Masco Cabinetry History Review

Welcome to the final phase of the Masco Cabinetry New Hire Orientation program. 

At this point, you've completed a good deal of both classroom and on the job training during your orientation.  And now, we're going to test the knowledge you've acquired.

This section will review the information pertaining the founders of our organization.

Good Luck!



The Histories of Merillat and Masco Cabinetry

Meet The Merillats!

A True Adventure

The story of Orville and Ruth Merillat is a genuine adventure. It is the story of a boy who ran away from home to find excitement out West. It is the story of a young sailor who came ashore with General Douglas MacArthur in Philippines. It is the story of a talented carpenter who saw his dream grow into the largest, most successful company in his industry.  During World War II, Orville Merillat enlists in the Coast Guard as a carpenter. He sends $150 from each paycheck to his wife Ruth and keeps $1. This money, along with the sale of Ruth's 1938 Chevrolet, was used to start Merillat Woodworking in 1946.

From Humble Beginnings

Today, the small business that Orville and Ruth Merillat founded in 1946 in Adrian, Michigan in a 40’ x 60’ shop is owned by Masco Corporation. However, in the 1990’s Merillat Industries was the largest cabinet-making company in America – more than 50 % beyond their nearest competitor in sales. Their unique designs, patented components, and vertical integration made Merillat the undisputed king of cabinets.

The Merillat Legacy

In 1985, Orville and Ruth sold the company they founded due to his serious health issues. The acquisition was by Masco Corporation. When Orville Merillat, a deeply religious man, sold his cabinetmaking firm to Masco in 1985, Masco gladly obliged his one personal request: that there be no wine racks sold under the Merillat name.

Nevertheless, the Merillat’s only son Richard, was the company president and served as chairman of the board until he retired. 

During World War II, founder Orville Merillat enlisted in the United States Coast Guard as a?

  • Carpenter
  • Tank Driver
  • Cook
  • Mechanic

Orville and Ruth Merillat launched their company Merillat Woodworking in what year?

  • 1946
  • 1901
  • 1985
  • 1922

Fact or Fiction?

  • At one time, Merillat Industries had more than 50% beyond their nearest competitor in sales!

In 1985 Merillat Industries was sold to?

  • Kraft Maid
  • Masco Corporation
  • Behr Paint
  • The Detroit Pistons

Masco's Founder

Another Adventure

Masco’s founder, Alex Manoogian was born in Smyrna, Turkey in 1901 as the son of a wealthy Armenian grain wholesaler. He grew up in a family that was strict about education and enterprise. In school, Alex learned and mastered five languages.  He was always curious about the rest of the world and was described as driven.

At the age of 19, he came to the United States to escape the genocide in Turkey. He arrived at Ellis Island with only two suitcases and $50 in cash.  Additionally, he possessed a formal education for that time.

Success Begins

Arriving in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1920, Manoogian began working as a machinist. In time he was joined by his parents, his two brothers and his two sisters. 

Manoogian and his family moved to Detroit, Michigan in 1924, because of the booming auto industry.

After gaining more experience, in 1929 he founded the Masco Screw Company, later known as Masco Corporation. By 1936, in the midst of the Great Depression, Manoogian had expanded Masco to the point that it was listed on the NYSE.

The 4th Letter Of The Greek Alphabet

In 1954 he patented and brought to market the first successful washerless ball valve faucet, the Delta faucet - named for the faucet cam shaped like the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. Because it was so odd looking, Alex Manoogian had to at first give it away to plumbers.  Eventually it caught on, and indeed is still very popular today.  The Delta faucet, which allowed one-handed use, became of the best selling  plumbing fixture and generated substantial profits. In 1995 Alex’s company had $3 billion in sales and had 38 % of the domestic market for faucets.

Masco Corporation founder Alex Manoogian immigrated to the United States in 1920 from what country ?

  • Bulgaria
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • Turkey

Coming To America

When Alex Manoogian arrived at Ellis Island in New York, he only had two suitcases and $  in cash.

Mr. Manoogian launched Masco Screw Company in what year?

  • 1929
  • 1901
  • 1985
  • 1946

Fill In The Blank

In 1995, Alex's company had  and   percent of the domestic market for faucets.