Before the invention of light bulbs, telephones, and automobiles, there was A.W. Hastings. Founded in Boston’s North End in 1846 by Jerome Boles and Moses Getchell as housewrights, a somewhat archaic term which means wooden home builders, the company evolved quickly. It began selling lumber and, by 1848, the company had shifted to making sashes and blinds, a precursor to the window and door distribution company which we still are more than a century-and-a-half later.
Late in the 1840s, a teenaged stepbrother of Jerome Boles, Albert W. Hastings, began working for Jerome and Moses. By 1856, Albert had replaced Moses Getchell as Jerome’s partner, and all but taken over the business. The stepbrothers’ partnership ended in just a few years, and by 1859 Albert W. Hastings was the sole owner of the company which he renamed A.W. Hastings & Co.
It was as the newly-minted A.W. Hastings & Co. that the company quickly grew, flourishing during the Boston building boom that was catalyzed by a population explosion in the 1860s and ‘70s. Additional employees were hired and more space was found for the growing operation.
Albert embraced the technological advances made as the Industrial Revolution began late in the 19th century, purchasing equipment that allowed the company to produce more intricate windows. These windows, particularly those with an arched top – what we now call Palladian windows – became a status symbol for Boston’s well-to-do residents and fostered the company’s continued pattern of solid growth.
When Albert W. passed away in 1909, his son, Albert B. Hastings, who had grown up working in the business, took the helm with his own sons at his side. The new generation continued to run the business with a steady hand, all the while embracing continuously evolving technology that, in part, has allowed the company to continue to thrive into the 21st century.
As Albert B. Hastings grew older, he began to consider the future of A.W. Hastings & Co. His surviving children, both daughters, showed no interest in the business. A stepson of Albert B., Cedric Potter, introduced him to his own son, Ivan Kenneth Hoyt, who was a successful banker at the time.
Albert B. and young Mr. Hoyt developed a friendship and professional respect for each other. When Albert B. mentioned to Hoyt that he wanted his company to go on forever, Hoyt took him seriously and began visiting and investigating the business, which was beginning to suffer from a lack of leadership due to Albert B.’s declining health.
When Albert B. passed away in 1942, ownership of the company passed to his daughters, with Hoyt continuing to run it alongside an executive he had hired, Jack Haley, who served as president.
A.W. Hastings & Co. struggled to survive through World War II, but managed to make it through intact. Just after the war, Hoyt and Haley began to finalize plans to purchase the company from Albert B.’s daughters. Haley passed away before the sale was completed and, in 1946, Ivan Hoyt became the company’s new owner.
The company rebounded beautifully during the post-war building boom. Ivan Hoyt married, and he and his wife had two sons, “Dusty” and “Jody.” Dusty and Jody eventually took the reins and moved A.W. Hastings into the future.
If you would like to learn more about Hastings’ rich legacy, we invite you to read the pages below, from the book A.W. Hastings – An Illustrated History. Written by Marian Calabro, this book covers the history of our company from its founding right up until the last decade.