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Being a Chapter of Comment and Story, Sometimes Reminiscent, Concerning Men and Events in the Furniture Industry, Here, There, and Everywhere



T IS rare that the employer who centers all the responsibilities of a great business within himself gets very far. Enterprises which are one-man enterprises may succeed and flourish for a time, but let the one man be eliminated by death or from any other cause, disaster is pretty sure to follow. It is the man who is big enough, and broad enough, to repose some of the responsibility in others who finds in due time that he can put aside responsibility and reap the reward of his forethought and his early labor. When you hear about any man who is "always on the job," it is pretty certain that he hasn't learned the secret of getting other men to be "always on the job." But there is a growing appreciation of the truth that organization is first fundamental, and that it needs to be supplemented by coöperation upon the part of the whole working force.

The plant of the Macey Co. in Grand Rapids is one of the best run furniture factories in Grand Rapids. No one will gainsay that the man who has shaped the policies of that company is O. H. L. Wernicke. He is entitled to the credit of taking a bankrupt company, the common stock of which was a liability rather than an asset, and making it worth 200. Mr. Wernicke is a dominating force still in its affairs. But he is ego, minus. He has built a splendid working organization. A very important factor in making it a smooth working organization is the round table conference held as often as once a month, in which all of the heads of departments and many others participate. How the plant shall be run and how the business shall be run is determined by the coöperative wisdom of the men who are running it.


This cooperative plan is carried a step further. committees have recently been appointed. These committees perform so important a function, it seems to the writer of this, that he is prompted to write what is here recited, and add something concerning the functions of the committees and the trust which is imposed upon them. The committees consist of three men each, appointed by the secretary of the company. One of the committees is on fire protection, and the other on accident prevention. The men are chosen from both factory and office. The personnel of the committees is somewhat changed every six months. One member then retires and a new man is appointed to his place, and the process is repeated each six months. In making the initial appointments, effective March 1st, provision is made so that the retirement from one committee occurs at the end of the first quarter and from the other at the end of the six months, and so on indefinitely. As the committees have something in common, this seemed to be desirable.

be examined to see that no danger arises from defective insulation due to vibration or other causes. Fire doors should work freely and should be free from obstruction and all fusible links be placed in the right locations. Fire buckets and sand should be provided where necessary. Many other things may present themselves as your experience broadens."

In suggesting the work for the committee on accident prevention, Mr. Prichett wrote to the appointees: "The duties of this committee will be to see that all machinery is properly guarded, all exits and doorways properly marked and guarded where necessary, that the danger signal, red, be applied to all places where danger exists and to suggest anything that will prove beneficial to the plant at large and prevent accidents."

Both committees are to report each month to the round table conference and there will, therefore, be constant reminder that there are duties to be performed. The constant change in the personnel of the committee will be educational in its influence upon many of the employes instead of a few, and the infusion of new blood, it is argued, will prevent an employe, if appointed to the committee, getting into a rut as is so apt to be the case in any factory where reiteration of operations occur. Some one of the appointees on each of the committees will serve for a year and a half; but in due time there will be a new man each six months to "ginger up" the members who have been serving from six months to a year and a half.

The Hardwood Record expresses the belief that those engaged in the manufacture and sale of mahogany have played their cards intelligently, and have carefully cultivated the demand until it is a steady and dependable thing-until mahogany has become a staple which can hardly be dislodged from the place it occupies. It recites that one company has been sending to manual training schools supplies of mahogany at a figure below the market in order to get the boys to work in that wood. The advantage of winning friends for their product among the youngsters now growing up is undoubted. The Record goes further and sagely suggests that the school boy who makes a piece of furniture and takes it home to be used and admired by the family, does something to create business for the furniture dealer and in turn the furniture manufacturer, particularly if the piece is of mahogany. For once a piece of mahogany furniture is introduced in a room where furniture built of other wood is found, it makes the rest of the furniture look shabby and suggests new furniture. This has been the experience in every community where the manual training students have made furniture worthy of a place in the home of the maker. It might have been added by our contemporary that there is an all unexploited field for the sale of choice cabinet woods in small lots, presumably at the retail price, to the hundreds of manual training schools already in existence throughout the United States and in Canada. THE FURNITURE MANUFACTURER AND ARTISAN reaches this class in constantly increasing number and can promise the lumber dealer who will venture in this suggested field

In announcing the committee on fire prevention, Secretary Prichett outlined the purpose of the committee as follows: "The object of this committee is to observe the general factory conditions from the standpoint of fire prevention. Examinations of the entire plant should be made at least monthly and as much oftener as may seem wise. Particular attention should be given to the basements, unused areas under buildings and all places where dirt and rubbish may accumulate. Electric wiring should

and will use the advertising pages of this magazine to get results.

The wood mantel is said to be coming into favor again. There are many furniture factories which were built in which to manufacture mantels, when the wood mantel was in favor, but which when the change came in public taste were turned to making furniture. There is one such in Grand Rapids, two in Rockford, Ill., several in Knoxville, Tenn., one in Cincinnati, and how many more we do not know. At a recent meeting of the mantel and tile dealers association, held in New Orleans, an open discussion on the question of hardwood mantels was a feature of the meeting. The consensus of opinion developed was that the hardwood lumber manufacturers had not been alive to the opportunity or the necessity of creating new designs and new ideas in mantel furniture. On the other hand, manufacturing concerns of competing materials have kept abreast of the times and as consequence have taken a large proportion of the market. However, it seems that the hardwood industry has a strong ally in this association which went on record as favoring the sponsoring of the cause of the hardwood mantel, and is making every effort to reintroduce it as an essential feature of the modern home. Possibly the complaint against the manufacturers of mantels is well grounded, but the men who were once in that line of manufacture, and are now over in the furniture field, will bear cheerful witness that they did their best to stay in the mantel business, but thanks to their competitors, and possibly to the architects, were fairly driven out of it. Within a year one of the leading houses in this line, located in Cincinnati, has turned to furniture with no lack of evidence that design in furniture of any sort is deemed important.

In the opinion of the writer of this, present conditions are largely due to

had been shown in the market places for many seasons. Well-informed furniture men were unable to tell who is now making anything of the sort. Recourse was had to the Spratt book, the best directory of what is made in the line of furniture obtainable, and who is making it. Thirty-two concerns are listed in that book as making folding beds. Further inquiry has failed to disclose more than two out of that long list who are still making wood folding beds. The folding bed of a few years ago is almost an extinct thing. "There was no demand for folding beds," writes one manufacturer, "and we discontinued making them." "We have been receiving a few inquiries lately," writes another, "and we have been thinking of trying it again." Just about the same condition is disclosed in the mantel field we imagine-and all because of the fickleness of fashion.


There are no elevators in the House of Success But the stairs are long and steep,

And a man who would climb to the very top Before he dare walk, must creep.

It is probable that the announcement would have been made long ago that J. Boyd Pantlind, who is known to furniture men everywhere, had taken the lease of the new $2,000,000 hotel now building in Grand Rapids, if he had a son whose tastes ran in the direction of hotel management. Mr. Pantlind has but one son, and he a worthy and energetic young man, but he does not like the hotel business, and so hasn't been drawn into the new project nor any of the other hotel projects of the successful father. Now, J. Boyd Pantlind has been connected with the Morton House for forty years. With this as an index you may be able to figure out about how old J. Boyd is, although he doesn't look the part. The older men, who are readers of this, will then appreciate why Mr. Pantlind hesitates about taking hold of an enterprise which will require the investment of fully $250,000, and an immense amount of physical and mental outlay. There are probably some wives of these elder readers who have some slight conception of what running a ten to twenty-room house means and then what it may mean when it comes to furnishing and operating a 500-room house. And be it said in passing that the "help" problem in the hotel business is almost as fierce as it is in the private home.

There are no carpets in the House of Success,
But the floors are hard and bare,
With slippery places all about,

And pitfalls here and there.

There are no lounges or easy chairs,
Nor places to rest your spine,

But when one has arrived on the roof at last,
Ah, but the view is fine.

the whim of fashion. Very recently we have been called upon in this office, by dealers who evidently reflect the needs of some consumer, to give information upon where folding beds can be bought-the old-fashioned upright or mantel folding beds, built of wood. This was found to be no easy task. Fifteen years ago folding beds were a standard article of furniture, made by some of the largest and strongest concerns in the country. Do you remember when the Forest City Furniture Co., of Rockford; the Windsor Folding Bed. Co., of Chicago; the Phoenix Furniture Co., of Grand Rapids; the Welch Folding Bed Co., of Grand Rapids, and scores of other concerns were making folding beds? Then there were the Judkin Bros., of Chicago, who used to sell folding beds in car load lots only and made a comfortable fortune in the process. Why, at the time the World's Fair, in Chicago, was held, more folding beds were shown than any other class of furniture. We were in the folding bed inventive age at that time. When, therefore, these recent inquiries began to come in from dealers for beds of this type, our search was commenced. No wood folding bed

-Author Unknown.

Every now and then a son is found who doesn't take to his father's vocation, and as a matter of fact, in this country it is rarely expected that such will be the case. In trying to explain why this is so frequently the case, Joseph Meyer, associate editor of The National Harness Review, in writing of the subject, said recently: "One reason why sons do not always follow or, rather, take an interest in their father's business is that the fathers, many of them, have the bad habit of knocking' their own business. Even if a man is not successful or has achieved only a modest success is no reason why he should deprecate his calling. The wise business man will never knock his own business in the presence of customers, his children or any one else. It is good policy to think highly of one's business, and it is the height of folly to belittle it in the presence of others. There is no purpose served,

and the better way would be to get out of it and try another occupation." To which the American Lumberman adds: "It is a fact that many a business is injured from within by its own knockers and apologists. If a man does not believe in the business, in its integrity, in its value to the community and the world, and in its very necessity as a part of the commercial fabric, he ought to get out of it. He can not help that business and that business can not help him. He will not suc

ceed in it, neither will the business attain success through his instrumentality. He is a brake on the wheel."

This comment should not be made to apply to Mr. Pantlind, for he has always graced the business in which he has been engaged, and has had good reason to be proud of his accomplishments, but the comment which is quoted contains much force and truth, and therefore its introduction here.




I have read your articles by Alexander T. Deinzer about varnish drying. About five years ago I erected in our plant a special apparatus that takes in air and takes out the moisture and discharges 7,500 cubic feet of air in our finishing-room every minute, the size of the pipes reduced to such an extent that where it comes out it hardly can be noticed and does not affect the dust in the rooms, with proper ventilators to let the odor of benzine and turpentine to the outside. We found that this helped our drying qualities to a great extent and made it a very pleasant place for men to work in, as you could hardly smell the odor of either benzine or turpentine at the end of the day's work. Since then I have installed a varnish drying kiln, but find it very unsatisfactory. They want us to put in the furniture at about 115 to 118 degrees in the filler room and 112 to 115 for the different coats of varnish. We find this entirely too much for solid mahogany lumber or work that has inlaid lines. I have been working and experimenting with about 95 degrees of heat and trying to keep the proper humidity in these rooms and find it works fairly well on enamel goods, but not so on the varnish. I think if a person figured out the exact humidity that a room or place should have that with 90 to 95 degrees of heat it would make a better job drying varnish on wood, as there is hardly any wood that will stand first the filler to be dry and then three or four coats of varnish at a temperature of 110 to 115. This works very nicely on iron or steel, but we find lumber a different proposition. We had better results on built-up stock that is veneered than on solid lumber. Have you had any expressions from any engineers or people who extol the great benefit of drying varnish in kilns? Carrollton, Ky. H. SCHURMANN. Carrollton Furniture Manufacturing Co. Answer by Alex. T. Deinzer I would like very much to see the apparatus you installed in your finishing-room. If furniture manufacturers would heat their finishingrooms to 95 degrees at night during hot and cold months and make suitable provision for constant circulation of fresh air and removal of foul air, a bad situation now so commonly found in nearly all factories would be corrected and an excellent drying condition produced. Humidity should be at a desirable point and under control. If, as you state, your apparatus discharges 7,500 cubic feet every minute and you have no direct draft on your work, you will be able to do very satisfactory drying at from 96 to 98 degrees. A modern varnish kiln will give very satisfactory results at 125 degrees and lessen the time of drying. I wish I could inspect your varnish kiln, but this is quite impossible at this particular time. It will be to your advantage to engage an expert to

install an up-to-date kiln for you. There are a number of good men in the field. I suggest the following: Mr. Maural, manager of the dryer department of the A. II. Andrews Co., Chicago, Ill.; Elmer Perkins and Charles A. Wenborne, of the Karpen, Wenborn Co., Chicago, Ill.


We are writing you with special reference to the kilning of red and sap gum lumber. Can you tell us if it is important that a steady heat be kept in the kilns for the drying of this lumber at all times? In other words, is it bad to have the proper heat on during the daytime, and let it cool off during the night, and then put on the heat again the next day? Over Sunday the heat would be off from Saturday night, until Monday morning. Our experience shows us that it greatly hinders the kilning of this particular lumber. A. H. VILAS Co.

Answer by J. M. Pritchard, secretary Gum Manufacturers Association-It is my opinion that as a general proposition it is not a good idea to let lumber completely cool off during the process of kiln drying. We do not know, however, that it actually hurts the lumber, but it takes much longer to dry lumber when it is allowed to cool off after the outside of the board is once heated and dried, as it takes longer for the heat to again penetrate into the green portion of the board. No lumber should be allowed to dry too fast, but as a general proposition, it seems to be conceded that better results are obtained if the lumber is not allowed to cool off during the process of drying. I do not feel that I have given you much information. As stated to you in former letters, it is the policy of this office to be very conservative in any statements made concerning questions of this kind until after the report of our Committee on Technical Research has been made.


I am informed by the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co., Pittsburgh, that an article appeared in your paper last summer in regard to making factory floors with a sawdust concrete. I will be greatly obliged if you will inform me where I can get exact information as to the formula and name of parties who are using it successfully. Cave Springs, Ga. FRANK WRIGHT,

Cave Springs Planing Mill. Answer by the Editor-The article referred to was as follows: "A mixture of two and one-half parts of clean sawdust, two parts sand and one part of cement, used instead of concrete for floors, is said to be especially adapted for factory floorings. Men often go lame from working on a cement floor and it is very fatiguing if no worse evil results. The sawdust floor also is elastic and

does not result in such damage to tools or fragile objects falling upon it. It can be laid for less than one-half the cost of concrete and will stand hard wear, but is not adapted for outdoor use. Such floors are warmer and less noisy than concrete floors and it is probable that they will be widely used in the future." We know nothing personally of the preparation or who makes it.


I am told that one of your recent issues contained an article on packing furniture in corrugated paper cartons. Buffalo, N. Y. R. D. WAGONER.

Answer by the Editor-We have not thus far published any articles on furniture packing in corrugated paper cartons, though there are evidences of an opening for packing of that type. Thus far the practical applications are comparatively limited and occur in instances in which the furniture is of such size and shape as to readily lend itself to the use of that particular type of packing. The Globe-Wernicke Co. and the Macey Co., also, we believe, use corrugated packing boxes for their sectional bookcase units. You will readily appreciate that that particular type of furniture could be handled in corrugated cartons with special advantage. Recently the Berkey & Gay Furniture Co., of Grand Rapids, has been wrapping some of their furniture in corrugated paper rather than in the usually employed excelsior packing pads. After wrapping, of course, most pieces have to be crated in addition and the usual frame packing crates are employed. Another recent development along these lines has been made by the Oshkosh Bottle Wrapper Co., of Oshkosh, Wis. This concern has developed a patent corrugated packing pad consisting of a corrugated filler in a Kraft paper envelope following the general principle of the excelsior packing pad. Undoubtedly other instances can be found with applications along these lines as well as instances in which furniture is shipped in corrugated boxes, the same way as the Globe-Wernicke Co. ships its.

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Answer by Walter K. Schmidt.-It will be impossible to make a wax that will give the wood a color just as shown by your sample. In order to match it we would suggest that you use an ounce of carbonate of potash and one ounce of bichromate of potash to a gallon of water and give the wood a thorough coat. Then sand it and coat with a walnut brown dye of sufficient strength to produce the color. Then give it a coat of orange shellac. Wax with any good finishing wax. Do not judge your color, however, until the shellac coat is put on.


Can you tell me an inexpensive preparation for treating hardwood maple floors where there is a great deal of wear, so as to preserve the natural whiteness of the floor, allowing, however, for the slight discoloration that naturally comes from oiling maple floors. Oklahoma City, Okla.

A. W. HORNING, Oklahoma High School, Answer by Walter K. Schmidt-I take it that your inquiry means that you wish an inexpensive preparation for refinishing the spots on the floor where they are worn and the balance of the floor still in condition. If the floor has become grimy and gray because the finish has worn off, bring it back to its newness by washing it off, with a solution of permanganate of potash which will turn the entire woodwork brown and then with the second coat of warm solution of oxalic acid, say, one ounce to the gallon. When this is thoroughly washed off, the maple will be white. Sand it smooth and give it a coat of hot

raw linseed oil, then two coats of ordinary shellac. You will have to decide whether you want the white or the orange. When this is thoroughly dry oil rub, taking off the luster and dulling the finish by giving it a tenacity which will stand a good deal of wear. This method-that is, a coat of shellac and oil rub-will keep your floor in perfect condition all the time.


I have a lot of Early English chairs and dining-room furniture which I want to make over into a fumed oak finish. Will you tell me the best way to make a stain so that I can match the Craftsman finish. Is there anything which will take the color out of the wood after the varnish has been removed. I used an aniline stain. The best of us need help sometimes. A. MALLCOTT, Oklahoma City, Okla. Bass Furniture & Carpet Co. Answer by Walter K. Schmidt-In order to change the Early English to fumed oak it will be absolutely necessary for you to remove all of the finish, filler and stain. I take it that you understand how to remove the finish. If the finish is a varnish, you will have to use a varnish remover. If it is wax, use naphtha and turpentine, then take off all of the shellac with wood alcohol. To com

pletely remove the stain, your method of procedure will depend a good deal upon whether it is an oil stain that you have used or a water stain. If it is an oil stain you can remove the filler and the stain with naphtha and a picking brush. If it is a water stain, most of it can be washed off with a potash solution, using about an ounce of potash or sal soda to the gallon of water. Both of these alkalis will have a tendency to turn the work a reddish brown, which will not interfere with the making of fumed oak. After your wood is thoroughly cleaned, give it a coat of bichromate of potash, say, two ounces dissolved in a gallon of water. Sand and follow with the last coat of stain. The strength of it, however, you will have to judge by making tests and which will depend upon the color of the wood as it was left by the removal process. The second coat must be made up of a brown, preferably a walnut brown, toning it with black nigrosine. You can throw the final shade by using a little Bismark brown and a spirit black in the shellac coat. Then finish in the usual manner.


Can you give us the names of some glass manufacturers in the United States who make Mission spice boxes and glass sugar bins in swing baskets suitable to kitchen THE H. E. FURNITURE CO., LTD.


Milverton, Ont.

Answer by the Editor-The Sneath Glass Co., Hartford City, Ind.; Cambridge Glass Co., Cambridge, Ohio. Other makers of glass jars are Imperial Glass Co., Bellaire, Ohio; Fostoria Glass Co., Moundsville, W. Va.; McKee Glass Co., Jeannette, Pa.; Coöperative Flint Glass Co., Beaver Falls, Pa., and The United States Glass Co., Pittsburgh, Pa.


We would like very much to procure, if possible, a list of veneer manufacturers, and will thank you if you will advise us whether a list is printed and how we can get it. Detroit, Mich. TUFTING MACHINERY SUPPLY CO. Answer by the Editor-A very considerable list of veneer manufacturers was supplied, but there may be others who will desire to communicate with this questioner.


Will you please put me in touch with manufacturers making supplies used in the manufacture of brass beds, the manufacture of mirrors, casters and trimmings required on bed-room furniture. I want to find steel and brass tubing, wrought or cast fittings for beds, trimmings for furniture, including drop-front desks, drawer handles,

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of Probems of the Finishing Room in this number you will find the first of a series of articles in which the subjeet will be treated exhaustively.


Somebody makes steel tanks with gauge and pumps for varnish supplies suitable for wood-working plants. Grand Rapids, Wis. AHDAWAGAM FURNITURE Co. Answer by the Editor-S. F. Bowser & Co., Fort Wayne, Ind., and F. Cortez Wilson & Co., Chicago, Ill.


Will you please furnish me with a formula for taking up sap in golden oak so that uniform color can be Cured? I am having trouble in matching up on account of sap stain. H. H. S.

Elkhart, Ind.

Answer by Walter K. Schmidt:-You do not state whether you are using an oil stain or water stain. There are only two ways and really none of them are satisfactory for taking care of the sappy parts of the wood. The best way is not to use the sappy part of the log, but where it does appear it would be better to avoid staining it with the regular stain, but followed with some greatly reduced. If you wish to go into further detail, let us know what stain and method you are using.


The Forest Products Exposition NDICATIONS of active coöperation on the part of the wood-working interests of the country forecast the pronounced success of the Forest Products Exposition, to be held in the Coliseum, Chicago, April 30-May 9, according to the report of Manager George S. Wood. One of the principal factors encouraging those behind the exposition movement is said to be the rapidly growing belief, in all branches of American wood industry, in the valuable and enduring benefit of an impressive demonstrat tion of the efficiency of wood as a basic material

Elaborate plans for display are being made by de associations, many large and small manufaruns in vitally interested and an exhibit is being planned to forestry department of the national government, whi is declared the most enlightening ever given. arrangements have been completed for the speİT TILLS of the Chicago exhibits to the New York. Egystic where they will be installed by the same WOTELEL addition to the large attendance expected

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of manufacturers, producers, specialists, 17tinens and the mechanical forces, a wide resp use is rendemer part of the layman, to whom the expositÍ I larly appeal. Through trade organizations 2007 representatives, information, concerning -I taking is being given throughout different sections


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