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Rockford Peerless Furniture Company, 1936 Eleventh Street. Organized in 1917 by C.J. Lundberg, President; G. Adolph Peterson, Vice President and John Wester, Secretary and Treasurer. Manufactured Lamps, Shades, Cabinets, Chest of Drawers, Secretaries, Tables and Dinette Suites. They also manufactured radio cabinets. Peerless would purchase the Hanson Clock Company of Rockford in 1964 and shut down clock production in 1965 for reasons unknown. The company ceased operations in 1976.
Rockford Bookcase Company, Located on Eighteenth Avenue at Fourteenth Street. Established in 1909 by P. A. Peterson, President; William Pearson, Vice-president; Winfield L. Anderson, Secretary; A.E. Johnson, Treasurer. They would manufacture sewing machine furniture, piano benches and cabinets among other items for Free Sewing Machines. In 1923 Rockford Bookcase Company would merge with Rockford Cabinet Company during a period when Oscar Landstrom was President of the cabinet company.
Old Colony Chair Company, 1109 Seminary Street in the old glucose buildings. Founded in 1911 by Al Carlson, President and Treasurer; J. A. Skoog, Vice President; A.R. Floberg, Secretary. The company made matching chairs for Excel Furniture Company Tables including dining and dressing tables. The company closed in the mid 1930's. Winnebago Industries would later take over this space.
The Winnebago Manufacturing Company, founded 1915 and was located at 1109 Seminary Street in what was the largest of what was known as the old Glucose Buildings. Their main product was built up stock catering to the high-grade furniture trade. The factory was equipped with the latest machinery all driven by separate motors. They had a large lumber yard and transferred lumber directly from the rail-car to one of the ten large dry kilns to prepare the lumber for manufacture. They also would manufacture high grade bedroom furniture and veneered panels and made radio cabinets during the depression to keep afloat. In 1948 they would buy the old Rockford World Furniture plant for the manufacture of television cabinets. The company would close in 1965.
The Rockford Mattress Company was incorporated on May 3, 1916 by John W. Cronk, Mabel A. Field and William D. Fisher. The company factory was located at 1320 Woodruff Avenue where they manufactured mattresses and springs. On May 27 of the same year, the factory burned to the ground. They would soon relocate to part of the space of the old Glucose Company property at 1103 Seminary Street. The company was dissolved in 1926. There was another Rockford Mattress Company founded by Charles A. Powell in 1928 at 128 North Madison Street. In 1930 the company moved to 118 Kishwaukee Street in 1932 and finally to 212 Seventh Street in 1936. The firm remained in business and in the Powell family until 2008 when the decision was made to quit business.
Rockford Upholstering Company was also located in the old National Syrup Works complex. Organized in 1915 by Gust Anderson, President; J. H. Lindblade, Secretary; W. A. Brolin, Treasurer and Al Carlson as Manager. They were manufactures of upholstered furniture items like rockers, side chairs and davenports that opened into beds. They remained in business until 1922.
The idea of a local exposition space was initiated by the leaders of four of Rockford's largest manufacturers to draw people here to purchase furniture at a lower price with the hopes of closing their exhibition spaces in Grand Rapids, Chicago and New York, which cost an estimated $125,000 per year. They formed the Furniture Exposition Association A white brick three-story exhibition hall was constructed in 1916. The building featured furniture from 14 factories. The first showing in January of 1916 attracted buyers from all over the country. The manufacturer's soon realized that even though the venture proved successful that they would still benefit from exhibiting their wares in the other cities. The exhibition hall was closed only after a couple of years of use.
In 1924 the local furniture industry formed the Rockford Furniture Manufacturers Association. The association was formed to promote Rockford made furniture and created a logo that was affixed to all Rockford produced furniture at the time, the only difference being the name on the logo featured the name of the company that produced the piece of furniture. The association published a journal, The Rockford Furniture Herald, beginning in December of 1924. The journal featured articles about new products and articles designed to aid the salesman in selling the Rockford made furniture to the wholesale customer. Some examples show below. The association seems to have ceased existence in the early 1960’s.
The Rockford Furniture Journal was a trade paper founded in 1888 by Ryan P. Ross, A. F. Judd and George W. Sherer were the principal stockholders. The Rockford Furniture Journal was published monthly for nearly two years, when the paper was sold to Abraham E. Smith. About 1894 Smith sold an interest to P. D. Francis, and a year later he sold his remaining interest in the paper to J. Newton Nind. Francis and Nind continued the publication for some years in Rockford, in the meantime other trade papers were purchased and consolidated. The publication office was moved to Chicago and the paper renamed to the Journal, a semi-monthly paper covering many trades.
More furniture company history will be added soon
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