History of Zehnder Group and Zehnder Rittling

Jakob Zehnder first went into business in 1895 as a mechanic and bicycle dealer. As the business evolved in the 1920’s, the Zehnder family began to successfully manufacture the Zehnder light motorcycle. It wasn’t until 1930 that they invented the product that would lay the foundation for the company’s future success: Europe’s first steel tube radiator.

Read on to discover how a small mechanical workshop became a group of companies with 3,000 employees and how Zehnder Rittling has become an integral part of the Group’s success in North America.



The Zehnder family of entrepreneurs began with Jakob Zehnder, born in 1855. In his late 30s, Jakob set up his own workshop to earn a living as a mechanic and bicycle dealer in his home town of Gränichen, Switzerland.


As the business grew, Jakob’s seven sons became more involved. In 1923, the Zehnder brothers bought a small German motorcycle, improved the engine and successfuly launched it into the Swiss market.


The Zehnder brothers designed and patented a set of steel tubes welded together to replace the traditional radiator design. It was a tremendous success and has remained virtually unchanged since its introduction.


Zehnder began exporting to Germany. In 1963 Zehnder opened a production facility near Freiburg, Germany and by 1970 it had overtaken the main plant in Gränichen in terms of both sales and workforce.


The Rittling Corporation was founded by Charles Rittling, producing hydronic unit heaters in Buffalo, New York.


Rittling was awarded its first US patent for twin tube residential baseboard elements.


Hydro-Air Components acquired the Rittling Corporation and added Rittling Finned Tube to the product offering.


Zehnder Group acquired Hydro-Air Components and the brand conversion to Zehnder Rittling began, enhancing Zehnder’s range of radiators and ceiling-mounted heating and cooling systems.

Zehnder Rittling Today

We are keenly focused on being the most attractive provider of energy-efficient, healthy and comfortable indoor climate solutions. Our broad product spectrum includes hydronic heating, radiant heating and cooling, fan coils and heat pumps.


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