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MATHES, GEORGE CURTIS (1902–1977). George Curtis Mathes, early electronics distributor and manufacturer, pioneer of home air conditioning, son of Lela Mai (Burke) and William Carey Mathesqv, was born at Plainview on October 26, 1902. One of eleven children, his brothers included Burke William and William Carey, Jr.qqv He was a graduate of Plainview High School, 1918, and studied architecture at the University of Texas. He established an early distributorship for Philco radio products in Amarillo, the Mathes Company, and moved to Fort Worth prior to World War II. Following the war this company became Mathes Coolers, manufacturer of fans, evaporative coolers, and room air conditioners, the first popular line of these products offered in Texas, and later in the western United States. He also manufactured furniture by contract and high-quality cabinetry for his own products. In 1957 he established the Curtis Mathes Corporation, 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. A 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.

W. Michael Mathes


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

W. Michael Mathes, "MATHES, GEORGE CURTIS," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 30, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.