice plants, breweries, and packing houses. Some of the original equipment built during that early era is still in operation today-a testament to Vilter’s quality workmanship and engineering.

Vilter’s contributions throughout its 146 year history span the globe. In 1917, Vilter provided a 500 ton ice plant to store 5,000 tons of beef for the troops in Europe. During World War II, the company built pack ice machines for use in steam ships moving food stuffs to troops in both Europe and the Pacific. The Federal Government contracted with Vilter to produce 105-millimeter howitzers for the American Army during World War II. Vilter was highly praised for turning out these important weapons in much less time than required by U.S. arsenals.

Vilter provided air conditioning equipment to the sports palace used in the 1960 Rome Olympic Games and was the official sponsor of US Bobsled and Skeleton teams for the 2010 Winter Olympics held in Vancouver, BC. Vilter was also responsible for the refrigeration and air conditioning contract for the sealed, controlled environment in Oracle, Arizona, known as Biosphere II, in which four men and four women lived for two years.

Vilter’s VMC 440 reciprocating compressor, developed in 1945, is still considered the refrigeration industry standard. In 1990, the company introduced the VSS 601 single-screw compressor followed by seven additional models in various sizes. Vilter put the gold standard on the VSS screw compressor by offering the industry’s longest warranty, the Vilter 5/15.

Most recently, Vilter introduced the Vission™ micro-controller, a touch screen control system designed to provide customers both flexibility and the latest in micro-controller technology. Vilter began manufacturing gas compressors for Dresser Rand in the early 1990’s. Due to their success in that market Vilter began to explore the gas compression market. With the overwhelming response and durability of these compressors in the gas field, Vilter made a commitment to increase the emphasis on gas compression with the addition of more resources tailored specifically to the gas compression market.