Interesting story on Duracraft

20 posts in this topic

I wasn't sure where to put this. Being this is a Greenleaf forum, I didn't want to drop a Dura-Craft article into the mini chat, but I also rationalized copying it here because of this: with over 4000 members I feel this forum is now a voice for all miniaturists and all dollhouses. We don't want to lose our past in miniatures and I can only hope the moderators agree with me.

Anyway, I can't remember where I picked this up. It's actually a very small (4 pages not including covers) magazine which I think was distributed to wood stores. It's done by Roseburg Woodsman and was sent to Ridgewood Forest Products who knows how many decades ago. I am going to copy the article on Dura-Craft,because it's interesting, especially to those who own Dura-Craft dollhouses. And keep in mind, Dura-Craft was known as R. B. Howell Co. when they first started marketing their houses. The article is as follows:

"Back in the 1970's, Dura-Craft Inc. manufactured a line of wood products that included furniture and mobile home accessories. Then a customer suggested the Newberg, Oregon, firm begin making miniature house kits as well, and everything changed.

Dave Christie, President, and Milo Chapman, Vice President, were skeptical at first. They found it hard to believe that people would be willing to pay upwards of a hundred dollars for what were, after all, only dollhouses. Nevertheless, they gave the idea a try. When 400 of the diminutive dwellings sold in the first quarter of production, the began to recognize the potential of the product.

Today, Dura-Craft's other operations have been sold or phased out, and the Newberg plant produces only miniature mansions, at a rate of more than 100,000 kits a year. Once sold only in regional craft and specialty shops, Dura-Craft kits are now found on the shelves of home improvement centers and discount department stores nationwide. Meanwhile, the company's product line has grown from a single design to nine current models ranging in price from $10 to $300 each.

Dura-Craft's more basic, less expensive models include three constructed principally of die-cut Lauan. But the more elaborate houses that make up more than 70 percent of sales feature such realistic details as tongue-and-groove clapboard siding, bay windows, and hardwood floors made of Oak and Walnut veneer. The siding and some other components are shaped and molded from clear White Pine using custom-modified milling equipment designed in the company's own machine shop.

Because the miniature houses are built in a scale of one inch to one foot, Dura-Craft is able to utilize many short lengths of lumber that full-scale builders would find inconvenient to use. And the quantities are surprising. In 1987, for example, it took three semitrailer trucks to supply enough material for the millions of tiny shingles the company produced.

Who buys these little houses? A significant group is known to the trade as "the grandfather market", but there is a thriving market consisting of serious collectors, many of whom are willing to spend $10,000 or more customizing and furnishing their Lilliputian castles with everything from crystal chandeliers to tiny books printed in minuscule type. Some custom-crafted miniatures carry price tags that actually rival those of full-scale homes.

The houses that Dura-Craft builds may be small, but the world they occupy is full-sized."

I am posting a pic of the cover of this little magazine which features Milo Chapman standing next to the Queen Anne. I am also posting the article itself here so you guys can see the layout, and then an enlargement of each page (ever wonder where all those Brookwoods come from on eBay? Now you know! LOL) And because I know you all are dying to see it up close, I am also posting a single enlargement of that customized San Franciscan. Enjoy.

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post-2875-0-75908400-1374372882_thumb.jp

post-2875-0-17005400-1374372897_thumb.jp

post-2875-0-50063600-1374372915_thumb.jp

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Kelly,Since my current and first build is a Dura-Craft Ashley,this information means alot to me. Even though I absolutely aspire to own a Greenleaf house (or 2 or 3 or 4 or...) some day soon,I really appreciate knowing a little more about the company that my 'first' comes from.Thank you so much!

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Wow, thank you so much for posting this info. Im very interested in the company background, I lived in Newberg for many years as a child and never had an idea that there was a dollhouse manufacturer there....reading this article and seeing the presidents name, Dave Christie...I went to grade school and middle school with a boy named Eric Christie. He must have been a relative since Newberg especially back then was a small town. I think Eric is even on my facebook :)

The other reason I love hearing about the company is because I own and enjoy so many dura crafts :) That modified SF is a KNOCKOUT. Ive never even heard of this kit !!!

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Thanks! I love the history. I built a Columbian (which is the Brookwood) and a Sweetheart and have a Lafayette in the closet in the box :)

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Thank you for the article. Now I want that SF as well. I love the Dura Crafts I'm working on one of the mansion seris now and I have 3 more screaming at me from under my workbench. :D

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I always liked Duracraft kits myself and except for Greenleaf (I want ALL of their kits someday), Duracraft runs close second to Walmer.

And you're welcome, everyone!

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Thanks for posting that article. It is always interesting to find out more about the companies that make the different kits. And I have to jump in line with everyone in wanting that SF. Wow!

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I've recently just found out my daughters dollhouse is a Dura-Craft. I'm trying to restore it and from reading more into the background I'm afraid to change anything about this vintage dollhouse. 

Does anyone have any info on where to locate dollhouse parts from this company? I've tried Ebay but is there anywhere else anyone can think of?? 

 

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Darby, Do some google searches . Some searches will lead you to other sources. Goodwill online for example. Your best bet is to try to find another one and bash it for parts.

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13 minutes ago, Darby said:

I've recently just found out my daughters dollhouse is a Dura-Craft. I'm trying to restore it and from reading more into the background I'm afraid to change anything about this vintage dollhouse. 

Does anyone have any info on where to locate dollhouse parts from this company? I've tried Ebay but is there anywhere else anyone can think of?? 

 

 

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That's what I was thinking but I wasn't sure how common it was to find other Duracraft builders looking for parts. I have found kits on eBay but no single parts. 

Thank you so much for your advice! 

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1 minute ago, Darby said:

That's what I was thinking but I wasn't sure how common it was to find other Duracraft builders looking for parts. I have found kits on eBay but no single parts. 

Thank you so much for your advice! 

Bashing is fun. Google images can sometimes lead to sales pages. Also check Craig's list. Don't be discouraged if you don't find exactly what you are looking for. Someone may not know what they have and a simple search for "wood doolhouse" could bring it up in a search.

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On 7/20/2013, 7:15:19, rodentraiser said:

I wasn't sure where to put this. Being this is a Greenleaf forum, I didn't want to drop a Dura-Craft article into the mini chat, but I also rationalized copying it here because of this: with over 4000 members I feel this forum is now a voice for all miniaturists and all dollhouses. We don't want to lose our past in miniatures and I can only hope the moderators agree with me.

 

Anyway, I can't remember where I picked this up. It's actually a very small (4 pages not including covers) magazine which I think was distributed to wood stores. It's done by Roseburg Woodsman and was sent to Ridgewood Forest Products who knows how many decades ago. I am going to copy the article on Dura-Craft,because it's interesting, especially to those who own Dura-Craft dollhouses. And keep in mind, Dura-Craft was known as R. B. Howell Co. when they first started marketing their houses. The article is as follows:

 

"Back in the 1970's, Dura-Craft Inc. manufactured a line of wood products that included furniture and mobile home accessories. Then a customer suggested the Newberg, Oregon, firm begin making miniature house kits as well, and everything changed.

 

Dave Christie, President, and Milo Chapman, Vice President, were skeptical at first. They found it hard to believe that people would be willing to pay upwards of a hundred dollars for what were, after all, only dollhouses. Nevertheless, they gave the idea a try. When 400 of the diminutive dwellings sold in the first quarter of production, the began to recognize the potential of the product.

 

Today, Dura-Craft's other operations have been sold or phased out, and the Newberg plant produces only miniature mansions, at a rate of more than 100,000 kits a year. Once sold only in regional craft and specialty shops, Dura-Craft kits are now found on the shelves of home improvement centers and discount department stores nationwide. Meanwhile, the company's product line has grown from a single design to nine current models ranging in price from $10 to $300 each.

 

Dura-Craft's more basic, less expensive models include three constructed principally of die-cut Lauan. But the more elaborate houses that make up more than 70 percent of sales feature such realistic details as tongue-and-groove clapboard siding, bay windows, and hardwood floors made of Oak and Walnut veneer. The siding and some other components are shaped and molded from clear White Pine using custom-modified milling equipment designed in the company's own machine shop.

 

Because the miniature houses are built in a scale of one inch to one foot, Dura-Craft is able to utilize many short lengths of lumber that full-scale builders would find inconvenient to use. And the quantities are surprising. In 1987, for example, it took three semitrailer trucks to supply enough material for the millions of tiny shingles the company produced.

 

Who buys these little houses? A significant group is known to the trade as "the grandfather market", but there is a thriving market consisting of serious collectors, many of whom are willing to spend $10,000 or more customizing and furnishing their Lilliputian castles with everything from crystal chandeliers to tiny books printed in minuscule type. Some custom-crafted miniatures carry price tags that actually rival those of full-scale homes.

 

The houses that Dura-Craft builds may be small, but the world they occupy is full-sized."

 

 

 

 

I am posting a pic of the cover of this little magazine which features Milo Chapman standing next to the Queen Anne. I am also posting the article itself here so you guys can see the layout, and then an enlargement of each page (ever wonder where all those Brookwoods come from on eBay? Now you know! LOL) And because I know you all are dying to see it up close, I am also posting a single enlargement of that customized San Franciscan. Enjoy.

post-2875-0-41108200-1374372857_thumb.jp

post-2875-0-49127900-1374372870_thumb.jp

post-2875-0-75908400-1374372882_thumb.jp

post-2875-0-17005400-1374372897_thumb.jp

post-2875-0-50063600-1374372915_thumb.jp

Thanks for the info as my first build is a Duracraft. It's interesting to find out the background of the company! 

-Linfield 

Edited by Linfield
Forgot my name
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Thanks so much, I have a Heritage waiting to be built 

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Posted (edited)

Hello, 

Thanks for th e article, i am a Fan if this Old kits....

I m order a lot if Dura Craft Dollhouse Kits (Form USA to Germany via Ebay)

SF55 San franciscan built  Very great

HR560 Heritage 1 House Build for my Brother Daughter (1 in box)

VH600 Manison (wait in box)

VM800 Manison (wait in box)

Sm700 Southern Manison (wait in box)

Newberg (on way from Usa )

Linfield ( in box)

Quenn Ann ( Moment Ebay Erlanger Customs And in the Next 10 days in Germany) I m verry Happy to find it!!!

M. Hill (half built) at lot work! Big house

Manchester in box -    bought last christmas

Columbian (built and sold, about place....)

Farmhouse FH500

Alpine 

And i Search für other Kits  Dura Craft....

Bye christin

Edited by tana
Mistake

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