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Bard History

From Humble Beginnings to Global Leader

Image of Dale Bard

Same Family, Same Values, Innovative Progress

Our past has led us to where we are today, and we are proud of it. Hard work, dedication, innovation and integrity have led us through more than a century of technological advancement and changing customer needs. In the beginning, it was Dale Bard and a tin shop in Bryan, Ohio.

Today, it’s three locations in North America and a global customer base, and we continue to look to the future. Born on a farm just east of Bryan, Ohio, Dale Bard was fascinated by how things were made and had a strong work ethic from an early age. Gaining experience across the country in metal working, boilers, ductwork and ventilation in his teens, Dale used his skills to shape sheet metal products at the Bryan Hardware Store’s tin shop.

In 1914, Dale and the hardware store owners launched The Bryan Plumbing and Heating Company.

From those humble beginnings grew the Bard Manufacturing Company of today.

Bard Building

Growth remained steady in the early years as the business added employees and gained a solid reputation for quality and craftsmanship. A new building was constructed in 1918, giving the company the room it needed to grow, and a diverse product line in the 1920s kept the company going through the Great Depression.

Dale’s son Randolph joined the business in the 1930s. In the same decade, the Bard gas and oil furnaces were introduced, and Dale continued to innovate through smart strategies, pioneering products and hard work. The housing boom of 1939 saw homes equipped with the now-popular Bard Gas Furnace. It was estimated that 25% of all new homes in the Detroit suburbs that year had Bard furnaces. 

Change in the Air

When World War II gripped the globe, Bard joined the effort with production focusing on furnaces and roof cleats to be used in military construction, plus several other specialty items including 20-millimeter steel bullets, tracer shell plugs, parts for Chrysler tanks and controls for the American B-29 Bombers.

During the 1940s, Bryan Plumbing and Heating Company officially discontinued its original contracting business and began using the name Bard Manufacturing Company. After 27 years in business, Dale Bard transferred leadership to his son Randolph.

Bard Employees 1946

The 1950s-1970s were marked by sustained growth and product development. Randolph added central air conditioning to Bard’s product offerings. By this time, Randolph’s sons, Jim and Richard, joined the family business helping to usher in an era of innovation that continues today.

Gallery image Bard 1949 trade show Gallery image


Introduced in 1963, the Bard Wall-Mount revolutionized Bard’s product offerings and the industry as a whole. Ideally suited for pre-manufactured buildings and the modular construction market, the Bard Wall-Mount Air Conditioners and Heat Pumps provided rugged reliability, economy of space, dependable performance and energy efficiency.

Today, they remain Bard’s most recognized product around the world, found in mobile control rooms, nuclear test sites and offshore oil rigs to modular offices and classrooms, emergency hospitals and construction site offices.

Next Generation

Jim and Richard took over the business upon Randolph’s retirement in 1981, leading the company into phenomenal and unprecedented growth through the end of the 20th century. The company’s first geothermal heat pump was introduced the same year, and its current geothermal Q-TEC series continues to offer the company’s highest energy efficiency ratings.

Jim and Richard Bard

Today, demand for Bard’s fuel efficient products continues to grow domestically and internationally. What started as one small brick building has grown into a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and world headquarters spanning more than 300,000 square feet. Bard opened its second facility in Madison, Georgia in 1992, and its third location in Saltillo, Mexico in 2001.

Pam and Bill Bard-Steel

Looking to the future

The fourth generation of Bard family members in the business, Pam Bard Steel and Bill Steel. Bard continues to operate in the way Dale Bard did — with honesty, integrity, hard work and respect for all.