The History of World Dryer

Posted by ProDryers on Jun 3rd 2024

World Dryer: A History of Innovation in Hand Drying Technology

World Dryer, a name synonymous with commercial hand dryers, boasts a rich history of innovation spanning over seven decades. This blog delves into the company's journey, exploring its evolution from a single iconic model to a leading force in hand drying technology.

1950: Birth of the Model A and the Dawn of World Dryer

The year is 1950. Inventor George Clemens, recognizing the need for a more efficient and sanitary alternative to paper towels, founded World Dryer [1]. His creation, the Model A, marked the company's debut in the hand dryer market. This robust dryer, characterized by its cast-iron exterior and reliable internal components, quickly set the industry standard for durability and performance [1].

1950s & 1960s: Establishing a Global Presence

The success of the Model A propelled World Dryer forward. The company focused on refining its flagship model while establishing a global distribution network. By the mid-1960s, World Dryer hand dryers were drying hands in restrooms across the world, solidifying their position as a major player in the industry [1].

1970s: Adapting to a Changing Market

The 1970s witnessed a period of significant adaptation for World Dryer. New regulations and evolving customer preferences necessitated a shift in design philosophy. World Dryer responded by introducing models that addressed these changes, ensuring their products remained relevant to the market [1].

1980s: Pioneering Sensor-Activated Hand Dryers

A pivotal moment arrived in 1987 when World Dryer unveiled its first sensor-activated automatic dryer [1]. This innovative design introduced a new level of convenience and hygiene to hand drying, a feature that would become increasingly popular in the years to come [1].

1992: Merging with Electric-Aire: Expanding the Product Portfolio

In 1992, World Dryer merged with Electric-Aire, another prominent hand dryer manufacturer [1]. This strategic move not only broadened World Dryer's product portfolio but also allowed them to leverage Electric-Aire's expertise and market reach [1].

1990s & 2000s: A Decade of Acquisitions and Innovation

The 1990s and 2000s were marked by a series of acquisitions that further strengthened World Dryer's position in the industry. Notable acquisitions included NOVA, a brand known for commercial restroom products, in 2000 [1]. World Dryer also focused on developing new product lines, including the AirMax (high-speed) and Airforce (ultra-high-efficiency) dryers, each pushing the boundaries of hand drying technology [1].

2010s: Introducing the VERDEdri and Embracing Sustainability

The 2010s saw World Dryer continue its commitment to innovation with the introduction of the VERDEdri hand dryer. This flagship product incorporated features like HEPA filtration and high-speed drying, promoting sustainability and user comfort. World Dryer's focus on eco-friendly solutions reflected a growing industry trend towards responsible resource management [1].

2017: Joining the Zurn Industries Family

In 2017, another significant milestone was reached as World Dryer became part of Zurn Industries, a leading building products manufacturer [1]. This partnership provided World Dryer with access to Zurn's vast resources and distribution network, further solidifying its global presence [1].

2022: Merging with Elkay to Create a Multi-Industry Leader

The story continues in 2022 with Zurn Industries merging with Elkay Manufacturing Company. This merger created a multi-industry leader, positioning World Dryer to benefit from even greater resources and expertise [1].

A Legacy of Innovation: World Dryer's Hand Dryer Models

Throughout its history, World Dryer has released a multitude of hand dryer models, each catering to the evolving needs of the market. Here's a glimpse into some of the most notable models:

  • 2010s: VERDEdri - The company's flagship product, incorporating HEPA filtration, high-speed drying, and a focus on sustainability [1].
  • 2000s: AirMax - A high-speed dryer offering faster drying times and improved user experience [1].
  • 2000s: Airforce - Ultra-high-efficiency dryers known for their energy-saving performance [1].
  • 1990s: NOVA product lines acquired in 2000, expanding World Dryer's offerings in the commercial restroom space [1].
  • 1980s: Sensor-activated automatic dryers - Pioneering a new standard for convenience and hygiene [1].
  • 1970s & 1980s: Various models adapted to meet changing regulations and customer preferences [1].
  • 1950s: Model A - The iconic first model that set the standard for durability and performance [1].

Looking Ahead: World Dryer's Future

World Dryer's commitment to innovation continues. As the company enters a new chapter under the Elkay umbrella, we can expect them to further develop hand dryers that are not only efficient and hygienic but also environmentally conscious. With a rich history and a focus on the future, World Dryer remains a leader in the hand drying industry, poised to shape the way we dry our hands for years to come.


This blog post references the World Dryer website ( as the primary source of information. For further details on specific models or company milestones, additional research may be required.