This year, Smith Bros. is very happy to be celebrating our 98th year in business. The world of hardwood flooring has gone through many incredible changes, so here are just a few of the developments to our craft that stand out for us as we look back.
A Changing World
Many global factors have contributed to ups and downs in the industry throughout the past 98 years. For centuries, hardwood was a luxury item available to only the wealthiest households, but industrialization and the economic boom following the First World War saw more widespread installation. The Great Depression, however, would bring the industry to a standstill until World War Two. Wartime brought an increase in hardwood manufacturing that would accelerate with a postwar housing boom. Difficult competition with widespread cheap carpeting installation and the early 1980s recession saw difficult times for hardwood in the mid-late 20th century. The economic recovery that followed, as well as improvements in materials and approaches to the craft, helped to make hardwood the accessible, versatile, and flourishing industry that it is today.
Tools and Materials
By the beginning of the ‘20s, new industrial milling techniques had diversified the manufacturing process to produce some of the plank types familiar to us now. Levelling and sanding, however, was still carefully and painstakingly done by hand using scraper blades. This made for a highly time-consuming process until the invention of the electric sander in the mid ‘20s. During this period, floors were coated with shellac and then waxed, quite different from polyurethane and the variety of eco-friendly coatings we see today. Since the mid ‘40s, and especially following the ‘80s, the evolution of engineered hardwood, prefinished planks, new adhesives, and other innovations have made for an overwhelming variety and flexibility available to homeowners.
Even as technology, materials, and standard practices have changed in countless ways, some things have stayed the same. From its humble beginnings to its 98th year in business, Smith Bros. has never wavered in its philosophy of honesty and hard work. A long legacy of quality craftsmanship and integrity has made our family-run company stand the tests of time, and we’re eager to continue serving our community for years to come!
For almost a century, the Smith name has been one of the most trusted in Calgary. Get in touch with us today at (403) 917-0847 to find out how we can provide you with the beautiful flooring you need!