The American Frame Story



It’s a story that began in the 1960s when Ron Mickel opened a corner hardware store in south Toledo. Along with the usual moth balls and mouse traps, Ron offered custom framing services.

As you know, the right frame can bring so much to a painting, print, watercolor, collage or photograph, so customers quickly noticed how Ron’s eye for design and his beautiful craftsmanship were enhancing their work.

Ron had such a way with art and framing, in fact, that he opened Northwest Ohio’s first dedicated showcase of modern art, The Ron Mickel Gallery.

Then, nearly a decade later, Ron started a revolution.
Founder with daughters
Three Elements

In the early 1970s, a company called Nielsen® created a modern, inexpensive aluminum frame that could be custom-cut like solid wood and sold in pairs like stretcher bars. Ron saw the potential to use this new type of frame to serve customers outside the Toledo area easily and economically.

Since he always wanted to be in the mail order business, he started marketing the metal frames by placing an ad in American Artist magazine and - frankly - forgot about it.

Then, someone from the post office called and asked, “Mr. Mickel, will you please pick up your mail?” Ron’s P.O. box was filled with orders. And his new business was born.

That was 1973. He named his company ASF Sales (Aluminum Section Frame).

For the first time, people could order custom picture frame mouldings in the sizes they needed by mail, and easily assemble their own frames. It was the perfect DIY solution.
That gave artists and hobbyists more control over the final presentation of their work, and it made their art more attractive to the public without the need to invest in expensive custom frames.

The new aluminum picture frames made an indelible impression on artists throughout the country, and represented a whole new phase for Ron Mickel’s business and family.

Once the orders started rolling in by mail, Ron committed to picture framing full-time with his family's support. By 1983, we became American Frame, and moved to our current facility in Maumee, Ohio. By 1991, Ron’s daughters, Laura and Dana, had joined the company and remain as second-generation leaders, making American Frame a 100% women owned manufacturer, as certified by the WBENC.

The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) is the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in the U.S. and a leading advocate for women business owners and entrepreneurs.

 

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Today, we offer a convenient online tool for selecting frames and mats. We provide framing lessons. We photograph and print art for re-sale and display using high-quality, resin-coated photo papers, cotton rag fine art papers and canvas, picture frame accessories and tools. Our decades of experience help you make the right framing choices for your art.

It was Ron Mickel’s talent for business and framing that gave birth to American Frame. It’s been nearly 50 years’ worth of time that Ron and his daughters have committed to building and continually innovating with this family-owned business.

And it’s our entire company’s passion for art and artists that keeps our focus on helping painters and photographers present, protect and preserve their work.

Take a look around our website and you’ll see what we value. It’s not only frames and supplies; it’s what those things allow you and other artists to do. Capturing and creating beauty, emotion, ideas, moments: they’re some of the best reasons we know of to get out of bed each morning.

Your art is personal. It’s an expression of what you find worthy of interpreting and sharing. And you have a unique relationship with the work you create. At American Frame, we honor, encourage and celebrate that relationship. Every day.

That’s our difference. That’s our art.