About Us


Like many rock bands, our story started in a garage. However, instead of making music, our founders, Ed Bottum and Charlie Powers started repairing refrigerators in a Detroit garage. Refrigeration may not be as glamourous as rock-n-roll, but it’s far more important (imagine a world without refrigeration)!

The year was 1944 and due to World War II rationing, it was difficult to get new refrigerators or repair parts. Seeing an opportunity, the two men began a modest refrigerator repair business. As their reputation and business grew, Ed Bottum and Charlie Powers were asked to make replacement parts for refrigerator manufacturers, as well as components for the war effort.

As an early innovator in the refrigeration industry, Refrigeration Research introduced a new line of driers and strainers to solve the inherent moisture problem of early systems. The company also developed and introduced the first suction accumulator, a product which is still manufactured by Refrigeration Research.

In 1949, after several expansions and moves, the company found a home in Brighton, Michigan. As the list of products Refrigeration Research produced continued to grow, the number of manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers who came to rely on our experience, quality and service also multiplied.

Today, Refrigeration Research is a recognized leader in the refrigeration industry. The company has continued to research, engineer and introduce new products to meet the ever-changing needs of its customers. We are also proud to be one of the oldest family-run businesses in Michigan – celebrating our 75th anniversary in 2019!

To learn more about our products, visit PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, or contact us directly at (810) 227-1151.

Ed Bottum Sr and Ed Bottum


  • Design, engineer and manufacture the highest-quality refrigeration and air conditioning components in the industry.
  • Continuously improve efficiencies and reduce costs through innovation.
  • Satisfy customers with custom-designed and manufactured parts, along with superior customer service.
  • Cultivate exceptional partnerships based on honesty, reliability and a personal touch.


It’s been called “quirky,” “fun” and “an interesting tour of history.” The Refrigeration Research museum houses the largest private collection of advances in mechanical refrigeration for U.S. residential and commercial use from the late 19th century up to 1960. Located in our headquarters in Brighton, Michigan, the museum features devices that dramatically improved food storage safety and convenience and set high standards for mechanical reliability. And, depending on your age, it may bring back a few memories.

As you trace the history of refrigeration, you’ll recognize names of industry pioneers such as Frigidaire, Philco, Sunbeam and Tecumseh. You may also be familiar with iconic pieces of equipment such as the 1948 Kelvinator, a Crosley “Icy Ball” (still in operating condition), and the popular Sears’ Coldspot refrigerator introduced in 1936.

The museum highlights innovations and innovators throughout the years, including: a 1926 compressor unit in which the refrigerant does not come in contact with the motor windings, thereby avoiding the problems most refrigerant systems would have both then and now; refrigerators that were made for farms before rural electrification, using ammonia and water; the “Copelametic” compressor which was first produced for the Coca-Cola company; a 1919 Guardian condensing unit made of heavy cast-iron construction; and a 1918 Kelvinator unit that marked the first generation of household refrigeration. Did you know that the Kelvinator was named in honor of Lord Kelvin (1824-1907), who was knighted Sir William Thomas for his contributions in thermodynamics. The Refrigeration Research Museum is open by appointment.