Posted 8 months ago
This is a 1950 magazine advertisement for Curtis Companies Woodwork by Curtis Company, Clinton, Iowa. - Curtis makes a complete line of woodwork for the modern home.
The Curtis Company was established in 1866 when Charles F. Curtis arrived in Clinton and purchased a small sash and door mill that had five employees. He was soon joined by his older brother George M. in this new business. The small company managed to survive stiff competition because of an innovative step in the manufacture of sash. At that time all sash were sold without glass. It was up to the buyer to obtain the glass and putty from other sources and the contractor then had to do the glazing. The Curtis brothers developed the idea of glazing the sash in the mill. Business boomed and the company moved to larger quarters. This was just the first of many improvements made by the Curtis company in the production of doors, windows, woodwork,
and cabinets. As business grew branch plants were established in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. The company is an excellent example of the industrial diversification that was taking place in Clinton as the lumber industry was declining. In addition to making the various wood components necessary for house construction, the Curtis Service Bureau began publishing the Better Built Homes catalogs which featured plans which could be ordered by mail. New York architects Trowbridge and Ackerman designed a series of small houses for the Curtis catalogs. Each could be built of standard materials in stock sizes, including of course, Curtis Woodwork. In the middle of the Great Depression Curtis introduced the "Silentite" double hung window, which they claimed was the first major improvement in double hung windows in over a century. The company was one of the first to set up extensive research and development departments. When aluminum and stainless steel began to replace wooden building materials, demand for Curtis products dropped. But the end of the company was not caused by competition, but by nature. In 1965 the Mississippi River flood waters swept through the plant, damaging buildings and materials. In 1966, after a century of doing business in Clinton, the company closed.