In 1888 Arthur C. Wade, an attorney, and Alexis Crane, a druggist, took the leadership in organizing the Art Metal Construction Company. FIG. It benefitted from being new, from not having to address the politics of established work relationships.8, It is easy to overstate Boston’s place in the world during the early decades of its growth. Vickers explores the ways in which even the first generation of seafaring families developed a complex economy in Young Men and the Sea, 41–60. 10. Peabody Essex Museum; Museum purchase, 1998 (137863). Throughout the late nineteenth century, as agriculture became more mechanized, people moved to the cities, expanding the industrial work force and creating a larger urban consumer market. For more intricate work, however, companies relied on skilled adult woodworkers. Southwestern New York was rich in white pine, hemlock and such valuable northern hardwoods as maple, oak, beech, birch, chestnut, walnut, sycamore and cherry. An Index to Area Resources on the Web. 10. Although the Wright Metal Corporation failed in 1934, its place was taken by the successful Jamestown Steel Partition Company, organized in 1940. William Maddox, founder of the Maddox Table Company, invented a variety of furniture making machines, which he sold to manufacturers throughout the United States. C. A. Ahlstrom founded his piano factory in 1875 and in 1881 the Norquist brothers launched their first furniture business. One of the first manufacturers in Jamestown to experiment with new advertising techniques was William Maddox. Adams’s shop inventory is partly analyzed in Forman, American Seating Furniture, 51. In Whitehill, Fairbanks, and Jobe, Boston Furniture of the Eighteenth Century, see esp. “Newest Fashion” Case Furniture in Boston, 1690–1725: A Transatlantic View, 3. … Not many people wanted to live near the ropewalks, restraining nearby real estate prices.7. It was too far from the main lines of transportation, and its industrial growth began too late for it to compete with cities like Pittsburgh and Buffalo. They point to the tightly knit kinship networks, the city’s poor record of support for immigrants, and wartime hardships to explain furnituremakers’ inability or unwillingness to keep up with published fashions. ; “15 new Chaires at 2s. As competition from other regions diminished profits and political storms loomed, they and other New England furnituremakers diversified. First, there was a change in the origins of Swedish immigrants. The number of companies that went out of business during the two or three years preceding the depression indicates that many firms, especially the smaller ones, were finding it difficult to compete successfully in a post-war economy characterized by larger firms and greater mechanization. Seasholes discusses the development of Long Wharf in Gaining Ground, 29–31. are now being exported from thence to the other plantations, which, if not prevented, may be of ill-consequence to the trade and manufactures of this kingdom.”13, Gooch’s grumbling echoed what inventories from the Upper South and Middle Atlantic already showed: many common leather chairs, whether of the low-back stool variety (see fig. The F. Simmons Company and the H. W. Watson Company of Jamestown, for example, had originally made farm tools, but later produced furniture instead. In 1870, the Jamestown Cane Seat Company employed from 30 to 40 girls and boys, paying them $.10 per seat. In 1870 Olaf and August Linblad and P. J. Berquist began making custom-made furniture. The central districts traded higher rents for greater visibility; the periphery offered lower costs and a chance to interdict trade from the north, south, and west.29. While stage coaches were adequate for passenger transportation, they were not sufficient for the movement of raw materials or manufactured goods. “Tortoiseshell & Gold”: Robert Davis and the Art of Japanning in Eighteenth-Century Boston, 5. The manufacturers were able to import wood, pigments, oils and resins by rail, however, these were often expensive items produced in foreign countries. By 1920, the city had twenty furniture factories, and by 1930, there were fifty. Davis Furniture Company absorbed the F. M. Curtis Company and then merged with the Randolph Furniture Works, which had previously taken over the Eckman and Himebaugh furniture companies. The Swedes made up 40 percent of 193 business leaders born after 1850 and nearly half of these Swedish business leaders were furniture makers. 31, 1831. Mahogany, birch, white pine; h 30, w open 78, d 42. Connoisseurs may rightly wonder why the city failed to embrace more quickly the implications of the rococo in the eighteenth century. The comparison is instructive. The recovery of the mid 1930’s was followed by the recession of 1936 – 1939 during which Berkey Chair Company, and the Munson, Marvel and Dykeman furniture companies failed. New England artisans founded the village’s first woolen mill and cabinet making shop. FIG. Consumers could still go to their neighborhood joiner or cabinetmaker and buy something handmade from local materials at a variety of price points. Thereafter, residents filled shallow waters and subdivided city lots, increasing population density.4, Given the city’s trade connections, local merchants and residents were well aware of what was happening elsewhere, whether in Kingston, Bristol, or London. In 1870, the Jamestown Cane Seat Company spent $17,000 modernizing its plant while the F. Simmons Company converted from making farm tools to making furniture. Boston Furnituremakers and the New Social Media, 1830–1860, 19. has removed his business to his new factory, directly back of his old shops, where he intends carrying on the chair business, in all its various branches—He has now on hand a large assortment of fancy Chairs, gilt and plain, very elegant; settees for spaces, d[itt]o; Winsor Chairs; common do. John J. McCusker and Kenneth Morgan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), 1–35. Of 425 prominent citizens the city listed in John P. Down’s History of Chautauqua County, one-third were of Swedish birth or parentage. Consequently, most farming in antebellum Chautauqua County was on a subsistence basis, while village industry consisted mainly of small artisan shops serving the needs of local farmers. A little about Abel's Ohio Windsor 18th century Windsor chair, and Windsor furniture creations. William Wayne had a cabinetmaking shop in Philadelphia during the late 18th century… The Jamestown Metal Desk Company underwent reorganization in 1935, emerging as the Jamestown Metal Corporation. 4). Ships—even the small ones typically produced by New Englanders—require a complex array of subassemblies made up of different materials fabricated by people with varied skills, from shipwrights, caulkers, and riggers to turners, mastmakers, and sailmakers. Several firms, including the A.C. Norquist, Atlas, Advance and Level furniture companies were founded by immigrant Swedish woodworkers. 31. Also, by the end of the Civil War, businessmen in Jamestown had accumulated enough capital from lumber milling to invest in new and expanded industries. The most important reason for the failure of so many furniture companies, however, was the lack of capital to modernize. Highly skilled emigré carvers helped elevate Philadelphia furniture and architectural woodwork to new heights, and the work of London cabinetmaker Thomas Chippendale (1718-79), who in 1754 published The Gentleman and Cabinet Maker’s Director, influenced many designs. About Wm. This gave the village a rail link with New York City and Pittsburgh. Some merchant contractors grew wealthy from provisioning troops, but many of the town’s young men died from combat or disease. The Atlas Furniture Company was founded in 1883 by Swedish immigrant workers with $1,400 capital. Early Pianomaking in Boston, 1790–1830, 18. Forman covers the basic elements of the seventeenth-century woodworking trades from tools to techniques in American Seating Furniture, 39–62. Walter Muir Whitehill, Boston: A Topographical History (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1968), 1–21; Nancy Seasholes, Gaining Ground: A History of Landmaking in Boston (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2004), 21–152; Darrett B. Rutman, Winthrop’s Boston: Portrait of a Puritan Town, 1630–1649 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press for the Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1965), 23–40; Daniel Vickers with Vince Walsh, Young Men and the Sea: Yankee Seafarers in the Age of Sail (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005), 7–24. If we see furniture as the product of a craft community and not just as objects of artistic merit abstracted from their production and domestic contexts, we surface the constant struggle to make a living amid changing circumstances. The creeks did not, however, provide a unified system of transportation. In 1872, for example, $5,000 was raised by subscription to get the Union Boulder Pail Factory to locate in Jamestown, and in 1874 William Broadhead got a $15,000 subsidy to help build his first worsted mill. Unlike the prerevolutionary era, when many of Boston’s furnituremakers chose locations near the docks that linked them to the export market, the nineteenth-century domestic market emphasized visibility, integrated services, and consumer access. Our Windsor chair business is very small, but full of a lot of heart. Boston’s furniture craftsmen began a regional economy that exerted an extraregional effect in an agriculturally limited environment. Several turners and chairmakers were located south of King Street near Fort Hill. Making a living in the furniture trades in this economy was difficult. They were aware of stylistic trends around the Atlantic World, but they made furniture that was dependent on profitable markets, not just fashionable design. By 1920 there were 15,025 people of Swedish birth or parentage in Jamestown, making the Swedes the city’s largest ethnic group. The area soon became known as Piousville, because so many of the factory owners were church deacons. That burgeoning population, including many poor immigrants, was well served by factories, cheap furniture warehouses, auction houses, and secondhand shops. British weavers were very significant in the growth of the worsted mills in Jamestown, and the Art Metal Construction Company imported skilled German metal workers from Milwaukee. A good starting point is Benno M. Forman, American Seating Furniture, 1630–1730: An Interpretive Catalogue (New York: W. W. Norton, 1988); for the eighteenth century, see Walter Muir Whitehill, Jonathan L. Fairbanks, and Brock Jobe, eds., Boston Furniture of the Eighteenth Century: A Conference Held by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 11 and 12 May 1972, Publications of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, vol. Adamson, “Politics of the Caned Chair,” 174–206; Forman, American Seating Furniture, 229–79. Winterthur Museum; Museum purchase (1978.0106). Specializing in custom handmade reproduction Queen Anne, Chippendale, Sheraton, and Hepplewhite traditional furniture … Nonetheless, the cycle of boom and bust initiated one of Boston’s most influential periods of innovation and change.27, Change was messy. Tablecloths masked the cheaper birch top but revealed the mahogany legs. See also the fine series of articles published in the Chipstone Foundation’s annual serial edited by Luke Beckerdite, American Furniture: David H. Conradsen, “The Stock-in-Trade of John Hancock and Company” (1993): 38–54; Alan Miller, “Roman Gusto in New England: An Eighteenth-Century Boston Furniture Designer and His Shop” (1993): 160–200; Robert Mussey and Anne Rogers Haley, “John Cogswell and Boston Bombé Furniture: Thirty-Five Years of Revolution in Politics and Design” (1994): 73–105; Peter Follansbee and John D. Alexander, “Seventeenth-Century Joinery from Braintree, Massachusetts: The Savell Shop Tradition” (1996): 81–104; Roger Gonzales and Daniel Putman Brown Jr., “Boston and New York Leather Chairs: A Reappraisal” (1996): 175–193; Leigh Keno, Joan Barzilay Freund, and Alan Miller, “The Very Pink of the Mode: Boston Georgian Chairs, Their Export and Their Influence” (1996): 267–306; Joan Barzilay Freund and Leigh Keno, “The Making and Marketing of Boston Seating Furniture in the Late Baroque Style” (1998): 1–40; Glenn Adamson, “The Politics of the Caned Chair” (2002): 174–206; Robert Trent and Michael Podmaniczky, “An Early Cupboard Fragment from the Harvard College Joinery Tradition” (2002): 228–42; Glenn Adamson, “Mannerism in Early American Furniture: Connoisseurship, Intention and Theatricality” (2005): 23–62; Ethan Lasser, “Reading Japanned Furniture” (2007): 169–90; Philip D. Zimmerman, “The ‘Boston Chairs’ of Mid-Eighteenth-Century Philadelphia” (2009): 140–58; Robert Mussey Jr. and Christopher Shelton, “John Penniman and the Ornamental Painting Tradition in Federal-Era Boston” (2010): 2–27; Robert F. Trent, Erik Gronning, and Alan Anderson, “The Gaines Attributions and Baroque Seating in Northeastern New England” (2010): 140-93; Peter Follansbee and Robert F. Trent, “Reassessing the London-Style Joinery and Turning of Seventeenth-Century Boston” (2010): 194–240; Robert F. Trent, “Boston Baroque Easy Chairs, 1705-1740” (2012): 86-115. Ibid., 64–68; the inventory of Crockford’s shop and tools is on 66–68. These were the objects that consumed resources: time, labor, subcontractor costs, and expensive materials, in addition to customs duties and freight and insurance charges if buyers had to ship them (fig. Fitch’s letter and the growing competition with New York chairmakers are cited and explored in Kamil, Hidden in Plain Sight, 717. The patterns of furniture production and retailing that emerged in the first half of the nineteenth century were different from those of earlier times, but they were no less complex or risky than shipping chairs to the Caribbean had been in the 1680s. Two of these craftsmen, Hercules Courtenay (c. 1744-84) and John Pollard (1740-87), w… Local Information at Your Click! During the 1870’s there was a rapid growth in the number of Swedish enterprises. Mahogany, white pine; h 31, w 35⅝, d 21¼. The Windsor chair is the most important furniture style ever produced in America. Several factories manufactured farm implements such as grain measures, rakes and scythe snaths, while other entrepreneurs operated grist mills, sawmills, blacksmith shops, tanneries, wagon building shops and coopers’ shops. 6. 18th Century furniture maker & wood carver, William Brown, shares a tour of his workshop & shares tips & tools that he has acquired over 40 years. In 1914, several of the city’s furniture manufacturers organized the Jamestown Furniture Marketing Association. Seasonal flows transferred ideas; having worked in the city, country cabinetmakers and carpenters began to copy urban designs, blurring geographical distinctions. Maple; h 43¼, w 18¾, d 18½. By the eve of the Civil War, Jamestown had developed a variety of industries. doz”; and “timber at the wharfe” worth £5. Maker of fine custom 18th century reproduction handmade furniture and accessories Red maple, red oak; h 36, w 18½, Seat d 15¼. When the first New England sawmills went into production in the 1630s, labor-short Massachusetts was using technology that sawyers in England resisted because it threatened to put many of them out of work. And over time, the city’s furnituremakers adapted to high land costs, capricious markets, over-production, greater profits in other economic sectors, and increased capital requirements. 48 (Boston: Colonial Society of Massachusetts, 1974); and Brock Jobe and Myrna Kaye, with the assistance of Philip Zea, New England Furniture, the Colonial Era: Selections from the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984). Relations between labor and management remained very bitter for years afterwards. Most furniture factories built in Jamestown before the Civil War were located in the southeastern bend of the Chadokoin in order to make use of falling water. While many of the foreign-born were unskilled laborers, other contributed important skills to the city’s industries. The company had large rooms for machinery, painting, finishing and storage. John Ellis and A. H. Davenport: Furniture Manufacturing in East Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1850–1900. It was the Windsor chair (fig. As late as 1900, however, the principal machines in the furniture factories were slash saws, band saws, planers, moulders and shapers, and many operations continued to be done by hand. Philadelphia’s cabinetmaking trade expanded greatly during the mid to late 1700s, leading to increasingly sophisticated craftsmanship and specialization. Furthermore, until the end of the nineteenth century, many furniture companies in Jamestown traded primarily in a regional market. In order to attract new industries, the city sometimes subsidized plant construction. ps.”; “48 chairs unbottomed at 18s. Violent strikes became more common shortly before the war, and wartime inflation contributed to increased union militancy and to the reluctance of employers to raise wages. Before 1920, many factories had been founded with small amounts of capital and they were able to survive because manufacturing did not require highly expensive, complex machinery. Jacqueline Barbara Carr, After the Siege: A Social History of Boston, 1775–1800 (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 2005), 13–42; the advertisement for John Wadsworth is in the American Mercury, Feb. 9, 1804. The formation of new companies was hindered for a time by the depression of 1873 to 1877, however, during the later nineteenth century additional companies were launched, including Shearman Brothers (1880), the Morgan Manufacturing Company (1890), and the Jamestown Furniture Company (1893). 12).23. See also Stuart P. Feld, with an introductory essay by Page Talbott, Boston in the Age of Neo-Classicism, 1810–1840 (New York: Hirschl & Adler Galleries, 2000), 12–39; as well as several articles by Talbott, including “Boston Empire Furniture, Part I,” Antiques 107, no. By 1930, 50 of the city’s 110 factories produced furniture and two of them, Art Metal and Marlin Rockwell, were listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Forman argues this basic point in American Seating Furniture, 243–49. The first Swedish manufacturer of furniture in Jamestown, Augustus Johnson, began making doors in 1869 and beginning in the 1870’s, the Swedes organized a great number of furniture companies, including the A. C. Norquist Company (1881), at Atlas Furniture Company (1882), Carlson, Bloomquist and Snow (1885) as well as a great number of firms launched early in the twentieth century, such as the Elk, Anchor, Allied, Acme, Active and Level Furniture Companies. So many new mills were built during the 1830’s that by 1840 most stands of first class pine timber had been exhausted. Wooden furniture making had given the Swedes a firm footing in skilled occupations and during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Swedes were able to branch out into other skills. By 1865, the village’s population had doubled to 3,155. ps.”; “4 grosse of Sive Rimmes at 3s. Mahogany, ash; h 32¾, w 18, d 20. The county was also crossed by several creeks which provided water power for early nineteenth century factories. FIG. A great many of the Swedes were skilled in making wood products and they quickly found jobs in Jamestown’s furniture factories, where many operations were still performed by hand. The Ahlstrom Piano Company employed another advertising device when it appealed to ethnic pride by placing advertisements in Swedish-language newspapers urging their readers to buy their pianos from a Swedish-American company. Black walnut, soft maple; h 39, w 21⅜, d 20. FIG. They were joined by Rueben E. Fenton, Jr., the governor’s son, and by Frank E. Gifford, a leading manufacturer of wooden furniture. FIG. Workers might operate in family-run shops, but they were part of a bigger whole.10, Among Boston’s seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century furnituremakers, these conditions were most visible in the production of chairs, a product consumers tended to buy in sets and that were therefore supposed to look more or less alike (fig. For a century, they were an outsize force in the furniture trades of the American colonies. Isaiah Audebert was thirty-six years old when the blaze consumed his house, shop, tools, lumber, sixty black-walnut feet, three Marlborough chairs, and seven mahogany chairs. The growth of the city’s furniture industry depended also on entrepreneurs who sought new ways of promoting their products and expanding their markets. Furniture factories were a cheap investment primarily because they were not highly mechanized and did not require large numbers of workers. A number of firms went out of business, or were bought out by larger companies, even during the prosperous decade of the 1920’s. Conflicts between labor and management also become serious after World War I. Arthur Wade and Frank Gifford, two of the leading founders of the Art Metal Construction Company, later took much of the initiative in organizing the American Voting Machine Company. Rutman, Winthrop’s Boston, 68–97, 164–201.
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