Caldwell Celebrating 125 Years
In 1888, William Caldwell and Allen Boucher changed the way double-hung windows are made with the development of the clockspring counterbalance, which replaced the old pulley and weight system used for centuries. The partners formed Caldwell Manufacturing Co. to produce the new hardware, and the company is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
The Boucher family, now in its fourth generation, continues to lead the closely-held corporation. Still based in Rochester, N.Y., Caldwell currently operates eight facilities in three countries, employing more than 300 people.
Spring manufacturing has been part of the Caldwell business throughout its history, but the company has also maintained a focus on new product development, with more than 100 patents to its name. Variations of its original counterbalance system are still in use today, but Caldwell has also added dozens of hardware products used by window manufacturers around the world.
“Our focus has always been on how our actions affect our customers,” says Eric Mertz, current president and CEO. “With customers foremost in the company’s mind, Caldwell continues to develop new products well ahead of its competitors.”
One of its most notable introductions came 60 years after its founding, when Caldwell introduced the spiral balance. The Spirex Balance, as it was named, consists of a twisted rod inside a metal spiral spring, which is itself inside a tube.
The late 1950s brought the design and release of one-piece weatherstrip-balance combinations for wood windows. In the early 1970s, designers at Caldwell conceived of a replacement window with a sash that tilted inward to allow for easy cleaning. It partnered with manufacturers to launch the technology.
Early in its history, Caldwell also applied the functionality of the spring counterbalance used in windows to a number of other, unrelated consumer products. Old advertisements show proof of the company’s activity in the fitness market, with the “Little Gem” Exerciser; the garden market, with the Automatic Hose Reel; and home accessories, with a nutcracker and the “Up-to-Date” Skirt and Pants Hanger. The company eventually, however, decided to turn its full attention to windows.
With the celebration beginning, June 26, Caldwell is planning several internal events, including luncheons and a steak roast to celebrate its 125th anniversary. Additionally, the company has committed to sponsoring the construction of a Habitat for Humanity home in Rochester, N.Y., as well as donating 125 windows to Habitat for Humanity. It will also mark the anniversary at GlassBuild America with a display of its historic products.
As it celebrates its history, Caldwell is looking ahead to renewed growth and expansion, says Mertz, pointing to Caldwell’s people as one of its most important assets. “The Caldwell family includes every single one of the company’s employees. Each individual is an essential piece of the Caldwell success story,” he states. “Many are long-time contributors to Caldwell’s growth and expansion, and who have witnessed the challenges as well. With their help and support, Caldwell will continue to thrive for another 125 years.”