Marlo Coils Going Strong – on the Italia Riviera – After 60 Years

May 23, 2024

We recently had a unique experience with a “customer” that we feel is a story worth telling. The owner of an apartment building in Portofino, Italy contacted us to request assistance with some Marlo products in his building.

Portofino, with a population of around 400, is a fishing village on the Ligurian coast and is often referred to as the crown jewel of the Italian Riviera. Portofino is a popular tourist destination, due to its beautiful panoramic views of the Ligurian Sea, unique pastel-colored houses, and historic old-world charm.

This building, built more than 500 years ago, was renovated in 1966, when Marlo “Seazonaire” coil units were installed to provide heat during the winter. In late 2023, the current owner of the property, who is also an engineer, became interested in adding air conditioning for his guests. However, he faced severe limitations on adding any improvements, due to the historical status of the building.

So, the owner contacted us to see if the Seazonaire units – all 10 of which were still functioning perfectly after nearly 60 years – could be converted from heating to cooling during the summer months. He also inquired about maintenance guidance, since he said almost no maintenance had been performed on the units. Needless to say, our advice was to “keep doing what you’re doing!”

After some investigation, we discovered that the units were indeed manufactured by Marlo in our High Ridge, Missouri facility sometime in the 1960s. Our engineering team set out to do what they could to help, and were able to locate some original Seazonaire manuals and schematics. After comparing photos of the units to the recovered documents, our team determined that the units should be capable of being converted from heating mode to cooling mode.

We discovered that the Seazonaire units in the apartments featured 3-row coils capable of both heating and cooling with hot and chilled water. The building owner would only need to work with a local contractor to connect the coils to a chilled water source, and assure that the drain pan drains are clear and routed to an acceptable location to remove condensation off of the coil when cooling.

Upon hearing the news that his goal of using the units for cooling could be accomplished, the owner was both thankful for our help and appreciative of the Marlo quality demonstrated by the Seazonaire units that continue to function normally after 6 decades, with little to no maintenance. In his words, “This journey could prove to be a good marketing argument for Marlo customers, showing extreme build quality, client service and customization ability, dipped in a romantic novel of ‘Bella Vita’ (‘Beautiful Life’ in Italian).”

By spring of this year (before the summer heat) the 10 Seazonaire units had been converted to allow both heating and cooling. Tourists who stay in the apartments are now greeted with a plaque on the wall, which tells the Seazonaire revitalization story. A few excerpts are included below:

“The Seazonaire reversible air conditioning units, originally installed in 1967 only for heating purposes and meticulously restored in 2024 to their full capacity, represent a piece of industrial archaeology and resilient product design. Crafted by Marlo Coil Company, a pioneer based in St. Louis, Missouri USA, these units were among the first to bring air conditioning to Europe, and particularly Italy, where such innovation was a rarity.”

“Tucked away in elegant boiserie cases, the Seazonaire units provide comfort without compromising the apartment’s aesthetic and are serviced by a wall-integrated piping and drainage system. The 2024 profound yet non-invasive restoration intervention left the slate floors, the walls, made of rock, and the delicate patina that adorns them, untouched, preserving the apartment’s historical essence.”

“By choosing to stay here, you’re embracing the beauty of long-lasting quality, the charm of historical preservation, and the warmth of Italian hospitality. The Seazonaire units, a symbol of Marlo’s legacy and our dedication to preservation, ensure your comfort as you relive the ‘Bella Vita’ in a space where every detail narrates a rich history.”

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