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Blog NEWS: The Whitfield Legacy

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by mystro, Dec 27, 2007.

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  1. mystro

    mystro Member

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    I know friends who have owned Whitfield pellet stoves from the beginning in the NW..Jerry Whitfield produced the standard which all other companies have tried to emulate but today I read troubling
    news on the woodpelletguru's blog that Lennox has stopped production of the Whitfield yet I'm still seeing the full line advertised @ Lennoxhearthproducts..it would be hard to fathom Lennox stopping production on what is easily the highest selling stove in pellet stove history..has anyone heard any news to confirm or deny this rumor?

    http://woodpelletguru.blogspot.com/2007/12/in-beginning.html

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  2. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    Yes they announce that last year.
    One of the Higher ups pulled me to the side at the trade show and told me before the big announcement

    they are only going to sell the country Line they took over last year.

    It has been posted about several time on this forums
    They also announced that they will no longer MAKE or supply parts for any Whitfield or earthstove over 10 years old
  3. mystro

    mystro Member

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    In one of the Lennox (LII) investor forums the company CFO and COO are getting some serious flak from majority shareholders over this not to mention poor stock performance..the gist of which was, why would
    Lennox purchased (Whitfield) whose very name is synonymous with the pellet industry then stop making it but then purchase a virtual unknown (Country) company and make it they'r new line. It really makes wallstreets point on how out of touch many American exec's are about the marketplace. It's being compared to the new BurgerKing ad which *jokingly says they will no longer make the Whopper so now they'll be known as BurgerQueen. :)

    Lets hope the Lennox geniuses are also stupid enough to sell all rights to the Whitfield to the Europeans. :(
  4. mystro

    mystro Member

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    The genious of Whitfield was virtually every critical part can be fixed or replaced long before Lennox, but the shame of it is there won't be new owners to experience
    such an innovated replaceable/fixable system even after 20 years..you know this better then anyone.
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    No doubt they were one of the first and the biggest, but my experience selling the line - and with the stoves themselves - certainly did not meet the qualifications as the "standard". Or, a low standard......

    We had almost 100% call backs on the models we sold, and the factory even (admitted 100% by the rep) intentionally covered up defects and mistakes. We ended up dropping the line.

    Perhaps we got in at the wrong time - and I'm sure some of their units and model/years were OK or maybe even better, but I don't think keeping the names from the past (a largely failed past) is always a good idea. For instance, you don't see Winston, Reliance, Vermont Castings and MANY other pellet stove names today.

    Lennox sometimes seems to act with no common sense, but I guess they sell a couple of billion dollars worth of other stuff each year, and they probably have some wiggle room. Who know?

    They were a private company when they entered the stove biz - now they are public. Probably so big that the left hand and right hand are not coordinated.

    In any case, I think that todays Pellet stove buyer is smart enough (or at least I hope so) to shop around and become familiar with the brands of today.
  6. mystro

    mystro Member

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    That was part of my point , how much the quality had deteriorated after lennox. I have a 16yo WF Advantage which runs as good today as it did when new with only a new firebox grate and combustion blower needing replacement, it was 100% American made back then and was owned by Whitfield, as a matter of fact, other then a few smaller details such as the burn box and control board it looks almost identical to the new Quadrafire Classic which is obviously considered one of the better stoves, the WF Advantage really did set the standard and was Jerry Whitfields patented design which is obviously still being used by Quadrafire and others since I'm sure the patents have run out. Lennox purchased WF then immediately closed the American plant and moved it to Mexico then went typically Mexican cheapo to pocket more profits..everything about the Lennox WF looks cheap..I can understand your position.
  7. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry to say that I sold them when they were fully American made. In fact, right about when you bought yours!

    One problem with a small (private) company is that when they do make a mistake (like thousands of bad control boards), they often cannot afford the solution. I understand that fully, having been in a bunch of small businesses, but it does not make it right...nor good for the customer.

    I sold them right at the time that the "ultra grate" or something like that (a replacement grate that they claimed burned corn and other stuff?) came out. My guess is about 1992 or so. We also sold the Horizon Eclipse, Avalon and VC Pellet...they were our pellet lines. I actually liked the VC (a lot of people didn't!), and the Avalon gave us the least trouble - as I remember it did not even use electronics, just regular switches! The Horizon had no auger (nothing to jam) and was also made from a lot of generic parts that could be purchased aftermarket. I think maybe St. Croix (eventemp) ended up with that company, although I don't think anyone makes an "augerless" stove today.....or do they?
  8. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    Wow you sold some Eclipse and no houses burned down?
    I know there is one documented case of a eclips burning down a house.
    and there were lots of problems with that stove.
  9. mystro

    mystro Member

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    Just curious what caused them to be a fire hazard in your opinion, the idea of a augerless stove is intreging although I read on Mike Butkus excellent stove page that the auger is almost bullet-proof and easily fixed at least on the older stoves.
  10. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    I dont know much about the stove I only pulled a few out of homes to replace them.
    I read a newspaper clipping about it burning down a house around 10 years go at ah HPBA meeting.
  11. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    To those who don't know, the Eclipse used a slanted tube which rotated to feed pellets to the fire. In this case, the hopper has to be above the firepot, of course. But there is nothing to jam.

    I only sold about a dozen of them, but they worked fairly well, and held up for years without needing parts....again, they had no electronics. I probably did not sell enough for the house burning thing to come into play!

    I would guess if you had a hopper limit switch and a rise on the piping, it would be difficult for a stove (even with burn back) to ignite an entire house. Not cure that they even had hopper hi-temp limits at the time.
  12. mystro

    mystro Member

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    Just a note the Whitfield company in Everett,Wa had sheetmetal/marine tradesmen working for them..a very stout heavy gauge steel cabinet and a heavy cast iron door and the famous Jerry WF system.. it'll never wear out and the best stoves of today IMO are a result of this design Advantage II but..
    The control boards were a weakness but it was a new concept at the time that was fixed eventually wasn't it..Mike Butkus added a UPS and has never had an issue with the board and either have I and it's been burning 2 tons a year since new. My model does not have that new grate, just a bent piece of steel with holes drilled..simple elegant design plus the older motors were oil-able which most shops never knew existed or cared to tell the customers about.. would have extended the life on those for many years..in the long run, what not to like about this ol'gal? :)

    [​IMG]

    BTW..I need to order some gasket rope, do you recall the diameter for the above door?
  13. david Lee

    david Lee New Member

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    Lennox Corporation in Dallas got hoodwinked by both Earth Stove and Whitfield. Both lines were D.O.A. at the time they made these purchases. Whitfield had just completed development of the dreaded “photo eye technology” and Lennox took on all of its accompanying baggage. Without the experience of the original Whitfield team, Lennox tried but was slow to find a quick fix.

    Increasingly dealers and consumers got so frustrated over the next few years; it did not take long before the Whitfield name became tarnished beyond repair. The photo eye disaster left them with internet sales and C and D level dealers as the only way to sell product. The Whitfield brand name no longer carried any power.

    Earth Stove was long in the tooth and had dated technology when Lennox purchased it. Again, only the C and D dealers took on the line. Eventually, lack of sales killed Earth Stove. Only person who made out in those two deals was the broker.

    Country Stoves looks like a good fit for them. They are offering one stop shopping, fireplaces, stoves and security chimney.
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