House of Miniatures Info

Authentic Reproductions in Miniature

History of the House of Miniatures Brand

DISCLAIMER: This information is being gathered from various indirect sources and may be incorrect or incomplete in some details. If you can shed any light any the subject please e-mail colin@maineminiatures.com

The Start: 1976 - 1981

1969 - National Handcraft Institute, Inc. (mail order handcraft kits) acquired by CBS, Inc. See an example of their offerings.

1971 - X-Acto, Inc. was purchased by CBS, Inc. and based in Long Island City, NY.

1976 - House of Miniatures line appeared with X-Acto emblem, born out of the National Handcraft lines. Both X-Acto and HoM were located on Van Dam Street in Long Island City, NY, now the site of Middle College High School. The kit of the month club was administered out of Terre Haute, IN. By 1977 there were 35 kits, plus other items in the line up and a full line catalog was produced.

1981 - X-Acto and HoM sold, National Handcraft Institute dissolved.

Hunt Mfg. Co.: 1981 - 1986

In March 1981, Hunt Mfg. Co. paid $13.9 million for two properties previously owned by CBS Inc., the X-Acto company, which made hobby knives, and the House of Miniatures company, which sold dollhouse miniatures through the mails. Both remained in Long Island City, New York. The Hunt Mfg. Co. notice went on the boxes in place of CBS. In 1983, HoM introduced their Coronation Series of artisan furniture pieces as high-end collectibles. View a PDF of Complete Collection Catalog from 1983 here.

In April 1985, Hunt moved its X-Acto operations to its Statesville, North Carolina manufacturing facility. X-Acto/HoM address changed to 2000 Craftmark Center and the Hunt Mfg. Co. was still listed on the package. The catalog department was listed as being in Bergenfield, NJ, which is also where club inquiries were directed. Sometime in 1985 the Craftmark name went on the advertisements, but the NJ address was the same. This was the peak of the brand, listing over 175 different products in the full line.

In addition to the kits, HoM catalogs offered many other miniatures, including a line of silver serving dishes from Colonial Williamsburg. They also sold finished furniture items made from the kits, display shelves, glass globe display stands, etc.

By the end of 1985, after a spurt of acquisitions, Hunt´s revenues had surpassed $100 million for the first time. The following year (1986), Hunt trimmed back its operations somewhat, selling off two divisions, including the costly House of Miniatures mail-order operation.

Craftmark: 1986 - 1993

When HoM was sold, the Craftmark name went on the HoM packaging as it moved to Delaware, Ohio. I am guessing that the buyers formed a new company using the Craftmark name. They changed the X-Acto HoM logo by exchanging the word Craftmark and removing the gold seal effect. No other company info is listed on the boxes, so the new company must have been independent. X-Acto is still in Statesville.

Craftmark added a line of HoM dishes made from poured pewter and dropped many of the second party items. The offerings expanded little in the Craftmark years and sales declined as the popularity of the hobby faded.

Houseworks: 1994 - 1999

Houseworks Ltd. (manufacturer/wholesaler of miniatures since 1975) bought HoM in (around) 1994 and produced a new catalog and added the Signature Series of precision furniture kits. The Federal and Victorian designs came from the same designers as the earlier HoM products. There was a separate club for collectors of the new series and both clubs were still administered out of Delaware, Ohio.

The House of Miniatures name was used on a line of H.O. scale houses. The Houseworks name was on the packages (seal) and the collectors club was administered by HBS out of Atlanta. Ads appeared in most mini magazines in 1995 and the houses were very detailed kits. At the time, both the miniatures hobby and the model train hobby were waning in the wake of the electronic toy revolution.

Hobby Builders Supply: 1999 - present

The final address and phone number that HoM had is now that of Hobby Builders Supply. Houseworks and HoM blossomed into HBS and HoM faded away into the dusty shelves. HBS became the repository of the final inventory. When I looked in December of 2008 I see that they have ten different kit designs still in stock, a total of 8882 kits! And all are on clearance at 40% off of the 1994 prices.


Visit Steve Harvey Miniatures to see HoM furniture on display in lovely roomboxes.