Pacific Mutual Door & Window History – Supplying Kansas City Architectural Millwork for Over 100 years
Kansas City Millwork History at Pacific Mutual Door and Window
Pacific Mutual Door Company was incorporated in Tacoma, Washington on March 7, 1912 as a joint venture of eight different millwork manufacturers to introduce Douglas fir millworks products to the East Coast. PMD operated as a joint venture until1914 when the final partner, Joseph A. Gabel, its manager at the time, became the sole owner.
As the mills geared up to meet the demands that PMD generated, they developed a surplus of “fir veneered glued door panel stock” originally sized for doors. Later they learned to make it in larger 4 x 8 sheets, called Douglas Fir Plywood, and the factories were set up to produce it as a primary product line. Around 1919 PMD helped set up the Olympia Veneer Company in Olympia, Washington and it became the first worker-owned plywood plant and was soon to become the largest manufacturer of Douglas Fir Plywood in the world. PMD was the sole distributor of the plant and in 1922 contracted for another plant in Aberdeen, Washington.
By 1924 the company had branches in Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Chicago, St. Paul, and Kansas City. From these offices, the company had sales representatives who covered the entire United States.
The company prospered until the Depression and so the Indianapolis and Philadelphia branches were liquidated as the company geared back. During World War II, the company became heavily involved in the war effort generally in the use of plywood for crating, ammunition boxes, and prefabricated buildings. After World War II the company continued to sell plywood, but as the method of plywood distribution changed and fully integrated mills began to dominate the industry, PMD gradually transferred it’s emphasis to millwork products.
Between 1946 and 1955 the company retired approximately 95% of its common stock due to deaths and retirement. In 1955 this left S. Ray Lambert as the only remaining shareholder. Mr. Lambert had transferred in 1938 from the Brooklyn, New York operation, where he was Sales Manager, to the Kansas City branch to become Manager. He became President of the company in 1960 and Chairman of the Board in 1970.
In 1967 the company purchased Warren Brothers Sash and Door Company of Nashville, Tennessee. As the Nashville branch prospered, a new plant was built in 1973. This operation is older than PMD itself, dating back to 1858 starting as a glass, paint, and millwork company. It is the second oldest business in Nashville still operating today.
Also purchased in 1967 was the Scott Graff Company of Duluth, Minnesota, Scott Graff Company’s property was sold to the City of Duluth and the funds from the Liquidation were used to open a branch in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1980.
In 1994, the company also purchased Hardman Wholesale in Osborne, Kansas. The Osborne branch operated a two-step business with sales territories in Kansas Nebraska, and Colorado.
The Kansas City branch was destroyed in the flood of 1951 and was rebuilt in 1952 at its present location, Kansas City also serves as headquarters of the company, which was moved from Tacoma, Washington to Kansas City, Missouri in 1956.
Today, the Lambert family still owns the company. Sandy Lambert, Jr. took over for his father as President in 1970, while S. Ray Lambert remained as Chairman. Upon his father’s death in 1986, Sandy Lambert, Jr. became Chairman. Mr. Lambert’s grandsons, Jon Lambert, Ted Lambert, Sandy Lambert III are also involved in the company. Jon Lambert is President, residing in Kansas City. Sandy Lambert, III is Chief Financial Officer and a Vice President, also residing in Kansas City. Ted Lambert is Branch Manager of the Albuquerque operation and a Vice President of the company.