The History of Commercial Extractor Fans

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A Brief History About Commercial Extractor Fans

A commercial extractor fan is an essential component of a commercial kitchen. The kitchen environment must be safe for kitchen staff to work in, so the extractor fan removes from the air: steam, smoke, grease, and other air impurities. Early models date back to the early 1900s and the extractor fan has an interesting history.

One of the earliest commercial extractor fans was the Vent-A-Hood, which was invented by a man named Carr P. Collins in the 1930s. This fan was initially designed for use in his family’s own restaurant, but he soon began making and selling it to other restaurants.

Another is Broan-NuTone, which was founded in 1932. The company initially focused on manufacturing door chimes, but soon expanded into ventilation products, including extractor fans.

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What were the earliest restaurant extractor fans made from?

The early commercial extractor fans were typically made from metals such as galvanized steel or aluminum. They were durable and resistant to corrosion, so were suitable for industrial and commercial use. The fans were made up of simple, rugged components.

They also had metal fan blades that were used to move the air. These blades were also made from steel, and they were designed to be rigid and strong to withstand high fan speeds.

As the years have gone by and technology has advanced, materials and construction methods used in commercial extractor fans have evolved. Today there is a wider range of materials available (plastics and composite materials) to make extractor fans with.

These newer materials are more light weight, and more energy efficient, however metal is still the popular option when it comes to industrial and heavy duty applications.

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When were extractor fans first used commercially in the UK?

For decades at least, commercial extractor fans have been used in commercial kitchens in London and the rest of the UK. It wasn’t until half way through the 20th century when using extractor fans in kitchens was regulated or enforced by law.

The earliest commercial kitchen extractor fans were simple, mechanical devices that were designed to remove smoke and fumes from the kitchen area. These early extractor fans were typically large, boxy units that were mounted on the ceiling or on a wall. Basic electric motors were used to power the fan blades.

More strict health and safety regulations were introduced in the 20th century, after which time, the use of extractor fans in commercial kitchens became more common.

Today, extractor fans are a common feature in commercial kitchens across London and the UK, and they are considered to be essential.

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What is Industrial Fan

An industrial fan is a machine which focuses on accommodating and giving a large flow of air to a commercial building.

London UK Commercial Extractor Fan Manufacturers

There are more manufacturers today than there were in the early 1900’s. Some examples:

  1. Airflow Developments: UK manufacturer of commercial extractor fans.
  2. Systemair: a global manufacturer of ventilation systems, including commercial extractor fans.
  3. Vent-Axia: manufacturer of commercial extractor fans in the UK. Offers kitchen products suitable for different uses.
  4. FlaktGroup: offers industrial and commercial fans, including centrifugal fans, axial fans, and roof fans.
  5. Nuaire: a UK manufacturer of ventilation systems and equipment.

Why not ask a professional engineer at Fan Services Ltd to help you to choose the right extractor fan for your commercial kitchen, and we will install it perfectly for you.

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Choose the Right Fan for your Restaurant, Cafe or Takeaway

There are differences with the types of fans used commercially and even when it comes to cafes, restaurants and takeaways.

Commercial extractor fans are mostly larger, durable and more powerful than conventional residential fans.  They are able to handle a higher volume of air and air pollutants generated from within a commercial kitchen.

Perhaps you need a small axial fan for your small sized commercial kitchen? Or maybe a larger centrifugal fan would suffice for your large restaurant kitchen? In the year 2023 there are plenty of options available. Here are more factors to consider:

  1. Noise level of the fan: Many commercial kitchens are noisy, so choose a fan that won’t make everything noisier.
  2. Fan Efficiency:  A more efficient fan will remove more pollutants from the air in a shorter space of time – this improves the kitchen’s air quality. You can keep costs down and maintain excellent ventilation, by having a fan that has a higher airflow rate and a lower power consumption.

Some of the most common types of fans today include:

  1. Axial fans – used in smaller commercial kitchens and are designed to move large volumes of air at low pressure.
  2. Centrifugal fans – Better suited to larger commercial kitchens and are designed to move air at higher pressures. They work by using fan blades to spin the air around (centrifugal) and push it out.
  3. In-line fans: Usually installed in ductwork and can be used to move air over long distances.

Regular cleaning and maintenance is essential. Ideally you should seek guidance to find a fan which is easier to clean and maintain. Having a fan with removable parts and easy to access means it will be easier to access and clean.

Commercial extractor fans play a critical role in maintaining good air quality in commercial kitchens today, and with more choice these days, it’s important to carefully consider the needs of the kitchen and choose a fan that is both efficient and effective.

By keeping these factors in mind, you will ensure a safer and healthier kitchen. A kitchen that will provide comfort and safety for customers and staff.



We help commercial kitchen establishments including:

Fast Food chains and independents
Dark kitchens
Limited companies and self employed
Sports Event providers

Fan Services Ltd provides the following services:


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Fan Services London 0203 539 1475

Fan Services Ltd is a specialist for all commercial kitchen dependent businesses in London. Repairing, installing and maintaining commercial extractor fan systems is what we do day in day out. We also provide servicing for all commercial food places such as restaurants and cafes.

Fan Services Ltd is long established and we are based in the City of London in the UK. We will get your kitchen up and running quickly if you are having any problems!  …24/7, we provide services for City of London, Inner London and Outer London.

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We will help you by looking at what your needs are, and seeing which solution will fit those needs best. We create, install and maintain commercial kitchen extraction systems to exceptionally high standards.

Our Emergency Call Out Service is available 24 hrs a day 7 days a week. Don’t take any short cuts with your kitchen or your livelihood. We understand what is needed and we have a right first time approach to everything we do.

Get in touch we’d love to help. You can also use our contact form – it’s quick and easy to fill out. You can also email or call our office in London 0203 5391475 / mobile phone 0759 500 3000 to discuss your requirements. Contact us for a free to see what we can provide for you.