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History Of Black Knight


Bob-Purvis-1Black Knight Energy, Inc. was started in 1976 by Robert L. Purvis, Jr. After returning from a tour in Vietnam and getting a mechanical engineering degree in the HVAC field a life’s purpose was found.


Working as a service man for a local heating company in 1976 a customer had no heat. Problem was a plugged chimney causing carbon monoxide to back up and snuff out pilot light. Chimney was full of soot, pieces of mortar and a bird’s nest. Chimney had to be cleaned and opened up in order to get people heat. An old burlap sack was found, filled with rocks, and a rope tied to one end started the first of literally thousands of chimney sweepings.


In 1976 was the beginning of the first energy crisis. Heating oil had climbed from 13 cents a gallon to 50 cents a gallon. Oil heating customers were screaming for relief. In the mid ’70s and early ‘80s was the beginning of the wood heating revival.


Wood stove shops started popping up in garages, welding shops started fabricating wood stoves. Wood stoves from this era were big, heavy steel boxes. Their claim to fame was you could fill it up with wood on Friday and burn until Sunday. Although this claim was a stretch, long burn times were incredible with many of these first generation woodstoves.


With the resurgence of wood heat came the need for maintenance. Woodstoves in this era were creosote factories due to their air tight design. The word got out that a local furnace man was sweeping chimneys, installing woodstoves, prefab chimneys, and add on wood-coal furnaces at night and on weekends.


From 1976 thru 1978 homemade brushes, vacuums, and by today’s standards, crude equipment was used to clean and open up plugged chimneys. In 1978 an ad in Mother Earth News offering chimney sweeping equipment changed everything. $2000.00 was borrowed and new state of the art equipment was purchased.


1978 also brought a need for a name. Local heating company I was working for told me he owned me and I could no longer tell customers my name or offer chimney sweeping services to his customers.


Since I was sweeping chimneys at night, getting really black from chimneys that had never been cleaned, the name Black Knight came about.


From 1978 thru 1981 work continued installing furnaces, air conditioners and servicing HVAC equipment while sweeping chimneys, installing woodstoves and add-on wood furnaces at night. By 1981 the 18 hour days, seven days a week had taken its toll and the decision was made to go it alone.


A front page picture in a local newspaper with my three year old son titled, “Reviving an Old Tradition” had a tremendous effect, not only for chimney sweeping but it also brought more than 400 customers requesting furnace and air conditioning services.


Today’s services include: Chimney sweeping, chimney relining with stainless steel and poured in place liners, woodstove sales and installation, chimney caps, video scans, chimney inspections, damper replacements, masonry repairs. With Golden Flue poured in place chimney lining division for historic restorations and adding life to old brick chimneys, a full service sheet metal shop with design build fabrication capabilities for custom duct systems to specialty items, Air Duct Cleaning, both truck mount and portable to handle residential, commercial and industrial applications. Oil tank removal and installations with our own in house excavator, dump trucks and skid steer equipment. Installation, sales and service of Outdoor wood furnace-boilers using our own crane truck.


From the humble beginning of sweeping that first chimney with a sack of rocks, Black Knight Energy, Inc. has consistently grown and matured into a self-sufficient, highly modified service company. We are large enough to handle all your heating, cooling, chimney, air duct cleaning needs with 17 trucks and 12 employees yet small enough to care and provide an honest, professional service.


November 2011


After 35 years of servicing all types of air conditioners, furnaces, boilers, climbing in & out of Chimneys, and ducting, Bob Purvis founder of Black Knight Energy, Black Knight Chimney and Furnace & Duct Cleaners of Western PA, has taken to the hills in beautiful Cooke City, Montana.


A true pioneer in his own right he has left the everyday tasks of the business under careful and watchful eyes. Jeremy Siwicki heads the HVAC division and Zach Purvis (Bob’s Son) heads the Chimney division. Together the two of them have over 30 years of experience. In this ever changing market, they bring to the table innovative ideas with proven results at affordable prices; the same values that put us in the homes of many PA residents.


Bob is living out his dream, trail guiding in the beautiful natural elements of Montana, knowing that his hand-picked crew; Jeremy and Zach carry out what he started. At Black Knight Energy and Black Knight Chimney not much has changed except some names, titles.


Through Jeremy’s efficient and productive management over the past year, Black Knight Energy, Inc. has increased in new business and service. His 16 years of trade experience makes our customers the warmest in the winter and the coolest in the summer. Whether it’s an oil boiler, a gas fired furnace, duct cleaning, installation of an air conditioning or an oil tank that has a leak, Jeremy is ready with a viable solution that is both cost effective, reliable and energy efficient. Jeremy Siwicki is President of Black Knight Energy, Inc.


Zach Purvis, President of Black Knight Chimney, Inc. specializes in chimney fire investigations, installation of chimney liners, fireplace inserts and stoves, custom stainless chase covers, caps, crowns and pointing. With over 15 years working with his father, he has mastered the skills necessary to provide safe, effective and proven techniques at affordable prices. Inspectors, adjustors and commercial companies welcome his knowledge and opinions when it comes to insurance claims and customer satisfaction.


Honesty, Integrity and Commitment are just some of the requirements to be a part of the Black Knight Family. So you see my friends, it really is business as usual.