L to R: George Swinton, Tim Ray, and Richard Williams with a 50 year-old easel (a bit grubby, but still in use).

Company Story

In the early 50’s Professors Richard Williams and George Swinton, of the University of Manitoba School of Art, recognized a real need for an easel that was sturdy, durable and inexpensive. The easels and tables also needed to be easily stacked and stored.

In the development stage, more innovative ideas came up; a wide tripod base, vertical and slanted capability, a quick and efficient clamping system to accommodate standard stretcher bars.

Then came the demand from many other colleges and universities, and that's where Tim Ray entered the picture. With his help, the easels are now being manufactured in Barnesville, Minnesota and being sold nationwide.

Some improvements such as new finishing techniques and casting parts have been incorporated, but the product is virtually the same now as when it was introduced almost a half century ago.

Founder and Company President Timothy Ray (BFA, University of Manitoba; MFA, University of Arkansas) utilizes his 26 years of experience teaching painting and drawing , in our quest for the perfect easel. After 15 years of development and refinement, we like to think we've discovered it.

So, the Barnesville Easel Company continues the founding design philosophy of make it strong, simple and functional!