For more than a century, The Kirlin Company’s mission has been to
lead the lighting industry by designing and manufacturing superior
quality, high performance and innovative luminaires.
Below is a capsule of its history, including many of the
best-known innovations it has produced for the lighting industry.
In 1895, Otis M. Kirlin, an electrical pioneer, founded The Kirlin
Company in St. Paul, Minnesota. It started as a manufacturer of electric
power plants and associated lighting products, including decorative
porcelain sockets designed for the carbon arc lamp and the incandescent lamp.
Kirlin’s decorative lighting greatly increased residential and institutional
demand for electric power, which required long hours of service by The Kirlin
Company. Ivan M. Kirlin, son of Otis Kirlin, is shown here in the back left
with the line gang on a Saturday.
Hand-crafted artistic chandeliers, using glass and metals
from Kirlin's own brass, bronze and glass foundries evolved from the
production of decorative porcelain sockets. The Kirlin Company relocated
to Detroit, Michigan to take advantage of the area’s technology,
manufacturing expertise and skilled labor. At that time, the average
cost per chandelier was twice the cost of a Cadillac automobile!
Innovation diversified as Ivan Kirlin developed glass lens technologies
in Detroit, resulting in the creation of the world's first glass block and three-color lens traffic signal.
The Kirlin Company turned its focus to highly tooled, high volume
lighting fixture production, incorporating a patented recessed
fixture design with attached J-box. The 1208 incandescent line as well as the mercury and fluorescent product lines were developed.
World War II redirected Kirlin's work to support the U.S. government's
requirement for products, such as engine parts for the P-51 Mustang fighter planes. Otis Kirlin, still actively working and inventing for the company, patented the first cruise control system for automobiles,among a host of other patents.
The post-war construction boom helped fuel Kirlin's growth in every
lighting market. A nationwide network of distributors was established.
The "flare" series was introduced. Kirlin's reputation for quality,
innovation and "In By 9:00 - Out By 5:00" timeliness (producing 1400
fixtures per day) was firmly established.
John A. Kirlin assumed leadership of Kirlin, initiating the development
of many Kirlin hallmarks, including the WhisperPack™ encapsulated, cool and quiet HID ballast. In addition, Kirlin's metal
halide luminaires made their debut and Kirlin squares were augmented by a full line of "circulars".
The Kirlin Company began creating specialized lighting designs for
hospitals and penitentiaries. Sophisticated motorized patient
examination lighting products were developed, thanks to valuable
input from world renowned heart surgeon Dr. Michael DeBakey of the Baylor
College of Medicine. Also, maximum security lighting products
made from super tough extruded aluminum housings were introduced. These
designs out-foxed even the most cunning inmates.
Rapid introduction of new source technologies resulted in the development of
hundreds of new luminaires. Kirlin was the first to introduce a full line
of compact metal halide dual reflector luminaires designed for
low wattage E-17 and double-ended lamps. Kirlin also offered the industry's
most complete compact fluorescent catalog, featuring the first
quad lamp luminaires with high power factor ballast systems.
As Kirlin celebrated its Centennial, innovation and new product
development proliferated. The result was a premier product mix designed to
fulfill discerning lighting specifiers' objectives for commercial and
institutional lighting. With the patenting of INFRALITE®, or
Infrared Remote Controlled Directional Recessed Patient Lighting, Kirlin
formed a second operating division, Medical Lighting, and created
a dedicated sales force for the market. Coinciding with the New Millennium
Tungsten Halogen and Incandescent catalog launch, Kirlin opened
its Reflection Point Lighting Showroom, Education & Technology Center in Detroit. Jana Kirlin Brownell succeeded her father as President / CEO.
Kirlin began its third century of innovation by developing luminaires centered around two new lighting sources: high output LEDS and Induction. Incorporating these long-life sources with Kirlin's sophisticated optical designs, diverse photometric performance with exceptional energy efficiency is achieved.
Kirlin continues to lead the industry with advancements in state of the art LED luminaires and turn-key LED lighting systems for commercial and healthcare applications. Award-winning SmartLED™ lighting systems for MRI suites, Symphony™ DMX lighting systems for auditoriums and patient exam / procedure lighting for all medical applications demonstrate Kirlin's passion for innovation which exudes Kirlin quality.