Marwood Company History
1919-1960 Marwood company history dates back to when Lyman Martin and Jim Courtenay (our grandfathers) worked for the Mengel Company in Louisville, Kentucky for their entire working lives, eventually becoming President and General Manager, respectively.
The Mengel Company was a large manufacturer and distributor of timber and timber based products. It produced Mahogany and domestic species and operated veneer and lumber mills in Louisville, Ky., Hickman, Ky., and Belize, British Honduras. It formed the Mengel Body Co. in 1922, manufacturing wooden sub-assemblies used in the framing of Ford, Chrysler, Franklin, and Packard automobile bodies. By 1955 the Mengel Co. was the largest manufacturer of hardwood products in the country.
The 56 year old company had 16 manufacturing plants in 8 states, and another on the Gold Coast in West Africa. Products included corrugated boxes, plywood, lumber, veneer, furniture, doors, and kitchen cabinets. The company’s stock was traded on the New York Stock Exchange from 1920 to 1960 when the Container Corporation of America purchased the remaining operations.
Mengel Company Staff in 1920
Jim Courtenay (seated far left) Lyman Martin (seated far right)
1950-1955 Lyman Martin, Jr. (our father) worked for the Kentucky Veneer Works a veneer mill in Louisville, Kentucky
1955 Lyman Martin, Jr. starts Martin Sales Co. representing the Mengel Company, Hill Brothers Veneer Co., a slicing mill in Edingburg Indiana, and Ashby Veneer & Lumber Co., in Jackson, Tennessee. a southern rotary poplar mill. Located on Franklin Street from 1955-1961.
1961 Martin Sales Co. becomes Marwood, Inc. Located at 2101 Standard Avenue from 1961-1970. Indiana Walnut and White Oak are popular with our office furniture and plywood customers. Baldwin Piano Co. is a large customer for poplar veneer.
Lyman, Jim, and their sister Louise searching Redwood Forests for Burls at an early age!
1964 Marwood, Inc. imports veneer from Europe for the first time. German Timber Agent Heinz Busold, becomes part of the Marwood “family”. Teak, Rosewood, Ebony, Satinwood, and other Exotic veneers are introduced to our customers to complement domestic species.
1965-1970 Marwood hosted popular fishing trips to Lake Cumberland for Customers and Suppliers
Sitting: Lyman Martin, Jr.
Squatting Left to Right: Ray Brower, unknown, Dude Cox, Bill “Duke” Kraemer, Pete Armstrong
Standing Left to Right: Bob Lee, unknown, unknown, unknown, Al Bowen, Bud Howland, Elmo Alexander, unknown, Jack Hill, Walt Hoefner, Tommy Newton
1970-1977 Imported Burl veneers from Europe, such as Ash, Elm, and Mappa Burls become popular with furniture producers in North Carolina, such as Thomasville, Drexel, Henredon, and Baker. Garfield Avenue location.
1977-1979 Lyman Martin, III and Jim Martin join the firm. Located at the Louisville Air Park
1980 Jim Martin travels to South America for the first time, working with agent Donald Meguire, who is originally from Louisville. Importing in the beginning just from Brazil, other sources developed over time are in Bolivia, Peru, and Chile.
Jim Martin on the log pile in his coat & tie!
1982 Marwood starts representing Amos-Hill Associates, successor to Hill Brothers Veneer Company. We are on hand at 6:00 am as Richard Wertz and Connie Burton slice their first logs.
1983 Our founder, Lyman Martin, Jr. passes away.
1984 Construction of our 11,000 sq. ft. plant and offices at 2901 Hamburg Pike, in Jeffersonville, Indiana is completed. Steve Smith starts representing Marwood in High Point, North Carolina.
1986 A 76” Lathe is installed for our own Burl Veneer production. Major species produced are American Walnut, Madrone, Redwood, Myrtle and Maple Burls. International buyers start travelling to Marwood for our high quality production, including Rolls Royce, and producers of dashboards for Mercedes Benz, BMW, and other luxury automobiles.
1988 Marwood News begins publication.
1988 Plant addition of 6,000 square feet. Many customers, suppliers, and friends are on hand for the opening. Architectural Veneers are in high demand.
BURL BARONS – Giant Walnut Burl Log puts Marwood in the spotlight in the news in National and International Wood publications.
1988-present International Woodworking Fair, Atlanta, Georgia – Marwood begins exhibiting at the largest industry trade show. Our “Outshine ‘em all!”Complimentary shoeshine service is popular in the early years.
1988-1990 The Woodchoppers Golf Tournament is hosted in Lexington, Ky. sponsored by Marwood, Woodstock, and Formwood.
1991 Marwood becomes a founding member of the Hardwood Forestry Fund (HFF). Jim Martin serves as Chairman of the Hardwood Forestry Fund for the first 11 years. The HFF plants millions of hardwoods on public owned property with Forest Management Plans in 28 states and 4 foreign countries. www.hardwoodforestryfund.org
Marwood starts traveling to and importing from Central America, with its first trip to Guatemala buying Mahogany veneer.
1992 More Marwood News
1998 Our exhibit at the International Woodworking Fair (IWF) attracts visitors and prospective buyers from the U.S. and abroad.
Left to Right: Jim Martin, Lyman Martin, Kris Jackson, Vicki Dodson, and Steve Smith
1999 Marwood launches its website at www.MarwoodVeneer.com
2000-2002 The Woodchoppers Golf Tournament in Lexington, Ky. is sponsored by Marwood, Formwood, Woodstock, and Parrot Williams.
2003 Domestic Sales and Export Sales of Burl Veneer production for automobile dashboards grows as residential furniture production in the U.S. declines.
2007 The financial crisis hits and business slows down.
2008 Marwood starts representation of Clarke Veneers and Plywood of Jackson Mississippi, selling imported stock panel imported veneers for Faces, Backs, and Cores.
2010 We produce Reclaimed “Old Growth” Sinker Cypress veneer and lumber from the Southeast Coast of the United States for the first time.
2011 Visit to African Mahogany Planting Project in Tanzania; partnered with the Hardwood Forestry Fund and the Jane Goodall Institute in 2001. FSC Certified through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
Marwood started selling veneers used in the manufacturing of Skateboards and Longboards.
2013 Started custom producing live edge lumber slabs of figured Walnut, Myrtle, and Maple boards.
Current Team of Hardwood Specialist From Left to Right:
Jim Martin, Jenny Newton, Bobby Cummings, Fred English, Larry Verrick, Ryan Childers, and Lyman Martin