Since 1863 and through four generations of family, Stonehouse Signs has been the cornerstone of the standards for visual communications. A founding member of the National Safety Council and a pioneer for many of the standards that are still in use today, Stonehouse Signs has a rich and amazing history, and continues to be one of the most progressive and innovative companies in the industry.
Chronological timeline of Stonehouse Signs’ Family History
- 1863-1st Generation Family: William Stonehouse opened a sign shop in Chicago and taught his son, James Wesley (known throughout his life as J.W.), the art of painting gold leaf lettering on store front windows.
- 1904-2nd Generation Family: J.W. moved west with the gold mining boom and set up shop in Douglas, Arizona, proudly advertising, “J.W. Stonehouse, Painter of Good Signs, Pictures and Framing.”
- 1910: J.W. moved to the Victor-Cripple Creek region of Colorado. It was here that the accident prevention sign business was born. J.W. saw a need for safety in the mining industry. He created standard bell signal signs to better communicate in the mines, therefore reducing accidents and injuries. He lobbied for the codes to become standard in all mines in Colorado and was ready to sell his silk screen printed signs when the mining bureau enacted the standard.
- 1912: Stonehouse Signs became one of 5 founding member companies of what is now known as the National Safety Council.
- 1913: J.W. moved to Denver. He never lost his concern for safety and standardization. His efforts resulted in the creation of the “Danger”, “Caution”, “Notice”, and “Think” panels that are in widespread use today. J.W.’s designs set the standard for the safety sign industry.
- 1914: Stonehouse Signs exhibited at the first National Safety Council Exhibition and has continuously exhibited since 1924.
- 1914: With the advent of the income tax, J.W. found it beneficial to form a corporation and called it The Stonehouse Steel Sign Company.
- 1926: The official corporate name was changed to Stonehouse Signs, Incorporated.
- 1931: J.W. turned over control of the company to his wife Hutoka Andrus Stonehouse, due to a long and serious illness.
- 1958: J.W. Stonehouse died at the age of 90.
- 1963-3rd Generation Family: After 25 years of service, Gordon Ira Stone, the brother of Hutoka Stonehouse, became company President.
- 1968: Stonehouse Signs, Inc. moved from downtown Denver to its current location in Arvada, Colorado, a suburb of Denver.
- 1970-4th Generation Family: Gordon Ira Stone died and his son Gordon Lee Stone became company president and served in that capacity for 24 years.
- 1972: Stonehouse Signs developed a computer system for automating sign design and stencil cutting. Stonehouse Signs became the first sign manufacturer to use computer aided design, a full decade before their proliferation in the industry.
- 1977: Gordon Lee Stone’s son Jeffry Gordon Stone came to work for the company. Over the years, Jeff has worked in every position at Stonehouse.
- 1984: Stonehouse Signs acquired Rustproof Sign and Metal Company. It was this acquisition that helped Stonehouse enter into the utility sign industry.
- 1987: Gordon Lee Stone’s daughter Rebecca Sue Stone-Roche began working for the company in a sales and marketing position.
- 1994-5th Generation Family: Jeffry Gordon Stone, the son of Gordon Lee Stone, became company President.
- 2003-Present: Jeff and Becky continue to work for the company. Jeff acts as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Operations. Becky manages the Human Resource needs of the company. Jeffrey L. Barhoover currently holds the position of company President.
Want more of Stonehouse Signs' History?
Read Take A Step Into Stonehouse History to learn more about important company milestones, or A tribute to J.W. Stonehouse to learn more about our company founder.