What started as one man pioneering humidifiers to combat the dry air found inside homes is now Skuttle Indoor Air Quality Products, one of the few national producers of humidifiers, air cleaners and make-up air controls for wholesale residential application.
After the company's namesake handed over the reigns to Milton Powers in 1935, the company remained under the Powers name, where the 17-person business nestled in Marietta is currently in the hands of Davis Powers, Milton's grandson.
Through economic ups and downs and ever-changing market demands, Skuttle has remained standing as one of the area's manufacturing plants, putting out high-quality indoor air products that both leadership and employees take pride in every day.
Assembly line leader Thomas Nelson, left, works on packaging products alongside Skuttle Indoor Air Quality Products CEO Davis Powers inside the Marietta-based plant.
A 20th century aerial view shows Skuttle Indoor Air Quality Products at its location on Margaret Street in Marietta.
"In 1997 I came here when I was 24 years old. I had a wonderful opportunity to continue the business, but then it was just 'give it a shot, see what you think,'" Davis Powers said. "I had only been to Ohio a few times, but when I arrived I loved it."
Powers, who grew up in southern California, started on production lines and eventually worked his way up through management.
"I work with wonderful people and I love the environment," he said. "It's family-oriented, ethical, and a very inexpensive to live. It just made sense."
1917-John L. Skuttle began to pioneer plumbed, central-system humidification for residential applications.
1917-Skuttle Manufacturing Company's first product was an automatic fill valve to monitor water flow into coal furnace humidifiers.
1935-Skuttle Manufacturing was purchased by Milton Powers, chief engineer of Timken Furnace Company.
1950s-Skuttle Manufacturing moves operations from Detroit to Milford, Mich.
1977-Skuttle moves its operations to Marietta.
Mid-1990s-Skuttle Manufacturing becomes Skuttle Indoor Air Quality Products.
1997-Davis Powers takes over as CEO.
As Powers' grandfather prepared the company's transition to Marietta, he also purchased Hadley Products, a location that is now Spagna's in Harmar, before eventually moving the entire company to its current location on Margaret Street.
Though at the time the company was about half the size, Skuttle's main products are still air filters and humidifiers, just as they were in the 1950s.
Skuttle manufactures products in-house and then sells to large dealers, who then sell to retailers who come to install the systems inside homes.
"Now, people are more concerned with the air in the home and people spend a lot of time in their home, so they want it to be as comfortable as possible," Powers said. "Winter is good for business. People crank up the heat, the warm air expands and makes it dry, so they need humidifiers."
Powers said besides the community, he loves that all 17 employees have been here as long or longer than he has.
"I can leave and not have to worry about everything," he said. "Everyone has been here so long, they know what they're doing."
One such worker is Thomas Nelson, who lives in Marietta and started with the company 17 years ago, about the same time that Powers came in.
As a line leader, Nelson can be found doing things like facilitating the packaging that goes out in boxes, from each tiny piece to the instruction manual.
"In 1997 we started making stuff for Honeywell, and we were hiring people left and right, because we were so busy," he said. "Once Honeywell disappeared, we lost that business."
Nelson said without an advertising budget, combined with most of the company's loyal clients retiring, it can be hard to remain visible.
"Davis has increased our Internet presence 100 percent, and he's updated the infrastructure," he said. "It's probably what saved us."
Nelson expressed gratitude for his job, as after having a heart attack and being in his 40s, he was afraid no one would hire him. After becoming a temp at Skuttle, he has been around ever since.
"I'll be here as long as I can, and I'm glad that despite everything business is looking up," he said.
"In it for the long haul" seems to be the theme of many of Skuttle's employees.
"This is more of a family here, where you feel appreciated in a good work environment," said engineering manager Jeff Fogle. "You would have to drag me kicking and screaming to get me to leave."
What used to be an industry of about 25 companies making indoor air quality products in the country has now been reduced to what Powers thinks is about four or five.
"It's quality, making good product and treating customers the best way we can. That's what keeps us going," he said. "We have our niche, we have our piece of the pie, and we work hard to keep it that way."