Welcome to Whittemore-Durgin!
Do you want to learn how to do stained glass? We're here to help you get started. You see, we know stained glass supplies. We've been selling the stuff since 1965.
Remember the old hardware store, back when you were a kid? Where you knew you could get just about anything -- even if you didn't know exactly what you needed? And remember the folks behind the counter who would help you figure it all out? Well, that's us. Except it's stained glass supplies. Our store is chock full of everything you need to create stained glass works of art -- colored and clear glass, tools, solder, foil, lead, flux, patina, and more -- and our experienced staff will take the time to help you figure it all out.
A brief history of Whittemore-Durgin
By Kathleen Hepburn
Whittemore-Durgin began in 1926 in Quincy, Mass., as a plate glass company. The company also produced stained and leaded glass windows. Irving McClair was the craftsman when my parents bought the company in the late 1950s from Chester Durgin and Ira Whittemore, and Mr. McClair was quite well known for his talent and artistry.
One day in 1965, a student from Massachusetts College of Art requested some pieces of glass for an art project. Dad immediately packaged up some glass from Mr. McClair's scrap glass bucket that had been destined for the trash bin, sold it to the student as "stained glass remnants" -- and the rest, as they say, is history.
Mom and Dad placed a one-inch ad in Yankee Magazine, and enlisted my siblings, my cousins, and several of their friends (and eventually even me, as a small child) to wrap glass in newspaper, coil up lead and solder, add some instructions, and package it all up into shipping boxes. Whittemore-Durgin Stained Glass Supplies was born! More ads were placed, and requests for supplies came in from far and wide. To this day you can see the envelopes on display in our front foyer with stamps from all over the world.
Because these supplies had only been available to professional stained glass craftspeople, the pent-up demand caused Whittemore-Durgin to grow very quickly. The business spilled over into the basement of our house, then to a small building in Hanover. In 1971 we moved to our current 13,000 square foot location in Rockland.
Since that fateful day in 1965, hundreds of thousands of stained glass hobbyists, from the beginner to the master craftsman, have bought their stained glass and supplies from Whittemore-Durgin, many of them returning year after year. Nearly every day we get a phone call, e-mail, or visit in our store in Rockland from someone who says, "I got my start back in the 70's with Whittemore-Durgin," or, "I used to buy stained glass from you 30 years ago. I'm so glad to know you're still here!"
With such a history, and a large inventory, you might think we're a huge company but we're not, really. If you call us, you'll most likely talk to Nancy, who's been with us for 30-something years; or Theresa, our newest employee. Your order will be carefully packed by Kathrene. Roger cuts the glass and does stained glass repair and custom work in our studio. Dick and John teach classes. The owners, Kevin and Kathy -- that's them, on the right -- often answer the phone, and (once in a blue moon) might cut glass or pack orders when things get really busy or someone is out sick. And Mr. Early A. Consternation, Manager of Externals, still responds to your kind letters from time to time.
Our store in Rockland hasn't changed much since 1971. It's much like an old-fashioned hardware store, where you ask the person at the front counter for an obscure item -- a style of glass, or a certain tool, or a pattern or book -- and more often than not, we have it. We hope you'll drop by if you're ever in the neighborhood and say, "Hello" -- and take a step back in time.
Thanks for reading, and...
Thank you for your business!