Sunday, January 23, 2011

Innovative Design

In the early 1980’s the president of Stanfield Shutter Company, Gary Stillman, could not have imagined the impact a family vacation to Nauvoo, IL would have on his life, his company, and the entire shutter industry.

Nauvoo is full of charming little specialty shops in which individuals instruct tourists about life in the 1800’s. Each shop is dedicated to a different task. There’s one for brick-making, another for printing on an old printing press, and still another for metal and ironwork. As Gary watched the many craftsman demonstrate how our ancestors lived and worked he was impressed with the innovation and dedication they possessed.
In one particular shop a man demonstrated how our ancestors built wagon wheels. The craftsman showed the visitors how the wooden spokes were connected to the center hub and secured to the circular perimeter of the wheel to keep the wheel round. As Gary watched he had the idea to incorporate the "spoke" concept into a new shutter design to accommodate the new arch shaped windows that were just becoming popular.

Upon returning to Utah Gary enlisted Stanfield Shutter’s finest engineer and designer, Grant Petersen, to help him develop the moveable louvered sunburst arch. They incorporated the spoke concept by joining the louvers to the shutter frame hub. In doing this they engineered the louvers to rotate open and closed. Over time the team made improvements and eventually added a tilt rod to the circle and ½ circle arches so all the louvers could be adjusted at once. Today every sunburst arch design in the world traces its heritage back to the innovation Gary and Grant had more than 20 years ago.