The photo above was made in 1960 of Ralph Lopez, foreman of the new Curtis Mathes Plant in Puerto Rico, he is telling Carmen Zapata how to operate a stamping machine at the new Curtis Mathes Plant just built in Puerto Rico.
Here is a note from David S. Reed….
Just saw your website....Thank You for such a historic creation about a great Company and family.......many families were supported for many years by this Company...there was a plant in Puerto Rico and later in St. Kitts....
Burke Mathes would know all that history as well as Bill McCullough V.P./GM St. Kitts....I had the opportunity of working for CM from 74' to 84'..under Jr, Burke and Bill...my daughter is a lawyer today because of the opportunity allowing her to start school under the British system in St. Kitts.....few people know some historic facts that CM Sr. was the FIRST to put a radio and phonograph in a cabinet. Hence the "stereo console" was born. I have some St. Kitts material if you want it. Curtis and Burke were so dedicated......they would not fly first class unless the sales figures justified it that month ! Burke's kids had to get him out of the office to go to church on SUNDAY morning !!!!
PAUL SOUTHWELL HAILED AS THE ARCHITECT OF TOURISM AND ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION IN ST. KITTS AND NEVIS
Southwell is also credited with the vision of putting the infrastructure in place and the financing and development of the Pond’s and Sandy Point Industrial Estates, which saw the establishment of Curtis Mathes, which assembled black and white and color television sets; the Caribbean Shoe Manufacturers, Calypso Garments and electronic assembly plants.
Here is a wonderful note from Bill Meacham of Puerto Rico:
"A bit of trivia...I lived on the island of Nevis (part of the Federation of St. Kitts-Nevis) in the Caribbean during 1987-88. Nevis was quite primitive back in those days and only had a population of about 11,000.Basically un-skilled folks. There was a factory still in operation that 'made coils'. A local fellow told me, with a certain amount of pride, that they used to make coils for Curtis-Mathes televisions. I don't know if there's any truth to that but the rumour must have started somewhere! How would he have even known the name of C-M? The company was Coil Craft and I once met the manager of the then current factory but he was a young local guy that did not know anything of its past. I have seen the factory and even back then it was an old relic. I doubt they still exist. I think they also had a factory on the island of St. Kitts in the same timeframe. Anyway, given your interest in C-M I thought you might find this interesting. I grew up in a small town in Eastern NC and we had a local C-M dealer. He was also the local guy for Philco/Ford TVs in those days (70s). He was, how shall we say, not the most reliable dealer to work with :) I started working for the cable tv in town in 1973 and encountered many older C-M tv sets, particularly in upper class homes. They were really quite the scourge for us cable guys - mostly because these older/upper people had bought them 10-15 years earlier and expected them to live forever! Thanks for your saving and compiling the memories of C-M."
Thank you Bill this was very fascinating information. Yes I do believe the man was telling the truth. The Mathes family loved to invest in the Caribbean area! Thank you for the awesome information! Curtis Mathes Corporation, was the only family-owned company of its kind, manufacturing high fidelity entertainment systems and black-and-white and color television distributed throughout the United States. The firm had factories in Athens, Dallas, Houston, and in Benton, Arkansas, Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Toa Alta, Puerto Rico, and St. Kitts, BWI. His name became well-known in home entertainment systems throughout the western U.S. Curtis Mathes Sr. was s resident of Arlington for almost thirty years, he was active in charitable projects in the Metroplex area. He was a member of the Methodist Church and on May 1918 married Gladys Speer. They had two sons and a daughter, who became executives of the Curtis Mathes Corporation. Mathes retired to Escazú, Costa Rica, in 1975 and died there on February 22, 1977. He and his wife are buried in the Cementerio de Escazú.