Air Filter History

The History of IQAir

To build a truly exceptional product takes a vision, knowledge, perseverance, and a desire to design something that truly fills the needs of the customer.

Since his early childhood, Manfred Hammes suffered with chronic asthma and saw the tremendous potential of air cleaning. In 1963, Manfred and this brother Klaus introduced a simple filter system for residential users in Germany. A filter pad was attached with small magnets to the air outlet of residential coal ovens to filter dust in the heated air. It was the first air filter to find its way into household usage.

In 1978, the company relocated to Switzerland, incorporating under the name Incen AG. Today Incen AG is an industry leader throughout Europe.

After graduating from Cambridge University, Frank Hammes, the son of one of the founding brothers, established IQAir North America, Inc. in Pasadena, California. Its main focus was to distribute cabin air filters as add-on accessories for Mercedes-Benz automobiles. The aftermarket product became so popular in a short period of time, that Mercedes-Benz and Volvo began manufacturing the filters themselves and made them official Mercedes-Benz accessories for their luxury automobiles.

After research indicated that fan powered air cleaners available on the market were limited in their performance, the decision was made in 1994 to develop a totally different kind of air cleaning device. Frank Hammes was put in charge to realize the IQAir project. He assembled a select team of Swiss and German engineers and air filtration specialists. It would take four years of intensive research and development for them to build the world's most technologically advanced line of air cleaning devices.

In 1998, the first IQAir systems were introduced in Europe and they quickly gained a reputation for world-class performance and Swiss precision. In September of 1998 one of the IQAir filtration units was rated "Best Air Cleaner" by Europe's leading product testing organization, Stiftung Warentest. IQAir air cleaners were introduced to the United States in 2000 and have since then become some of the best selling high-end room air cleaners.

In 2002, IQAir become the first and only room air cleaner to incorporate H13 class certified HEPA filters, normally used in multi-million Dollar cleanrooms. This certification under the world's most stringent HEPA filter test, European Norm EN 1822, is the basis for IQAir air cleaners' ability to capture up to 100 times more particles than conventional HEPA cleaners. In fact, while other air cleaners are rated only for particles down to 0.3 microns, IQAir systems have been found to remove particles down to 0.01 microns with close to 99% efficiency.

In February of 2003, newspapers began reporting a rapidly spreading atypical pneumonia. The disease was quickly labeled as severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS, a highly contagious condition caused by a new coronavirus for which there was no specific antiviral treatment. The Hong Kong Hospital Authority (HKHA), initiated rigorous testing to evaluate performance and suitability of room air cleaning systems. Their tests quickly verified that most systems fell well short of removing airborne particulates with close to 99% efficiency. After weeks of testing and the installation of several trial systems the HKHA chose IQAir as the best room air cleaning solution for hospital rooms with suspected SARS partients.

In 2004, IQAir North America registered IQAir air cleaners with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as Class II medical devices.

IQAir products are sold to customers throughout the USA via a network of IQAir authorized dealers.

At IQAir, we constantly strive to provide the best possible air cleaning solutions to our customers. And as there will always be new air quality challenges, IQAir will continuously research and develop new air cleaning solutions. That is why we know our job will never be done.