A history of protecting Tulsans

Southern Safe Rooms has been around longer than you think

You know them best as Southern Safe Rooms, but what you probably don’t realize is that this company goes back further than statehood.

In 1904, founder J.W. Tidwell established Southern Cornice Works, which primarily supplied the flourishing oil industry with its sheet metal needs, such as tanks built specifically for water. The company then began to supply ducts for the growing field of forced-air heating. But what really set the company apart was a patent developed for a revolving ventilator, a forerunner to the ventilators many homes have today.

And while you may have never heard of Southern Sheet Metal, you’ve most likely experienced their handiwork at such places as Woodland Hills Mall, Tulsa Promenade, St. John Medical Center, Saint Francis Hospital, American Airlines, Conoco and more.

But, it was a Joplin, Missouri, tornado in 2011 that inspired what they’re most well-known for – Southern Safe Rooms. That horrific storm motivated them to design and build storm shelters using the company’s expertise in metal working. With the assistance of outside engineering consultants, the company designed affordable and well-built storm shelters. The final product was debris-tested at Texas Tech University’s Wind Science and Engineering Research Center using 2x4’s flying at 100 mph. Since that time, Southern Safe Rooms is a leader in providing safe rooms for residential and commercial use.

Not all safe rooms are created equal. Southern Safe Rooms uses rounded corners, 3/16 inch thick metal for walls, floor and roof and doors that open inward so they aren’t blocked by storm debris. Removable hinges on the inside also give it an extra layer of safety. While there are prefabricated rooms ready to install, they can design anything to meet individualized or commercial needs.

But what is the key to owning a successful business starting its 117th year? David Tidwell, who is the fourth generation heading the company says, “An integral part of our success and longevity are our employees, many of whom have been here at least 25 years and have been instrumental in sustaining the company.”

While the company has reinvented itself to meet the needs of Tulsans and local businesses, one thing that has remained the same is its commitment to keeping Tulsans safe while maintaining the utmost quality and construction ingenuity. For more information, visit or call them at 918.584.3371.

Businesses Featured in this Article

Related Businesses

The Scobis Company

Doors + Windows

The Scobis Company

Chesterfield, MO

The Scobis Company is the custom wood door specialist in St. Louis, MO. The quality in our craftsmanship combined with the...

Gladstone Furnace & AC Co


Gladstone Furnace & AC Co

Gladstone, MO

In a world where most things are temporary and throwaway, a successful business founded in 1948 is a rarity. That’s why...

See More

Related Articles

See More