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Celebrating 75 years of refrigeration innovation

October 2020 marks 75 years of business for True Manufacturing.

Our story isn’t a secret to many. We haven’t ever forgotten where we came from, or the fundamentals of why customers have for many, many, years depended on True as their preferred refrigeration partner in restaurants, bars, hotels and anywhere else that needs cold they can rely on.

For 75 years, the True Manufacturing Company has endured by preserving the values of a people-focused family-owned business which contrasts the scale and infrastructure of a global operation. At 75, we celebrate our legacy, the determination of our people, and our partnership with the operators who trust the True brand with their business.


Our story starts similar to many North American brands which have endured; with an idea.

For the Trulaske family, it was developing electric-powered refrigeration equipment (which was the latest ‘must have’ appliance for the home, at the time) for commercial use in restaurants and bars. In the 1940’s it was still typical to have large (and expensive) blocks of ice delivered to your restaurant to preserve food.

The slang term “icebox” comes from these early pre-electric refrigerators which were literally an insulated box with blocks of ice in them.

It was 1945, when Bob (Robert J.) Trulaske, along with his father, Frank, and later his brother, Art, poured their funds and efforts into making some of the first commercial refrigeration cabinets in the backyard of their St. Louis home.

Our first big break came in the late 1940’s, when a representative of the 7UP® company spotted one of True’s electric-powered coolers in a local bar. As with many beverages, they knew their product was best served chilled, but there was no easy way for general stores to retail in this way, especially during summer. You would use ice or sell it off the shelf to be taken home and cooled.

True’s early success came from providing refrigeration solutions to the major beverage companies, so much so that we were able to expand our manufacturing facilities and enter International regions, starting with the Caribbean and Central American markets.

Throughout the 1950’s & 60’s, True continued to grow exponentially, and in the early 1970’s decided to return to foodservice.

Despite our success in beverage, the North American restaurant and hotel kitchen refrigeration market was a crowded one by the 1970’s. Bob tasked his son Robert Trulaske, Jr. to establish the True brand in foodservice, which meant building a team of on-the-ground sales representatives who could work with customers to translate their requirements in to products and solutions.

Throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s, True continued to experience steady growth in both beverage and food, by sticking to the business principles that helped establish the company, something we continue to abide by to this day.

By only using the highest quality materials and components, investing in continual technology development and new talent, our finished product is the most durable available, able to maintain consistent, accurate and safe storage temperatures, even in the most demanding of foodservice environments.

Where we can’t source a component or part up to our exacting standards, we invest in the machinery and expertise to create it in-house ourselves. Be it sheet metal fabrication, our “Low-E” energy efficient glass door inserts, or as a shelving manufacturer, we believed we could do it better, and so we did. The payoff for this investment is a better end refrigeration product than if we were to just assemble a bunch of parts from different suppliers.

With 75 years of experience, True Manufacturing Co., Inc. has over 150 patents on refrigeration technology, for unique features which can exclusively be found in our products.

Innovations like our award-winning ‘RCU Technology’ which assists operators in minimizing preventative maintenance by helping to automatically remove excess debris from the interior and surface of the condensing coil.

Unlike most other manufacturers, True champion the use of a “Bottom-mount” design on our Upright products, where the compressor and condenser components are housed in the bottom section of the cabinet rather than the top.

Not only does this make the condenser coil more easily accessible, but compressors naturally perform more efficiently in the coolest, most grease-free area of the kitchen. Since heat rises, this usually means lower is better. It isn’t the easiest way to manufacture a refrigerator, requiring more piping between the components on the bottom and evaporator at the top, but we believe it results in a better product.

The 2000’s were a period of ongoing product development and international expansion. Today, True has offices in Germany, UK, Australia, Chile and Mexico, exporting from its manufacturing base in St. Louis to over 100 countries.

Another of our guiding principles is to provide the best service and support anywhere in the world where we supply equipment, which means having people and service partners on the ground in all of these global regions.

In order to be a leader in our field, we provide longer than industry-average product warranties as standard on all of our products, giving customers peace of mind. This can also be seen as an indicator of our own confidence in the long term viability of our product.

Bringing us up to present, the high level commercial refrigeration game today is focused on incremental improvements in areas of sustainability and energy efficiency.

Professional refrigeration is now a highly regulated industry, with Governments and States mandating minimum energy and performance standards which products must meet in order to be sold. Through legislation, these governing bodies wish to reduce wholesale energy consumption by driving further innovation, technology developments and competition amongst producers, with new products brought to market offering progressively greener credentials.

These standards vary between countries and regions, be it the ‘Energy Star’ program run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy, the European Commission’s ‘Ecodesign Directive’, or Australia and New Zealand’s joint ‘Energy Rating’ initiative.

To be a world leader in refrigeration today means exceeding these minimum standards, and because True remains a privately owned business which also manufactures at scale, we are uniquely positioned within the industry to adapt quickly to change and meet these challenges.

True has had to make huge investments in technology, research and development, manufacturing techniques and product testing processes over the last few years, but the results speak for themselves.

We now produce some of the most energy efficient commercial refrigeration products currently available thanks to our Natural Refrigerant® development initiative, helping our customers to achieve targets to reduce energy consumption, save money, and supply them with a better, more reliable refrigeration product.

Keeping active at 75.

Three-quarters of a century is a milestone. We’ve come a long way, but no fewer challenges exist today than ever. We continue to be guided by the values which have brought us this far:

Keep innovating – whether that be new technologies, better manufacturing techniques, or developing new types of products required by customers as their businesses evolve.

Ensure quality – through using the highest quality materials, the best components available and manufacturing 100% of equipment at True facilities in Missouri, USA.

Provide the best service and support – anywhere we supply equipment, from people on the ground, local service partners and an industry-leading warranty package provided at no additional cost.

Add value to the client’s business – for customers who understand that refrigeration equipment is an essential investment, we offer the best value available in terms of dependability, durability and sustainability through the widest range of energy & environmentally friendly commercial refrigeration products.


Thank you to our customers, the dedication of our team members, and we look forward to the next 75 years of business.

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