The reputation that Sturtevant gained in the engineering world was due directly to the fact that they pioneered many of the advancements in fan application and design, starting with Benjamin Sturtevant's early fan designs in 1869 and continuing through the years.
The trend of design in centrifugal fan practice has varied since the birth of the industry. Prior to 1908, so-called "steel plate" or "paddle wheel fans" predominated. Then, because of greater capacity in a given size, the trend swung quickly to the multiblade fan with many forwardly pitched blades. In 1922, with the announcement of the backwardly-curved Sturtevant Silentvane Fans, the switch in fan popularity among architects, engineers and industrial users to this new fan was even more pronounced. Soon more than 1000 Silentvane Fans had been sold.
When Sturtevant completed development of Vane Control in 1927, the output of a commercial fan was being regulated in most instances by use of a damper or varying the fan speed, each approach having advantages and disadvantages. Vane Control changed this by combining the advantages without any tradeoffs.
Sturtevant closed in 1989 with most US power plants still utilizing their fan equipment.