Did you know that Larson-Juhl Custom Frames, one of our favourite frame moulding suppliers, has been in business building picture frames since the 1800’s? Their history is full of competing entrepreneurs & plucky inventors, and we’ve gathered some highlights from their origin story here:
In 1893, Pacific Picture Frame was founded in Seattle, Washington. Within the next century, that small West Coast frame manufacturer would become Larson-Juhl, the world’s leader in framing products, manufacturing and distributing.
The same year Pacific Picture Frame was founded, inventor Columbus A. Wayland from Middlesboro, Kentucky, patented the first picture frame clamp. With the invention of the clamp, coupled with the first mat cutting machines in 1894, the manufacturing of frames became quicker, more efficient and precise. Over the next half century, many new inventions were introduced making custom framing a real business opportunity for entrepreneurs.
By 1957 when Roger Larson founded Larson Picture Frame, a frame manufacturing business in Braham, Minnesota, and Tom Juhl opened Juhl, Inc. a Minneapolis, Minnesota frame shop, framing was expanding tremendously. Larson and Juhl both recognized the industry potential.
In 1968, Juhl merged with Pacific Picture Frame to form Juhl-Pacific U.S.A. By 1971, Juhl-Pacific’s distribution territory stretched throughout the West and Midwest.
In the early 1980s, Larson Picture Frames also recognized the need for fast, efficient distribution with a strong emphasis on customer service. Under the leadership of President, Craig Ponzio, the company combined the strengths of Titan in Denver and Palatine in Chicago with its Ashland operation to enhance much-needed distribution of materials. Larson later opened additional distribution centers to serve customers locally in Dallas, Atlanta and Los Angeles.
With similar ideologies and complementary product lines serving framers across the nation, Larson and Juhl were a perfect match. The two companies merged in 1988 to form Larson-Juhl and soon expanded internationally. Today, the company operates 67 facilities in 17 countries around the world.
In February 2002, the sale of Larson-Juhl to Berkshire Hathaway was completed. The current management team continues to lead the company with the same values that have made Larson-Juhl the premier manufacturer and distributor of fine custom picture frame moulding.