With fuel prices on the rise and the country in the midst of an energy crisis in the mid-1970's, T.H. Parker had an idea for keeping his large, 13-room upstate New York house warm during the upcoming harsh winter months: He would build his own wood-burning furnace.
Along with doing his normal daily work as a carpenter/builder, Parker began spending parts of his evenings working with his son on this new furnace as he tried to make his vision a reality.
Little did he realize, though, that his initial design would become a mainstay in many Northeastern homes and the basis for Marathon Heater Company Inc., a family business still going strong today more than 30 years later.
When Parker finished the first unit and installed it in his basement, it worked even better than he could have envisioned. Other people soon took interest in his design as well. A local NBC television affiliate even came to his basement to film a news story on his invention, reflecting the significance of his innovation in wood heating.
The unexpected attention and interest generated by the initial design gave him the motivation to create more units. He formed a partnership with a welding company and started creating the Logwood line of furnaces. Marathon Heater Company Inc. was born.
Marathon Heater eventually moved their operation to Cortland, N.Y. in 1976 and teamed up with a sheet metal company in the area to further increase the amount of units being produced as demand increased. Within two years, Marathon Heater was working out of two buildings and pumping out furnaces by the truckload.
New Products, Same Quality
Besides creating several different sizes of wood burning furnaces, Marathon Heater also explored different methods of indoor heating. From 1977-1979, Marathon Heater unveiled a new line of hot water boilers.
What made Marathon Heater Company’s units so unique were the combinations available to users. Customers could buy a wood, coal, or combination unit, which gave home and business owners several heating options in an ever changing economy.
A New Facility
1982 represented a year of change for Marathon Heater. They consolidated their business from two rented buildings into their own building in Richford, N.Y., where they still operate out of today.
Marathon Heater has been a model of steadiness and consistency throughout four decades. As the company made the transition from one generation to another, new marketing strategies and product ideas have given the business a great chance to thrive in the new millennium.
Now, with fuel prices once again rising sharply, a new generation of consumers are realizing that it can be much more affordable to heat their homes and businesses with wood and coal instead of oil. With another generation involved in the business, Marathon Heater is primed to continue its run as one of the leading manufacturers of indoor solid fuel central heating equipment in the Northeast.