Ingersoll Rand and its subsidiary Trane used asbestos to make products for many years. This resulted in exposure and illnesses like mesothelioma in many people. Ingersoll Rand continues to be liable for asbestos exposure and handles claims through settlements and asbestos lawsuits.
Ingersoll Rand History and Asbestos
Ingersoll Rand’s history dates back to the late 1800s. In 1870, Simon Ingersoll invented and patented a steam-powered rock drill. Ingersoll used this invention to start the Ingersoll Rock Drill Company in 1871.
- In 1872, the Rand and Waring Drill and Compressor Company was founded, eventually changing its name to the Rand Drill Company. Ingersoll then merged with Sergeant Drill Company to become Ingersoll-Sergeant Drill Company.
- In 1904, Ingersoll-Sergeant drills helped dig the Panama Canal. Rand produced portable compressors at this time. In 1905, these two competitors came together to form the Ingersoll-Rand Company.
- The new company continued to develop better drills but also expanded its reach to include other products. Ingersoll Rand also grew by acquiring smaller companies. These included Imperial Pneumatic Tool Company and A.S. Cameron Steam Pump Works in 1907 and 1909.
- Ingersoll Rand’s acquisitions included engineering, locomotive engines, boiler compressors, jackhammer drills, air-powered rock drills, centrifugal pumps, and much more.
- In 2008, Ingersoll Rand acquired the well-known HVAC company Trane. Trane became part of the company’s Climate Control Technologies division.
- With these acquisitions came growth and profits but also risk and liability, particularly from Trane. Many parts, products, and companies that Ingersoll Rand acquired contained or used asbestos at some point in time. When it acquired these companies, Ingersoll Rand took on their lawsuits and liabilities over mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos illnesses.
- In 2020, Ingersoll Rand finalized a merger of its industrial division with Gardner Denver, a company that makes compressors, pumps, and other machinery equipment. The new company is called Ingersoll Rand, Inc.
Today, Ingersoll Rand is a large international company. Its North American headquarters are located in North Carolina. The company’s other offices are located in Dublin, Belgium, and Shanghai.
Brands under the Ingersoll Rand umbrella include:
- American Standard
- Club Car
- Thermo King
- GHH Rand
- Ingersoll Rand tools
How Did Ingersoll Rand Use Asbestos?
Ingersoll Rand made many products using asbestos-containing components manufactured by other companies.
Ingersoll Rand also acquired companies, like Trane, that once used asbestos in their parts and products. The full extent of the liability was not immediately known because asbestos-related illnesses develop over decades.
The companies and subsidiaries used asbestos as an insulating material. Asbestos packing, sealing, and gaskets, for instance, were used in equipment to create tight, insulated seals. Asbestos in locomotive brakes protected against heat and fire resulting from friction.
Ingersoll Rand Products Made with Asbestos
The types of asbestos products sold by Ingersoll Rand and Trane include:
- HVAC parts
- Railroad brakes
Before the 1970s, these parts and components often included asbestos. Asbestos was often used because it resists fire and heat and enhances durability.
Who Was at Risk of Asbestos Exposure from Ingersoll Rand
Asbestos fibers and dust can be easily inhaled or ingested. Once in the body, the fibers can cause serious tissue damage over time. In some people, these fibers lead to devastating illnesses like mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis.
The people who worked at Ingersoll Rand when the company used asbestos-containing parts risked exposure. While these workers did not experience the same risk level as those who directly handled asbestos, they may have disturbed fibers in the parts they were using.
Others who used Ingersoll Rand products in different industries were also at risk of asbestos exposure:
- Boiler workers
- Power plant workers
- Railroad workers
- Maintenance workers
- Shipyard workers
- HVAC workers
- Industrial workers
An often overlooked source of exposure to asbestos is secondhand. Workers who handled Ingersoll Rand products often carried asbestos fibers home on their clothing, exposing family members. There are many cases of wives and children of these workers being diagnosed with mesothelioma later.
Asbestos and Mesothelioma Lawsuits Against Ingersoll Rand
Because of its connection to asbestos, Ingersoll Rand has faced several lawsuits seeking compensation and justice due to their asbestos-related illnesses from exposure.
Ingersoll Rand has settled or dismissed these lawsuits without resorting to bankruptcy protection for the entire company and without forming an asbestos trust.
In one case against Ingersoll Rand, a jury awarded a former power plant employee’s widow $1 million. The award was to be paid by several companies whose asbestos products were used by Woodrow McBride, including Ingersoll Rand.
Nicolas Kardo worked in the railroad industry where he encountered asbestos products. He later developed mesothelioma and died. His family sued several defendants, including Ingersoll Rand. The case was still ongoing in 2019 after a judge initially threw out Kardo’s deposition.
Trane Technologies, Ingersoll Rand’s subsidiary, recently placed two business units in bankruptcy over asbestos liabilities. Trane stated that it pays about $100 million every year in asbestos claims.
The bankruptcies are not yet resolved, but the companies were recently ordered to negotiate for resolution. At stake is an asbestos trust fund that would help compensate past asbestos exposure victims.
If You Were Exposed to Ingersoll Rand Asbestos Products
If you believe Ingersoll Rand products played a role in your asbestos-related illness, you can work with a mesothelioma lawyer to help you make your case and file a claim for adequate compensation.Get Your FREE Mesothelioma Packet
Page Written by Mary Ellen Ellis
Mary Ellen Ellis has been the head writer for Mesothelioma.net since 2016. With hundreds of mesothelioma and asbestos articles to her credit, she is one of the most experienced writers on these topics. Her degrees and background in science and education help her explain complicated medical topics for a wider audience. Mary Ellen takes pride in providing her readers with the critical information they need following a diagnosis of an asbestos-related illness.
Page Edited by Patient Advocate Dave Foster
Dave has been a mesothelioma Patient Advocate for over 10 years. He consistently attends all major national and international mesothelioma meetings. In doing so, he is able to stay on top of the latest treatments, clinical trials, and research results. He also personally meets with mesothelioma patients and their families and connects them with the best medical specialists and legal representatives available.