In the early 1900’s the continued success and growth of The Larkin Company resulted in the need for an administration building which Frank Lloyd Wright designed. The Larkin Administration Building accommodated the 1800 corresponding secretaries, clerks and executives. The Larkins needed a clean and comfortable building in order to attract first-rate employees (mainly women) to an otherwise industrial section of the city.
By 1910 the company was receiving nearly ten thousand letters of request per day and could hardly keep pace with orders. Larkin’s innovations extended to his treatment of his valued employees. The long list of employee amenities included daily exercise, savings accounts, educational services, men’s and women’s clubs and even free coffee. A dental clinic, doctor’s oÿce and public library branch were all on-site. An early air conditioning system provided fresh air and Larkin installed a $90,000 pipe organ for the enjoyment of his employees.
The Larkin Company became one of the world’s first and largest mail order retailers and the company’s, motto “Factory to Family” introduced new and innovative ways of marketing.
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