Marvin’s Top Ten Innovations

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August 26, 2015

Marvin’s rich legacy of innovation goes back to the very earliest days of the company. In fact, Marvin got its start in the window business thanks to an innovative suggestion from a Marvin lumber yard employee who suggested making barn window sashes and door frames as a way to keep employees busy during the slow winter months. Longtime Marvin employees tell stories of rigging their own machinery out of truck parts and farm equipment. If nobody made the equipment they needed for a specific task, they’d build it themselves. Innovation is the hallmark of Marvin.

Since then Marvin has consistently been an industry leader in developing innovative new products, as well as innovative ways to better serve customers.

These innovations include:

  • Advertised as “the most versatile window manufactured,” Marvin’s Stack and Strip window, introduced in the 1950s, functioned as a hopper, casement or awning, depending on its application.  Multiple units could be assembled in strips and/or stacks, and it featured an innovative scissors-type lever lock that replaced gears, cranks and operating bars with “the world’s fastest cam action” and created a weather-tight seal.
  • Marvin was the first window manufacturer to introduce Made to Order products (1982), a business model that provided dealers with a new opportunity for profitability since they were not required to invest in inventory.  For the homeowner, Made to Order windows and doors meant products are tailor-made to match their style, size, and options preferences.  

The Made to Order value proposition was supported by Marvin’s innovative delivery system. At a time when all other window manufacturers were delivering windows by rail car, Marvin was the first to amass their own fleet of delivery trucks. This allowed for fast, reliable delivery, mitigated delivery damage, and direct drop to the job site.

  • Round Top windows had traditionally been hand-crafted by small millwork shops.  Around 1980, market demand created the incentive for Marvin to develop manufacturing for round top windows.  A Marvin engineer in R&D with experience in boat building applied his knowledge of building curved, wooden frames to develop effective manufacturing processes for the Round Top window.  The availability of round top windows not only served historic replacement needs, but literally changed the face of modern home design..
  • The EZ Tilt Pac was a Marvin hung window replacement innovation introduced in the early 1980s. Marvin was the first to give customers an easier option when only the sash needed to be replaced. The EZ Tilt Pac eliminated the need for tear out and full frame window replacement.

·       Before Marvin reinvented the Sliding French Door in 1991, the standard market offering was two panels with one operable, mounted in a narrow aluminum frame. Problems included doors jumping in the track, site-related sill problems, and a modern look that didn’t complement every application. Marvin redesigned the sliding door to answer the question “If we were to design the best sliding door available, what would it include?” The result integrated the design aesthetic of a traditional wood French door, ‘top-hung’ engineering and an Ultrex® fiberglass sill for smooth glide.  Marvin even paid attention to the different way men and women grab the handle on a sliding door, and offered an earlobe shaped handle to work easily for both.

 

·       Marvin saw additional opportunities for the Ultrex fiberglass which effectively replaced inefficient aluminum sills on its new Sliding French Doors.  In 1994, Integrity Windows were introduced – a new window product line made exclusively with Ultrex pultruded fiberglass. The patented manufacturing processes created a material of exceptional durability and stability, along with design detail not found in other composite materials. The Integrity Wood-Ultrex series was launched in 1996 and the All Ultrex series was introduced ten years later.

  • Marvin’s Ultimate Double Hung introduced in 1998 was a game-changer in the industry.  The standard hung window had relied on compression vinyl jamb liners. The new Marvin product replaced vinyl jambs with a more aesthetic, non-compression jamb liner, which made tilt-washing easy.  It also targeted higher design pressure performance, since double hung performance had previously been significantly inferior to casement windows. The addition of attractive, traditional hardware upgraded the aesthetic appeal of hung windows.

 

·       Marvin’s Ultimate Casement window, introduced in 2008, redefined the casement window category.  Marvin’s Ultimate Casement included a revolutionary, patented wash mode that rotates the sash 140° to allow cleaning access to both sides of the window from the interior. And the sash opens to a full 90°, allowing for egress at smaller sizes. The same hardware that allows for ease of cleaning is strong enough to meet the commercial hardware load test, even at extremely large sizes like up to 36” x 96” or 40” x 92”. Marvin was first in market to certify products, starting with this one, to the new industry standard CW rating for commercial building. Awning windows to match the profiles and capabilities of the casement were part of this reinvented product introduction.

  • Interior Shades were introduced in 2012.  Seamlessly integrated with Marvin products, the shades match the lines and finish of the window or door interior.  The fabric shades allow no light bleed, and they slide gracefully to open or close without cords or pulleys.
  • Just as Marvin led the industry with its Ultimate Double Hung window, they once again set out to change the game.  In discussions with customers, Marvin realized that there was a need for an evolved, or enhanced, double hung window with larger sizes, performance that pushed anything the market has seen and greater energy efficiency. Thus, the Next Generation Ultimate Double Hung was introduced in 2014. Marvin’s Next Generation Double Hung reinvents the classic hung window with a keeperless hardware system, multi-point automatic locking system, concealed and lockable vent mode, an all-wood interior, and a performance rating of DP 50. All these features in sizes as large as 5’ x 10’.

 

Additional Innovations

  • In 1978, Marvin was the first window manufacturer to have its entire window line certified by the National Woodwork Manufacturers Association, the standard-setting trade association now known as the Window & Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA).
  • Marvin collaborated with 3M in 1996 to produce Switchable Privacy Glass that could be electrically activated to switch from opaque to transparent, offering full-time privacy and on-demand view.   Switchable Privacy Glass was an option ahead of its time; the same kind of functionality can be ordered today from Marvin Signature Services as a custom option. 
  • Marvin was the first window company to offer Low-E (low emissivity) glass on the entire product line, raising the bar for window performance standards in 1985.
  • Around 2010, Marvin’s Ultimate Glider window was completely re-engineered to complement the Ultimate Casement Collection. Innovative hardware made it easy to unlock and operate this sliding window with one hand. The window automatically locks when closed, signaled by both audible and visual lock indicators. Ergonomic considerations made this window a front-runner for universal design applications.
  • Marvin has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to community and employees when times got tough, being the only major window manufacturer to avoid layoffs during the decline in housing starts in the early 1980s and following the financial crisis in 2008.

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