Bosley Mouldings is in the family mold
Glen Burnie company founded in early 1900s continues to raise its profile
Wooden samples and steel knives rest at Bosley Mouldings in Glen Burnie. (Karl Merton Ferron, Baltimore Sun / October 5, 2011)
Back in 2008, I embarked on a do-it-mostly-myself kitchen renovation that included adding architectural millwork around the door and window frames. Easy enough, except that I wanted to match the existing original millwork installed in 1918. They didn't have anything even close at Lowes or Home Depot.
Faced with what I thought was no other inexpensive option, I purchased raw lumber and then cut, chiseled, planed, and sanded the lumber to match. It took me countless hours — and plenty of wood filler and caulk — to get it right.
Wright, the third-generation owner of Bosley Mouldings in Glen Burnie, could have saved me all of that time and it would have only set me back a couple hundred dollars.
Established in 1913 by Wright's grandfather, the company is one of Maryland's oldest family-owned and operated businesses.
Milton W. Bosley, the company's founder, started his career at George Esselman & Co., a Baltimore manufacturer of picture-frame mouldings. In 1912, Bosley approached his boss about starting his own business.
With Esselman's blessing and his father's diamond ring, which he pawned to cover startup costs, the Milton W. Bosley Company was born. Bosley's first check to purchase a rail car of lumber was written on Nov. 9, 1913.
"That same day and year," says Wright, "my father, and Milton's future son-in-law, Fred Wright was born."
Like any company that is able to sustain itself for a hundred years, the Bosley Mouldings story is one of change, adaptation and innovation. The company's earliest specialty was unfinished picture frame mouldings, which were sold to framing companies that would finish the material, typically with gold leaf.
By the late 1960s the company had developed "finished" frame mouldings made from hardwoods, metals, and laminates, and by the 1980s, product offerings had grown to include architectural mouldings.
"At that time," says Wright, who joined the family business in 1969, "there were lots of imports in picture frame business, and we started to focus on architectural mouldings — this was the beginning of Bosley becoming one of the premier U.S. molding manufacturers," he says.
Through the years, such expansion to meet market demands has defined Bosley Mouldings, and garnered the company 17 patents.
"One my grandfather got for wire molding when the country was changing from gas to electric and another is our Max joining system that allows people to put mitered picture frames together without nails," says Wright. "We even have a current patent pending for Bosley Bulkhead, which eliminates the need for drywall buildouts when retrofitting for something like a fire suppression [sprinkler] system."
Today, Bosley Mouldings' product offerings extend far beyond picture frames and crown molding.
"We manufacture or distribute everything from baseboards that match flooring, thresholds and transitions, serving and buffet tables for the hospitality industry, plinths, rosettes, finials, cabinetry, and doors," says Wright.
Bosley Mouldings generally offers a wider range of custom designs, known as profiles, than the competition. Key to this ability is its collection of cutters — the blades used to mill the various molding designs. "We have cutters for more than 4,000 profiles," says Wright, "and offer 350 finishes, and over 600 embossing patterns."
The company also has a machine that makes cutters, so if clients don't find something that works from among the thousands of options, Bosley can still help.
"We can custom make, match or design any profile, pattern and finish you desire," says Wright.
Unlike most custom molding manufacturers, Bosley doesn't have a minimum order size. A recent order to replicate a handrail for the U.S. Naval Academy required only 8 feet.