History of Winco
A FAMILY COMPANY INNOVATING SINCE 1915
In 1869, an 18-year-old architect/builder, Johann Carl Otto Kubatzky, immigrated to the United States from Germany. While assimilating into the American culture, he worked as a builder and developer. He became a licensed Missouri architect and received his first approved U.S. window patent in 1915. It was followed by many patented inventions that led to incorporating the Winco Ventilator Company in 1935.
Winco’s first product was an operating projected window called a ventilator. It was built in-stock sizes and then sold to builders and glazers in St. Louis and surrounding areas. The first of many niche products designed by Winco, these ventilators were designed for homes and commercial applications in the mid-1930s. They were installed into 4” thick glass block walls where fresh air could “ventilate” interior spaces.
Before WWII Otto’s two sons, Theodore and Woodrow, joined their father in the construction and development world while helping the fledgling ventilator company. After the war, they concentrated on growing Winco’s product line and created a nation-wide sales network. When their father retired, Ted and Woody created innovative solutions for commercial applications during the post-war building boom. The first hung/projected window is one example.
Woodrow and his wife Helen became the sole owners of Winco in the mid-’50s. During Woody’s leadership, Winco became a charter member and board member of AAMA, the industry’s trade association. Also begun during his tenure was a strong family of independent sales representation that catered to the specifications of architects for custom operating aluminum windows and curtain wall.
In 1983 upon the passing of both Woody & Helen Kubatzky, their three daughters became owners. One of the daughters, Kory, married Gantt Miller, III. Gantt, like the companies’ founder, is an architect/builder and developer. Gantt ’s management plant facilities have been expanded to meet the needs of growing production into new products including sound, thermal, tornado, hurricane, blast, and FEBR (forced entry and ballistic resistant) products. Gantt also continues to participate in the highest levels at AAMA.
Today the 4th generation of Otto’s family has company participation and ownership in Winco. Together, with a very talented dedicated and loyal staff, the Winco family continues to build a strong team keeping a focus on product innovation, excellence, and customer satisfaction.