Rinnai Corporation is a Japanese multinational company based in Nagoya, Japan, that manufactures gas appliances, including energy-efficient tankless water heaters, home heating appliances, kitchen appliances, gas clothes dryers and commercial-use equipment such as rice cookers, grillers, fryers and salamanders.
They are Japan’s largest manufacturer of gas kitchen appliances.
Formally known as Rinnai & Co., the company was co-founded by Kanekichi Hayashi and Hidejiro Naito. The origin of the business started in November 1918, stemming from Hidejiro’s inspiration from the blue flames emitted from an imported oil-burning imagawayaki cooking stove. Using the particular stove as a model, Hidejiro subsequently developed a petroleum-fuelled stove.
In 1920, Hidejiro left his job at Nagoya Gas (currently Toho Gas Co., Ltd.) and established the company together with Kanekichi, a childhood friend who lived in the same dormitory. The company name was coined from characters in the two founder's last names – “Rin” (it’s another way of reading “Hayashi“) and “Nai” (from “Naito“). In 1971, it changed their name to Rinnai Corporation.
Rinnai began with manufacturing and selling gas appliances such as gas table top stoves, gas ovens and gas water heaters. From 1938 to 1946, the company paused their gas appliances production to manufacture aircraft parts for the army for war effort.The production resumed in 1946 after the head office factory was rebuilt.
By the 1950s, they changed to a limited company and opened up their Tokyo office. From then onwards, the company expanded rapidly by opening up more subsidiaries and factories around the country and increasing the business line-up to produce more gas-related appliances. Today, Rinnai has 15 domestic subsidiaries and manufacturing companies in Japan.