Rural Business Photo Stories

W.F. Norman Manufacturing

W.F. Norman Manufacturing

The offices at W.F. Norman Manufacturing in rural Nevada, Missouri, look the same as they did when the tin ceiling maker started. It’s a turn-of-the-19th century picture of roll top desks, fireplaces, double-glazed windows, and heavy oak furniture. Much of the manufacturing space at W.F. Norman is also the same. Antique rope drop hammers, metal stamping dies, and power systems driven by belts and pullies are in operation just as they were 125 years ago.

You cannot say, however, that W.F. Norman Manufacturing the company stayed the same. It reinvented itself many times after the Great Depression and World War II marked the end of the original tin ceiling era. It survived those challenges and kept going strong. It thrives again today as a tin ceiling maker with orders worldwide.

Original molds, and a 1909 catalog showcasing them, were among the assets that the Quitno family, which bought the company in 1978, believed would find a major modern market for W.F. Norman Manufacturing.

W.F. Norman sets itself apart now with the most authentic products on the market. Unlike modern hydraulic-stamped options, the company’s original 19th century equipment provides an incomparable level of detail control. With its archival know-how and capacity, W.F. Norman is also the go-to business for those with restoration projects, helping historic buildings look and feel like they once did.

“Over a period of 125 years the jobs that we have provided product for span the globe. We’ve had our doors open continuously since 1898 through over a century worth of global economies, said Sue Vicory, co-owner and vice president. “We are like a working museum.”

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