J. Warren Jacobs (1868 – 1947) was a self-taught ornithologist and oologist (one who specializes in the study and collection of bird eggs). Jacobs, a native of Waynesburg in Greene County, Pennsylvania, gained an international reputation as an expert on the construction of birdhouses for purple martins following publication of his Story of a Martin Colony in 1903. The booklet detailed his observations of a purple martin colony he established at his home in Waynesburg beginning in 1896,

Jacobs' birdhouses were multiple-story structures complemented by broad porches, railings, and ornate window treatments. Jacobs traveled to the Chicago World's Fair to display his extensive egg collection and his handmade purple martin houses. Jacobs received so many requests for duplicates of his unusual birdhouses that he established the J. Warren Jacobs Co. as the first commercial manufacturer of purple martin houses in the United States in 1883. Jacobs went on to design even more elaborate houses, including a replica of the state capital building. Jacobs' customers included Henry Ford, William Rockefeller, and Thomas Edison.

In 1920, the company became the J. Warren Jacobs and Sons Company, with E. Bryan Jacobs as his father's principal assistant. Products included houses for purple martins, wrens, chickadees, and other birds, as well as bird feeders and a complex self-raising pole system. Following the death of J. Warren Jacobs in 1947, the company's assets were liquidated and the plans placed in storage.

After nearly half a century, the Jacobs Birdhouse Company once again began to produce birdhouses to the original designs of J. Warren Jacobs. Most of the birdhouses were built to order for Greene County residents familiar with the Jacobs story.

In 1997, George Blystone (Bly), Kent Fonner, and Dan Moore attended several local festivals, setting up exhibits of the original Jacobs houses still in existence, as well as handing out questionnaires to gauge both possible consumer interest in replicas of the original houses, and to get a feel for possible price ranges for the houses. The response to the questionnaires was positive.

In late 1997, Kent and his sister, Ann Blystone, attended a workshop held by the Small Business Development Center of the University of Pittsburgh. There, they obtained information about starting a small family business based upon the old J. Warren Jacobs and Sons Co. birdhouse manufacturing business liquidated in the early 1950's. In 1998 Dan, Kent, Bly, and Ann met with Jeanine Henry of the Small Business Development Center in Greene County. Bly, Kent, and Dan secured a $6,000 personal loan from Community Bank in Waynesburg, PA as start-up money. This loan was used to purchase shop equipment, supplies, and materials for a small business to be called The Jacobs Birdhouse Company. A general partnership was formed between Bly, Kent, and Dan and a business permit was secured from Franklin Township, and the shop was set up in Bly's garage.

The Jacobs Birdhouse Company is a small family business based on Kent and Ann's grandfathers' business. J. Harold Jacobs, as son of J. Warren Jacobs, drew the plans used to build current production houses. Harold was an architect and a partner with his brothers in the business after his father died. Bly and Dan work in the shop as often as they can. Kent does all the legal work for the company, and also advertises in New England (his state of residence). Ann keeps the books and handles advertising for the company, spending about two hours a day five days a week on the paperwork.

Most advertising for The Jacobs Birdhouse Company is done via word-of-mouth, local papers, and one national magazine, The Collector. We have built up many clients with whom we keep in touch with. We have contacted Walt Disney World as a possible client, and have also talked to the Greene County Commissioners about building houses for their parks and trails.

Each year, the company attends many festivals to showcase their products and raise general awareness of their company. These festivals include: The National Pike Festival, Rain Day, The Covered Bridge Festival, and The Harvest Festival.