The Marshfield Door Systems history is an American success story. In December of 1890 Axel Hatteberg inventor and entrepreneur began work on founding the company known today as Marshfield Door Systems. Hatteberg needed $25,000 in capital to get his company off the ground. By July of 1891 Axel Hatteberg secured the capital and formed the Hatteberg Veneer Company in Marshfield, WI.
The original manufacturing plant built in 1891 by Axel was a small one-story building. It started out as a veneer cutting operation and produced butter tubs and cheese boxes with an initial crew of 20. The company utilized a veneer cutter developed by its founder, which was at the heart of the start-up manufacturing company. He also perfected a veneer dryer. But it was the veneer cutter of which the inventor was particularly proud. It was, he boasted, the largest in the country capable of handling a log of 10 feet long and 4 feet in diameter.
In 1894 the company set out to find outside investment to help the company expand its’ operation. What the company got was much more…W.H. Roddis provided additional capital and a new direction for the company. Roddis recognized the abundance of valuable hardwood species in the area; birch, maple, oak, basswood, and elm. Roddis also believed the company had a veneer capability that demanded higher margins than what could be made producing butter tubs and cheese boxes. He took the company in a new direction producing an increased volume of plywood. The company also turned toward veneer specialties, such as panels for beds, chairs, desks, etc., and was flexible enough to meet any veneer order.
By 1907 the company had grown to 55 employees with revenues of over $100,000 annually. Through a series of events W.H. Roddis acquired control of the company and renamed the entity the Roddis Veneer Company. In 1908, the company built a new facility and started producing their first solid core doors. The Roddis Company did not invent the flush door (a flat slab door) but was the first to recognize its potential and manufacture it on a large scale. The flush door was almost an immediate success as architects recognized its superiority for hotels, hospitals, schools, and apartment buildings. The Roddis Company made a national reputation on the excellence of its flush doors. It also made a fine reputation on its custom made plywood.
Hamilton Roddis took over the leadership roll at Roddis Veneer Company in 1920 when his father W.H. passed away. Hamilton built on the foundation his father left behind. Hamilton had great sense for manufacturing efficiencies in plywood which earned him the reputation as the Dean of the US plywood industry.
CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WAR EFFORT
In World War II Roddis Veneer Company manufactured marine plywood for PT boats and interior plywood, panels, doors, and bulkheads for the construction of hundreds of Liberty Ships made by the US Maritime Commission. The plant made aircraft plywood and cut and shipped special birch veneer to Britain for use in construction of the famed De Havilland Mosquito Bomber. At least 90% of the production of the Marshfield plant during WWII was devoted to the war effort. Among later contracts awarded to the Roddis Veneer Company was the manufacture of the aircraft plywood used to construct Howard Hughes’ HK-1 Flying Boat also known as the Spruce Goose.
PARTICLEBOARD CORE BUSINESS TAKES OFF
By 1960 Roddis Veneer Company had grown to over 1000 employees and $59,000,000 in annual revenues. Recognizing the company’s capabilities the Weyerhaeuser Corporation acquired Roddis as a strategic entry into the hardwood products business. In 1965, a significant event took place when the Weyerhaeuser Company opened a particleboard operation at the Marshfield complex. This particleboard plant was eventually converted to Steam Thru technology, which proved to be the most efficient technique for manufacturing particleboard door core. Marshfield remains to this day the only door company that manufactures its own core and provides our competitors with much of their particleboard and fire-resistant core products.
Weyerhaeuser’s 1994 strategic plan included increasing production of factory-finished doors. The calculated increase brought forth many challenges including the threat of increased volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions and the need to reduce lead times in response to the demands of the market. Weyerhaeuser turned toward the solution of UV curable finishes, implementing a flat-line UV finishing system, called Enviroclad™ UV. What had once taken Weyerhaeuser two working days to completely finish a door, now was completed in a mere 20 minutes, increasing production capacity by an estimated 300 percent.
TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION
In 1995, another sizable contribution that Weyerhaeuser made to Marshfield Door Systems was the development of DoorBuilder software. This quoting and estimating tool revolutionized the industry by shortening the time it takes to quote large projects, reducing costly mistakes and to help significantly shorten order lead times. Through the innovation that Weyerhaeuser contributed the company showed strong sales growth through the end of the millennium.
In 2000 Weyerhaeuser decided to strategically divest their door division and sold the company to Marshfield Door Systems a newly formed company back by the private equity firm Wind Point Partners.
Wind Point Partners owned the company for 11 years. Over this time Marshfield Door Systems continued to maintain its’ number one position in the commercial door market. As with most private equity Wind Point look to increases the value of the company and sell it when the time was right. In the summer of 2011 Wind Point sold Marshfield Door Systems to Masonite International.
A NEW CHAPTER
Today Marshfield Door Systems along with Mohawk Door form the commercial door division of Masonite International. Masonite is the largest door company in the world. The acquisition of Marshfield Door Systems and Mohawk Door combined makes Masonite the leader in commercial doors in the US. The combined product offering is the biggest in the industry. At Marshfield Door Systems our goal is to be the easiest, fastest, on-time,
correct and complete door company in the world.