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Nortech's roots reach back to 1958 when, following a stint as a pilot for Pan American World Airways, Richard Marlow founded Northeast Industries in Midland Park, New Jersey. The new company was just up the street from Marlow Pumps, the highly-respected manufacturer (now part of ITT) founded by Richard's father, Alfred Marlow, in the 1920s.

Northeast Industries began manufacturing the "Vapor-Jet" line of steam cleaners and soon added additional products for industrial cleaning, including pressure washers, sand blasters, and compressed air-powered vacuums.

When a Pennsylvania-based company acquired Northeast Industries in 1967, Richard Marlow elected to retain the rights to the air-powered vacuums and the Nortech name was born. Soon the company was offering a more complete line of vacuums and enjoying dramatic growth. In 1978 Nortech purchased its first production facility and in 1988 completed construction of the company's first from-the-ground-up factory. By this time Nortech's end-user list read more like the Fortune 500—listing customers such as General Motors, Boeing, and Bethlehem Steel.

In 2004 Nortech was acquired by Guardair Corporation of Chicopee, Massachusetts. With the goal of uniting Guardair's core industrial safety air gun and pneumatic product lines under a single cohesive brand message & sales approach, all Nortech Vacuum Products were transitioned to the Guardair brand in 2016.