Since 1916, Burnes has been one of the most recognized and respected brands in the photo storage and display industry. Over the years, the parent company has been known by a number of different names – and, through mergers and acquisitions, many of the industry’s most prestigious photo frame and album brands have come under the Burnes umbrella – notably Connoisseur, Carr, Decorel, Holson, Intercraft, RareWoods, and Terragrafics. This legacy of quality, craftsmanship, and design innovation and integrity – coupled with keen insight into a marketplace that is in constant flux – have made Burnes of Boston the leading designer, manufacturer, and marketer of photo frames, photo albums, and related products to all channels of trade. In 1916, the Charles D. Burnes Co., a small picture frame company is established in Boston. The company specializes in hand-carved wooden frames marketed under the Charles D. Burnes Co. brand. In 1936 the founder Charles D Burnes dies and his son-in-law, Samuel Gordon joins the company and goes out on the road carrying suitcases full of sample frames to sell. It is a true family operation. Sam's wife, Alice, does the bookkeeping. Years later, their son Charles helps assemble the frames as a high school student in the late 1950s.
In 1967, Charles Gordon, grandson of the company’s founder, joins the Charles D. Burnes Co. after receiving degree in chemical engineering and becomes president. Under his leadership, the company, which by then was known as Burnes of Boston, introduces new innovative products like the first clear acrylic photo cube, which holds six images. And later engineers production of the collage picture frame, which consists of a framed mat with multiple openings. The company doubles in size in one year.
Then in 1979 Hallmark purchases the Charles D. Burnes Co. Charles Gordon continues as president. With Hallmark's financial support, the company – now based just outside of Boston in Norwood, Mass. – improves systems and grows into a medium-sized business.
In the late 1980’s the company is acquired by Bain Capital and due to the market potential for sharing their core competencies they merge Charles D. Burnes Co. and The Holson Company. The new company is known as The Holson Burnes Group, and instantly becomes:
- the largest designer, manufacturer, and distributor of photo albums in the U.S.
- the second largest designer and distributor of photo frames
- the only major U.S. supplier of both photo frames and albums to all major retail distribution channels
The Holson Burnes Group moves to a new corporate headquarters – with both manufacturing and distribution – in North Smithfield, R.I.
Then in 1991, The Holson Burnes Group acquires Terragrafics, a San Francisco-based supplier of high-end picture frames. Known for high quality, cutting-edge fashion frames, Terragrafics increases the strength of Holson Burnes in the middle and upper-middle segments of the industry.
Terragrafics president Steve Pargman becomes heavily involved in the design and product development of all Holson Burnes brands, and holds that position through 1997.
In 1995, The Holson Burnes Group buys three companies:
- Carr, a leading supplier of frames to specialty stores and the oldest brand of photo frames in the U.S.
- RareWoods, a line of authentic wood photo storage and displays products known for high-quality craftsmanship – including high‑end “spline” construction – and fine furniture finishes.
- Heritage Springfield, a Mass.-based manufacturer of photo albums to mass merchants.
Then in 1996 Newell Company acquires The Holson Burnes Group, becoming the world's largest manufacturer of picture frames, framed art, and photo albums. Newell’s division dedicated to photo frames and albums is known as Intercraft Burnes.
And in 2001, Newell Rubbermaid rechristens Intercraft Burnes as Burnes of Boston / Connoisseur Group to reflect its two leading brands, which serve department and specialty stores and mass merchants, respectively.
By 2002, Newell Rubbermaid consolidates its photo frame and album brands into a single company known as Burnes Group. Burnes of Boston and Connoisseur relocate their headquarters from North Smithfield, R.I., and Taylor, Texas, respectively, to a new facility in Austin, Texas.
In 2004, Burnes Group, along with two other Newell Rubbermaid companies, is purchased by Global Home Products, a division of the financial holding company Cerberus Capital Management. And in 2006, Burnes Group introduces Level-Line, a collection of wall frames and ledges with revolutionary patented mounting technology (patent pending) that enables consumers to hang wall décor in minutes – secure, level, and flush to the wall.
In June of 2006, Burnes Group was purchased by Anderson Press, headquartered in Atlanta, GA and changed its name to Burnes Home Accents, LLC.
In May 2012 Burnes of Boston was purchased by the Nielsen Bainbridge Group, a leading international custom framing and preservation company who also owns Pinnacle Frames and Accents. This merger has brought together a family of brands that serves consumers and trade customers worldwide with product ranging from opening price point commodity goods to high end custom framing. The world headquarters of the Nielsen Bainbridge Group is now located in Austin, Texas.