Innovators at 7 Tide: Marvin Windows and Doors

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Innovators at 7 Tide: Marvin Windows and Doors

Writer Jonathan Swift commented in the late 1600s, “Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.” Nothing could be truer when talking about how windows impact the design of an exceptional home. Some may simply look through them, but architects and designers see these portals connecting interiors and exteriors as art unto themselves. 

We thought you would enjoy learning about how another 7 Tide partner has built its reputation literally around you. Enter Marvin Windows and Doors, a true story of American innovation.

In 1904, George G. Marvin arrived in tiny Warroad, Minnesota, to take a job managing a grain elevator. The area was a booming lumber center, providing pulpwood for paper mills. Recognizing an opportunity, George Marvin established the Marvin Lumber & Cedar Company in 1912.

George believed in the sanctity of a handshake.

Honest and hard working, George earned respect across the northern woodlands. He often loaned money to farmers and lumbermen who needed to get through the winter when work was scarce. The only record of the transaction would be a penciled note in George’s black pocket notebook. During the Depression, George Marvin quietly helped those in need throughout the community. When a local bank failed, all the farm mortgages were going to come due immediately. Without the cash to pay off their mortgages, dozens of farmers would lose their land. George bought the bank, held the mortgages and the farmers paid him back over time.

He was also a shrewd businessman who could see a need and fill it. He designed a machine that turned scrap lumber into wooden stakes, to keep his lumberyard workers busy during the slow winter months, and then sold the stakes to the state highway department.

George Marvin’s son, Bill, was a true visionary.

Once Bill joined the lumberyard business as Marvin’s eighth employee, he listened to another employee’s suggestion to make door frames and window sashes in another attempt to keep workers busy over the winter. They bought a saw and began their first venture into the window business. During WWII, Marvin turned its attention to making ammunition boxes and other supplies for military contracts. However, Bill Marvin realized when the war was over, that returning veterans would need jobs. So he invested in top-line woodworking machinery and launched what we now know as Marvin Windows and Doors.

By the 1960s Marvin promoted its unique capacity
to build any window a customer wanted.

The company grew from a few dozen employees to 4,000 today with all six Marvin children entering the business. Along the way, Marvin employees rigged their own machinery out of truck parts when the equipment wasn’t available for a specific task. Their ingenuity through the years resulted in more than four dozen patents in everything from covers for casement window handles to sliding door sill construction.


Marvin is the largest window and door company to build every order
to a customer’s exact specifications.

In 1980, Marvin reintroduced the round-top window by taking one unit to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) show. This reintroduction changed the face of residential housing in the United States. Marvin was also the first company to introduce standard-sized curved glass windows and standard corner glass windows.


In another first, Marvin launched Signature Services in 1997, a special division that tackles the most challenging design and construction jobs. No matter how ambitious an architect, designer or homeowner’s ideas may be, Marvin Signature Services can make them a reality by offering one-of-a-kind solutions and unparalleled expertise.

BUILDER magazine named Bill Marvin one of the 100 most influential people
of the 20th Century building industry in 1999.


For a company that has won many awards, a pinnacle achievement came in the form of recognition from the President of the United States. In a much-anticipated speech on the American economy, President Barack Obama held up Marvin as an example to the nation. Telling how Marvin refused to lay off workers even as competitors made deep cuts during the deepest recession the country had seen since the Great Depression, he said, “That’s how America was built. That’s why we’re the greatest nation on Earth.”

And the innovation continues as Marvin’s exclusive distributor for New England and New York has now designed the first Marvin brand experience center in the United States. This space at 7 Tide in Boston Seaport provides a one-of-a-kind experience where the design community and homeowners can dream about how windows and doors can transform their projects. The space is open to the public and an appointment will assure a very personal experience. Learn how you can experience Marvin in a whole new way.