Friday Fun Facts: Marvin Windows & Doors

When I was younger, one of my least favorite chores was washing the windows. I was too much of a perfectionist. Every time I thought I was done, I’d notice another streak or smudge. And it was nearly impossible to get to the dirtiest, hard-to-reach spots, adding to my frustration. Unlike vacuuming or dusting, every imperfection was glaringly obvious.

Back then, my only opinion of windows is that they were hard to clean.

That was before I understood that the purpose of windows (preferably windows without fingerprint smudges and streaks) goes beyond letting in sunshine. Since becoming a homeowner—and after working for Midwest Home magazine for nearly eight years—I have come to appreciate what good, quality windows can do for a home; good, quality windows like those built by Marvin Windows & Doors.

In my opinion, Marvin windows are not only really beautiful, they’re built to last, well-insulated, energy-efficient, and innovative. (I’m talking to you, Ultimate Casement Collection, with your revolutionary wash mode, allowing me to easily clean both sides of my windows from inside the house. Have I mentioned that I love you? And why weren’t you around in the 1980s?) The list of customizable features goes on and on, another major benefit. And have I mentioned that Marvin’s installers have a reputation for being knowledgeable, efficient, and talented, and the company stands by its products with a great warranty?

Marvin is one of those local companies that makes me proud to share a home state, the same way I feel about being from the same state where Scotch tape, the bundt pan, and Aveda products were invented. Go Minnesota!

Here are some fun facts about this local, family-owned company:

• The company’s headquarters are in Warroad, Minn. (just six miles from the Canadian border). The main factory is a two million-square-foot facility.

• Marvin is a family-owned company. When World War II ended, William “Bill” Marvin, who was working in his father George’s Warroad lumberyard, realized that returning veterans needed jobs. He knew that if they couldn’t find jobs in Warroad, they’d have to move out of town. So, over George’s objections, Bill invested in top-line woodworking machinery and launched what we now know as Marvin Windows and Doors.

• They are innovative. According to their website, “Marvin’s record of innovation goes back to the very earliest days of the company. In fact, we got into the window business after a worker at the Marvin lumberyard suggested making barn window sashes and door frames as a way to keep employees busy during the slow winter months. Longtime Marvin employees tell stories of rigging their own machinery out of truck parts and farm equipment. If nobody made the equipment they needed for a specific task, they’d build it themselves.”

• They are the largest window and door company that builds every order to their customers’ exact specifications.

• They were the first window company to deliver with their own fleet of trucks.

• They created the Stack and Strip window: a unique design that functioned as a hopper, casement or awning (a cornerstone Marvin product for nearly 30 years, beginning in the 1950s).

• They were the first window company to have their entire product line certified by the Window and Door Manufacturers Association.

• Today there are more than 4,500 Marvin employees, with facilities in Minnesota, North Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Oregon. Marvin brands include Marvin Windows & Doors, Integrity Windows & Doors, and Infinity Windows & Doors.

BUILDER magazine named Bill Marvin one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th-century building industry. He died in 2009 at age 92 (he led the company for 40 years). His descendents run the business today.

• The Wm. S. Marvin Training and Visitor Center is located in Warroad and open to the public. It’s free and open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 1 to 4 p.m.

For examples of Marvin’s work (including celebrity homes), follow them on Pinterest (marvinwindows) or Twitter @MarvinWindows.

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