Break room wall mural showcasing Reliable Sprinkler's products (sprinkler heads)


OCTOBER 1, 2021| SpeedPro Greenville

When you think about a “family owned business”, you probably picture a small restaurant-type business rather than a multimillion dollar company like Reliable Sprinkler. Even though Reliable Sprinkler has been around since 1920, sold products on every continent (except Antarctica of course) and has invested in much manufacturing automation, Reliable Sprinkler is still owned by the founding family and treats both customers and employees like family as well.

The use of automatic sprinkler systems in public and manufacturing facilities was added to building codes in the wake of tragic fires during the early 2000s.

So, a man named Frank J. Fee, a master plumber in NYC, began designing sprinklers around 1916. He received two patents for his sprinkler designs in 1918, and shortly after founded The Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Co., Inc. in January of 1920. You can read more about Reliable Sprinkler’s history here.

To this day, Reliable Sprinkler is still owned by the Fee family, now on their third and fourth generations of leadership. The board members often leave their offices to work alongside Reliable Sprinkler employees. “You can’t put a price on having close touch with a family who’s been in the business for years,” Reliable Sprinkler’s Marketing Manager John Corcoran said.

From the beginning, Reliable Sprinkler’s mission has been “to serve as a fire protection leader.” Later noted in the mission statement, but no less important, is the company’s drive to build lasting relationships and partnerships with customers. “We’re like a family,” Corcoran said. “We take care of you.”

Reliable Sprinkler has 12 tech services teams located across the world to offer in-field tech training and support to clients. Should there be a problem, Reliable Sprinkler is quick to send someone out to remedy the situation as well as work through the logistics of the problem in order to avoid a repeat situation.

In 2007, Reliable Sprinkler moved it’s headquarters from NYC to Liberty, SC to allow for more growth. They recently added another 150,000 square feet, bringing the plant to 467,00 square feet.

The manufacturing facility houses hundreds of automations in order to ensure quick turnarounds while employees run the machines and oversee production. 100% of products are tested at twice the operating pressure to ensure quality control. Products also go through x-ray validation and a temperature check before being passed.

Reliable Sprinkler could be considered a “one stop shop for a fire sprinkler contractor.” The company produces parts for fire sprinklers: valves (wet-system and dry-system), pre-action systems, and nozzles, to name a few. They also offer everything else related to fire sprinklers: i.e. piping and other valves. And this is just scratching the surface. More information about their products and services can be found on the Reliable Sprinkler website.

Reliable Sprinkler has sprinklers in buildings such as the Freedom Tower in NYC, China’s Disney, The Shard in London, England, and The University of Notre Dame.

They are now one of the few sprinkler manufacturers left (after 30 years of merges and acquisitions). Although the company just celebrated their first centennial in 2020, Reliable Sprinkler seeks to continue supporting their customers, improving their products and keeping the “family” atmosphere for another 100 years.

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Gregg Richey