I ran into a nice German lady a couple years back who was stoked to find out my last name was Muth. Excitedly, she burst out, “You know what your name means right?! It means ‘you’ve got balls!’” A little embarrassed, she clarified, “Uh, I mean, like you have courage.” After some nervous chuckling we briefly talked about what I knew about my German roots, how she came to America and other people she knew with the last name Muth.
A big believer in the meaning of names (hey I’ve got to have something to hold on to when the entrepreneurial waters get rough) I thought, “Huh, maybe that’s why I seem to be wired to start things.”
Curious, I searched for a bunch of other “Muths” to see if they had balls, er, I mean the courage to be entrepreneurial too. What I found:
Muth Mirror Systems
Founded in 1947 by Kenneth W. Muth, Muth Mirror Systems holds several (I counted 21) patents. Since 1992 it appears the company specializes in “mirror signaling technology” which, from what I gather, aims at making the roads safer. Prior to 1992, the company was involved in several ventures ranging from battery accessories, dental bibs, Barbie Doll houses, basketball backboards and several other wood-based products. The company currently employs over 80 people and remains family owned. Looks like the Muth, entrepreneurial courage runs deep here.
Muth Family Farm
Muth Family Farm is a farm in South Carolina that, according to their website, “has gained recognition as one of the leading regional farmers in areas of sustainable agriculture, soil development, community supported agriculture and organic farming.” Started by Bob Muth over 13 years ago, the farm has a 16 week harvest season, is a big believer in Community Supported Agriculture, and has some pretty tasty recipies posted on their site. As with Muth Mirrors, the Muth Family Farm displays some chutzpah as well, namely, in leaving a solid job to start farming.
Muth Roofing Company
Muth Roofing Company is a residential and commercial roofer in Columbus, OH. According to their website, they are certified as a MasterElite Roofing Contractor and have won the Super Service Award from local Angie’s List members 13 years in a row. They also appear to be actively involved with their local community through local charity involvement and the “Roofs for Troops” program. (A random side-note, their founder Chad Muth, smiles just like my Uncle Barry.)
Muth Electric, Inc.
For over 40 years, Muth Electric has been serving customers in Nebraska and South Dakota. Formed in 1970 by Dick and Darlene (same name as my mom) Muth they now employ over 300 people and have over $60 million in annual sales. They have worked on a wide variety of projects and appear to be able to handle almost any type of electrical work. If I lived in Nebraska or South Dakota (or if they ever open an office in Tampa) I’d definitely give them a call if I needed an electrician.
John Muth was not an entrepreneur, but rather an economist (one of my other favorite topics!). According to Wikipedia, he is known as “the father of the rational expectations revolution in economics”. He is best known for proposing the Rational Expectations theory to predict economic behavior and although it appears this was a very important idea, he received little recognition for the idea as Jürg Niehans said in his book A History of Economic Theory, “Muth’s role in the history of economics is unusual. Like Hermann Heinrich Gossen, he became famous for one idea, he provided the analytical key to developments that, in the jargon of scientific journalism, were described as revolutionary, and he was virtually ignored by his immediate contemporaries.”
I think the oldest entry in the list, Muth’s Candy has been around since 1921. I wasn’t able to find much information about their history (I think they recently updated their site to have a heavy e-commerce focus) but their Bourbon Balls look amazing and Saveur says “Louisvillians continue to beat a path to Muth’s door for 90 years now – the candy is that good”. Only 877 miles from Tampa…hmmm, roadtrip @hannahmuth?
I don’t know a ton about Robert Muth, other than he appears to be a programming genius (worked at Google since 2005) and has more degrees and knows more programming languages than most web design firms I know. He also appears to have developed an extensive library of translation apps on Google Play (I’m assuming it’s the same Robert Muth). Mad props to this guy!
A singer/songwriter in Seattle/Austin who focuses on folk/country genre. You can buy one of her albums or read reviews of her music. At the time of this posting her site says she is planning an East Coast tour so hopefully she makes a stop in Central Florida. Score one for the creative/design/artist card in the Muth DNA! (I’m also stoked that one of her albums in on rdio!)
Don Muth aka Donald W. Muth aka My Grandpa
My grandpa passed away nearly 6 years ago and I still miss him. He rocked. He was a talented artist who spent time as an art director in Portland and an illustrator for medical and religious books at Pacific Union College, before “retiring” to focus specifically on individual paintings. In the early 90s, I remember he was commissioned by the Phoenix Suns to paint portraits of Kevin Johnson and Cotton Fitzsimmons. He taught me drawing and layout lessons as far back as I can remember, was obsessed with the golden mean and got me first “Internet connected” computer back in 1994, insisting it would BE the future. I treasure his work that we are fortunate enough to have in our home. You can read a pretty good bio of him here or here.
Producer of the patented FARR Plunger is designed for use with rod pumps in oil and gas wells. Admittedly, I know nothing about oil and gas wells, but the name is cool and the technology sounds very useful and this video demonstrating the the pump is intense.
Muth Lumber Company
In business since 1958, Muth Lumber Company supplies the best in Appalachian hardwoods for shipments around the world. They have three generations of experience in the hardwood lumber industry, over fifty employees, over 1 million of kiln drying space and roughly 850,000′ of pre-drying capacity and with over 4 million ft. of dry shed storage.
Keith is an accomplished designer specializing in UX/UI design and according to his website Keith is, “passionate about user experience design, front-end development, problem solving and knowledge sharing both online and in the classroom.” He has worked with non-profits, start-ups, agencies, and large corporations to improve their web presence.
Muth & Sons Plumbing, Inc
5th generation plumbers with over 56 years in business. They are fellow Floridians and operate 4 “supertrucks“, 52 weeks a year.
Founded in 1961, Muth Associates specializes in packaging goods and supplies. Their mission is to “provide a cost-effective way to protect and ship their customers’ products.” They are located in Springfield, MA and specialize in Industrial, Medical and Military packaging.
Gernon, Muth & Associates
Gernon, Muth & Associates is a full-service Pension, Investment, and Employee Benefits firm that has been serving the Maryland area since 1972. Their firms philosophy (which I love!) is to “Ignore the Crowd”.
RS Muth Custom Guitars
Each Muth guitar is hand crafted and according to Randy’s site, “is custom built to suit your tonal preferences and playing style, while still possessing my signature sound. All of his guitars “have a focused sound with excellent clarity and separation. The bass is rich and well defined, the trebles are clear and sweet, and very importantly, the midrange is nuanced and complex.”
Roger De Muth
A very talented illustrator and designer who appears to have experience in printed and product design. You can watch an interview with him here.
Bud Muth is an award-winning photographer based in Hawaii (jealous!) and although you can’t find out much about him personally on his site, you can view his extensive portfolio of photos.
Similar to Bud Muth’s website, I cannot find out that much about Ken personally, but also similar to Bud Muth’s site, you can view an extensive portfolio of his work, which is very good. The discipline of story boarding has always fascinated me and it’s great to see the process done so well on his site.
A couple of takeaways
Longevity. I’m amazed at how long many of these Muth-named businesses have been around. Definitely a good legacy to live up to and a worthy goal to pursue.
Creativity and uniqueness. Candy, music, custom guitars, patented products, story boards. All very creative.
I know this might sound silly, but…though I know all these Muths are distantly related at best, I still feel some sense of entrepreneurial/creative bond with them. It is cool to find others who share your name who also have succeeded in building businesses or perfecting their craft.
Keep up the good work everyone! You have done the Muth name proud and given all of us something to aim for with our respective ventures.
Are you a Muth? Do you have a business? Did I leave you out? Hit me up on Twitter or leave a comment below and we can expand the list accordingly. Thanks!
*By “complete” I mean 38 pages worth of Google search results.