The History Of Atlas Butler Heating & Cooling
Atlas Butler traces its roots back to The Ramey Mfg. Co. of Chillicothe in the 1800s. At that time, Ramey manufactured and sold sawmill blowers and hand-crank vacuum cleaners. When they moved to Columbus, they began operating out of a carriage house on Wall Street behind the Neil House, where the Huntington National Bank Building now sits.
McGee Swepston went to work for Ramey in the early 1910s as a bookkeeper, and later purchased the company, along with a group of partners that he eventually bought out.
In 1921, Ramey purchased the manufacturing rights of the Butler Furnace from the F.B. Zeig Mfg. Co. of Fredricktown, Ohio. (A furnace was on display at the corner of Livingston and High.)
The “Butler Furnace Company” was born, with its start in manufacturing and evolving into an installing contractor, both selling and installing the Butler furnace and other brands. That same year, Ramey moved to 243 N. Fifth Street into what was to be our home for 67 years.
In 1934, the name Atlas Butler was adopted to emphasize the concept of “Strength Through Service.”
Throughout the 1950s, Atlas Butler primarily replaced furnaces in existing homes. But in this post-war era, there was also a boom in new home construction. A focus on servicing new homes was led by Dwight Swepston, McGee’s only son, who came to work at Atlas Butler after serving in both WWII and the Korean War, graduating from The Ohio State University School of Law, and serving as the executive director of the Board of Realtors.
During this time, Atlas Butler did a great deal of new commercial construction work, while maintaining its replacement and service business.
In 1976, Mark Swepston began working for Atlas Butler full time, first in the accounting department, then in the service department, and eventually as service manager for six years. Mark became president in 1985.
Atlas Butler moved to its current location at 619 Reynolds Ave. into what was the COTA Bus building, in 1979.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was a major recession that put the breaks on the commercial construction industry. Anticipating these changes, Atlas Butler looked to the future, while sharpening our focus on service work.
In the early 1990s, we replaced one of the last known Butler furnaces, which had been installed in 1928 in Whitehall, Ohio. That’s 62 years—talk about quality!
In recent years, Atlas Butler has been recognized nationally as an industry leader. In 1996, we were chosen as a Carrier Distinguished Dealer, one of just 10 companies out of 8,000 in North America to receive that distinction.
Also in 1996, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Administration honored us as the Small Business of the Year.
In 1997, we were recognized as the Small Business of the Year for the State of Ohio in a reception at the White House—the only HVAC company in the country to receive that award.
Closer to home, we are proud to be on Angie’s List of Superior Service Companies, and we have won the Consumer’s Choice Award for central Ohio 11 years in a row.
At Atlas Butler, we have always supported education in our industry. Dwight Swepston was instrumental in helping to develop a career education program with the local HVAC Association, in conjunction with the Columbus Public Schools. And in fact, in 1969, Jerry Jackson attended the Starling Street School—and he is still an employee of Atlas Butler today!
Through the years, we have remained focused on serving others by solving their HVAC problems. The first part of our mission statement is:
It is our mission to serve others with honest solutions for our customers’ needs and to be creative, work smart and have fun.
Our growth has been steady and strong since the beginning. We’re proud to have many lifelong customers, as well as lifelong employees. We are in business to solve problems for people and we hope that when you think of Atlas Butler, you’ll think “problem solvers!”