Empire – A Family-Owned Tradition
Empire Comfort Systems grew out of a small sheet metal shop founded by Henry Bauer in 1911 in the city of Belleville, Illinois. Formally incorporated on August 26, 1932, Empire Stove Company produced sheet metal heaters that took advantage of the increasing availability of natural gas.
While the company has weathered the ups and downs of economic downturns, wars, labor strife, fires, and societal changes, the Bauer family has remained the one constant.
The family tradition continues. Nick Bauer and Jane Bauer represent the fourth generation of Bauers at Empire Comfort Systems – making this a continuously family-operated business since 1932.
The Products – Affordable, Efficient & Artful Heating Solutions
Empire has a tradition of listening to dealers and their customers. From early floor furnaces (a forerunner to central heating systems) to console heaters to wall furnaces, to gas fireplaces and log sets, to the super-efficient Mantis fireplace system, Empire has adapted to market requirements.
Empire was the first to market vent-free heaters equipped with an Oxygen Depletion Sensor (now standard on all vent-free products in the U.S.). In the 1980s, Empire became the first to market a gas-fired heater that achieves 80-percent efficiency, and in 2006, Empire marketed the first vented gas fireplace to achieve 90-percent efficiency. Today’s heater and hearth offerings cover a wide spectrum of gas-fired products including:
- Vented, Vent-Free, and B-Vent Heaters and Fireplaces
- Vented and Vent-Free Log Sets
- Fireplace Inserts and Cast-Iron Stoves
In 2002, the company purchased manufacturing rights to Broilmaster Premium Gas Grills. The addition of this line helped keep employees working during the off-peak season for heaters and fireplaces, and it gave their sales force an added tool for calling on customers. The Broilmaster brand enjoys unmatched owner loyalty due to the grill’s exceptional performance and on the lifetime warranty on most critical components. They still makes replacement parts for grills manufactured more than 30 years ago. Empire created new grills to expand the appeal of the Broilmaster brand – including infrared models and slow cookers. In 2013, they introduced the Independence, a charcoal grill backed by Broilmaster’s legendary durability.