Magnetite windows were invented by an energy physicist named Ken Foster in the 1970’s. He was commissioned and funded by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to find a way to insulate the windows in high rise buildings from the inside. From the beginning, he knew that using acrylic was going to be part of the solution, but had tried many fastening systems before one night he woke from a dream and went to his kitchen for a snack. It was that moment when it occurred to him that his refrigerator door had a magnetic gasket and there was no cold air coming through the seal. The next day he was hard at work and after a few failed prototypes, he came up with the patented design we still use today, nearly 40 years later.
During the “energy crisis” of the late 70’s and 80’s most dealers sold this to residential customers as an alternative to expensive replacement windows. Its high performance and low cost made it a logical choice for many customers. By the mid 80’s, Jim Roland, a homebuilder from Baton Rouge, had become the national distributor and helped Magnetite become a well-known national brand, sold by many dealers and sold in Sears store from Seattle to Florida. In the early 1990’s, two brothers from Australia took the concept internationally.
In 2012, Buddy Roussel a longtime employee of Magnetite Corporation, developed an improved version of the time-tested product and called it SoundTITE. Roussel bought the Magnetite business from Jim Roland and has continued to support dealers while selling the product to homeowners and commercial clients, specializing in the housing and hospitality industries. You may have seen him on the Travel Channel’s series Hotel Impossible and a regular guest contractor solving noise issues with hotels.
The past and the future are exciting for this window solution. Dr. Foster would be proud to see what his “midnight snack” idea has become. The fact that his design has endured all these years is remarkable. There are literally millions of square feet of Magnetite windows installed and countless dollars saved by consumers. We are glad to been a part in making his dream come true.