Time line history of the Frank Morrow Company, creator of U-Paint Metal Crafts:
1913 COMPANY FOUNDER: Frank Morrow began his metalworking career, at age 12, kicking a foot press at a North Attleboro (Massachusetts) jewelry company. A 60+ hour work week. “We got off early at 3:00 p.m. on Saturdays.”
1916 At age 15, his good work recognized, Frank begins work as an apprentice tool maker and roll maker.
1917 – 1927 Frank moves from company to company in a quest to learn new forms of tool making and its challenges. “I could never sit in one place and make the same type of tooling over and over. I wanted to learn!”
1928 COMPANY GESTATION: Frank sets up machinery in a rented two car garage and is making decorative brass channel for women’s purses, at night after his day job. Forced to stop after neighbors complained of rumbling noises far into the night from the machinery.
1929 COMPANY BIRTH: Decision to incorporate as a legitimate company in February. Sets up machinery on the bottom floor of a rented space on lower Eddy Street in the then Providence, Rhode Island “Jewelry District.” Six employees to start. Initial equipment: two drop presses, several power presses and foot presses, a rolling mill, and tool room equipment.
1929 – 1938 Rapid development of a line of decorative perforated metals and patterns pressed into metal using sets of pattern rolls. Also a line of larger jewelry findings. Most sales are to lighting and furniture manufacturers.
1938 The 1938 New England Hurricane (also referred to as the Great New England Hurricane and Long Island Express) was one of the deadliest and most destructive tropical cyclones to impact New England. Hurricane floods downtown Providence reaching 10 feet deep at the company. Submerged banding necessitated wiping the ocean salt from miles of finished brass coils. The coils were unrolled on a grass path in the woods in Johnston, Rhode Island, cleaned by hand, and then re-rolled.
Search now underway immediately to purchase “a building on a hill.”
1939 A building with 10,000 square feet of space purchased on Baker Street from the H. Leach Machinery Co. Frank now added plating, polishing, and lacquering facilities.
1941 – 1945 During the war years, brass and copper production went all to the war effort. Half of the company’s production was shifted to making torpedo bearings, “the ones that worked,” plus special stamped items for the war effort.
The other half of the company was employed making sterling silver jewelry thanks to a substantial silver allotment of this non-essential metal.
1946 – 1965 A steady creation of new lines of decorative metal components and fabrications. The company became the major U.S. source for metal trimmings for leather goods manufacturers. Another line was decorative banding for the major chandelier and ceiling fan manufacturers, and channeling for photo frame manufacturers. Business was steady and prosperous.
1965 Frank Morrow’s death at age 64.
Son Robert becomes President; moving from his non-profit foundation in New York to Providence.
1967 – 1997 First of four building expansions to reach 60,000 square feet of space. Heavy expansion into materials for lamp and lighting manufactures. A major supplier to the silverware industry of casserole holders, carafe holders, decorative metal ice buckets, etc. Also became the top supplier of decorative metal wastebaskets, kleenex tissue holders, jewelry boxes, mirror frames, etc. for the bath boutique manufacturers.
1995 – 2010 The company organized the first “Suppliers Trade Show” of all the U.S. component manufacturers for the lighting industry (glass, stampings, castings, turning, chain, formed plastics, etc.) starting with regional shows in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, etc. and at major trade shows at High Point, Dallas, Chicago, New York, Atlanta, and Las Vegas. Independently, the company also exhibited at other major international trade shows in Frankfurt, Hannover, and Dusseldorf, Germany.
1996 Son Gregg, leaves his job as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer to join the company as President. Robert remains as Chairman.
2002 Downward effect started to be felt as lighting, silverware, and bath boutique manufacturers began moving their production overseas, primarily to China.
2003 – 2010 The company invests in a wide variety of new tooling, especially new wide mouldings for home decor and larger sized motif stamping designs in an attempt to stimulate new demand. These efforts kept the company on an even keel.
2011 – 2016 Company started to show red ink as many U.S. manufacturers who use our metal components have turned to “contract” manufacturers for special projects such as for a casino, hotel, restaurant, etc. No longer producing product lines, carrying inventories, or able to compete in selling to department or big box chain stores.
2017 – Today After eleven months of effort, an all-new Crafts division is ready for marketing featuring three unique lines for the Craft Industry and individual DIY crafters. Visible at our U-Paint Metal Crafts website. Coming next, an original jewelry line called “Big, Bold, and Beautiful” and a mouldings line for home decor, featuring moulding designs in copper, stainless steel, and aluminum.