In the summer of 1902 Luther O. Draper decided to go into the window shade business. Mr. Draper’s business philosophy was simple—to make a quality product and sell it at a reasonable price. Mr. Draper saw the problem of the sun’s heat and glare in schools—the largest buildings in most communities at that time. He addressed that problem by making and selling spring-roller window shades in Spiceland, Indiana, 40 miles east of Indianapolis.
In 1918 Mr. Draper was joined by his son-in-law Elmer Pidgeon. Mr. Draper later became a prominent state politician and Elmer Pidgeon assumed management of the company in 1938.
The window shade business grew through two world wars and a depression, and the Luther O. Draper Shade Co. became known as a good employer and a strong supporter of local youth and charitable organizations. In 1957, Luther Pidgeon, grandson of the founder, invented a new and uniquely durable classroom projection screen. With time, projection screens grew to be a complete product line, and were augmented by related audio-visual products such as projector and flatscreen lifts.
The FlexShade Systems line of commercial window shades debuted in 1989, and in 1994 Draper entered the gym equipment market. These expansions were overseen by the fourth generation of family ownership. Today the company is a true global citizen, with customers throughout the United States and over 100 foreign countries.
Draper’s 500 employees, still led by Luther Draper’s descendants, operate with the same business philosophy: build a quality product, and sell it at a reasonable price. Over the years, Draper has become known as a consistently responsible corporate citizen. Employees and management today continue to build on that tradition.