At Andersen, ingenuity, innovation and commitment have long been hallmarks of our history. Since 1903, Andersen has continually demonstrated:
- Commitment to the building industry and our customers
- Innovation that resulted in low maintenance products and environmentally-responsible processes
- Commitment to energy efficiency
- Commitment to creating high performance products
Andersen has always worked to be a leader in the window and doors industry, and continues to find improvements while developing new products to best serve its customers.
The story begins in Hudson, Wis., with Hans Jacob Andersen, a Danish immigrant who spent nearly 30 years working in the lumber industry in the United States prior to establishing Andersen.
Soon after arriving in Hudson with his wife, Sarah, and his three children, Andersen came across a challenging situation. Millions of board feet of logs were stranded on the Wisconsin side of the St. Croix River. These logs had to get to the nearest railroad depot in Afton, Minn., but the owners dared not transport it across the unsafe ice. Andersen took that dare, purchased the lumber, and after careful study, rigged a temporary bridge with the longest timbers and skidded the lumber across before spring melted away the opportunity. He went on to manage a sawmill and retail lumberyard, and seven years later, opened the Andersen Frame Company in partnership with his wife and children in 1903.
In 1903, window frames were built as needed by local carpenters, lumberyards and millwork shops. There were no standardized sizes, and air and moisture leaks were common, as was the resulting rot and damage. When Andersen and his family established his company, he set standard sizes, allowing him to mass produce the windows, and create interchangeable parts. The windows offered builders consistent, accurate construction at a low cost, and now, a carpenter could assemble and install a window frame in 10 minutes.
Today, Andersen continues to help set standards for the industry. We are currently working to develop environmental product labeling standards for our product category. These labels will benefit our customers by reporting the life cycle of materials and increase transparency.
Two years into its history, Andersen unveiled its first major innovation, the two-bundle method of designing and shipping window frames. Made up of 11 pairs of horizontal frame parts and 11 pairs of vertical frame parts, Andersen dealers could combine the pairs to create any Andersen window frame without any additional cutting or trimming. This allowed the dealer to stock, demonstrate and deliver any window quickly to a customer.
In September 1928, the idea for the Master Frame, a window frame that used the new virtually leak-proof Locked Sill Joint, was born after Andersen received a friendly bit of advice from a fellow train passenger to increase the slope of the window sill. After launching in 1930, the window became one of our best selling products.
Around 1935, Andersen began shipping its windows pre-assembled, reinventing the company’s product and transforming the way it produced and marketed its products. By bringing assembly in-house, Andersen was able to save installation time for builders, and also better control quality.
In 1940, Andersen launched the first-ever sliding window. The Horizontal Glider ran on tracks, with one window sliding behind the other, and offered a modern look that quickly became popular in the South. Windows could also be larger than the crank-style casement or awning windows, because the open window remained flush with the wall, eliminating need for concern about wind pressure breaking the window.
In 1962, Andersen pioneered dual-pane insulating glass, which eliminated the need for storm windows.
In 1966, Andersen develops its first clad-wood window by formulating the Perma-Shield®
system, a tough vinyl exterior for wood windows. Perma-Shield cladding was the first time a wood window had been successfully clad with a tough, form-fitting PVC exterior. This development extends the life of Andersen windows, because it doesn’t need paint and is easy to care for.
In 1991, Andersen developed its innovative environmentally sustainable Fibrex®
material, a wood and vinyl composite. This product reuses wood by-products from the manufacturing process and creates a strong, renewable core material for its windows and doors. Fibrex material is twice as strong as vinyl, retains its stability, rigidity and weathertight seal in all climates, and blocks thermal transfer nearly 700 times better than aluminum.
View the full Andersen History Timeline.