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100 Years Ago In Furniture World

Furniture World Magazine
Volume 149 NO.2 March/April


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100 Years Ago In Furniture World
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A peak into the past with the 1919 issue of Furniture World Magazine

Furniture Union Agitators Annoy High Point Manufacturers

The labor trouble at High Point, which tied up industry for six weeks and created an idle army of approximately 4,000 people, ended September 14, when articles of agreement were sighted by a committee representing the union and the manufacturers. The articles of agreement provide briefly for the five essential points including admission on the part of manufacturers that union labor has a right to work without discrimination; adoption of the piece work system and compulsory arbitration.

A statement by High Point Manufacturers read, "Until 'this affair' the relations existing by and between the employers and the employees here were of such mutual and reciprocal interest and good feeling as to approach a status of positive affection.

"To be sure, the happy and contented employees would d not of their own accord do anything to upset those wonderfully harmonious conditions

Every citizen of High Point as known for years that the manufacturers of this city have never declined nor refused to deal justly and fairly with their employees and it is just a s well known by all that we have not the slightest intention of changing our attitude in this respect in the least degree in the future.

"Every sane and sensible business man in North Carolina know that the industrial growth and the fast industrial development of this great common wealth is being dynamited and shot to pieces by the professional outside mischief-making organizer and radical labor-disturbing agitator."

One Damn Thing After Another In 1919

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  1. Teamsters Strike: Furniture dealers are threatened with a strike of teamsters when the agreement with the present union expires on December 31st. The union has presented a set of demands, among them one for greatly increased wages. Some of the demands are so radical that there is no possibility that they will be granted. In spite of this, it is believed that negotiations will result in a mutually satisfactory agreement.

  2. Furniture World Raises Ad Rates: It is one damn thing after another. Paper used to cost us "fore de war" 3-1/2 cents a pound. Last invoice 10-1/2 cents. Since the printers' strike, our printing bills have increased 30 per cent. Now comes the landlord with a proposition to increase our office rent at expiration of the lease nearly 100 per cent. In order to live and keep the Furniture World alive, our advertising rates will be advanced January.

  3. Furniture Dealer Loses Finger: G.H. Patrick, furniture dealer at Lyons, Ill., near Chicago, had the index finger of his right hand blown off last week while out hunting rabbits. He was standing with the butt of the gun on the ground and his right hand over the muzzle when the weapon was in some manner discharged.

  4. Store Clerk Found Dead: Charles Overman, a clerk in a north side furniture store, was found dead in a gas-filled room by his landlady last week. He had complained of the difficulty of making ends meet on his salary, according to witnesses at the coroner's inquest. He was twenty-eight years of age.

  5. Chicago Upholsterers Strike: Chicago furniture manufacturers have joined whole-heartedly in the nation-wide movement in the trade to smash the unsatisfactory labor situation which has long existed. The upholsterer's strike here, which has been in effect for three months and has effected 28 factories and 400 men, is the chief nut to be cracked. The Furniture World has had little to say about this strike, regarding it as one of the misfortunes of present day industry, about which the less is said the better.

  6. Retailer Killed/ Creditors OK: Emil Sachs, 1807 Milwaukee avenue, shot and killed himself in his store last week. His action is traced to domestic trouble. He had been in business for the past six months at the present address. Prior to that time he had been in the Navy. Creditors regard the business as solvent, and believe that all claims will be satisfied after a sale.

  7. New York Wood Finishers Indicted: Orders to cease and desist from the practice of commercial bribery have been issued against the New York Wood Finishers' Supply Co., by the Federal Trade Commission.

  8. Retailer's Payroll Stolen: The safe in the office of the Gold Furniture Co., Union Avenue and 22nd Street, was blown last week, and $15,000 in cash and liberty bonds were stolen. The loot included the company's weekly payroll, which had been locked in the company's vaults over night for distribution on the following day.

  9. Retailer Defrauds Creditors: Wilber Coufel, a furniture dealer, of Gary, Ind., has been arrested on a charge that he sought to defraud his creditors. Coufel is now out on bail.

  10. Furniture Industry Graft: A Michigan furniture manufacturer writes us as follows. "We want to express to you our appreciation of the article in your paper of February 12th, regarding the furniture graft of the Michigan Retail Furniture Dealers' Association. If there is one particular thing among the many that Furniture World has done in elevating conditions in the furniture business, the exposing of this kind of graft is very commendable."

What's Can Make America Great Again?

"When we get back to the practice of giving an honest day's work for an honest day's pay all such theoretical questions as the high cost of living will automatically disappear," said Charles M. Schwab in a speech before the American Institute of Mining and Metallurgical Workers.

"Great as are the resources of America, and the energy and integrity of our people, there is one problem of our engineering that I term human engineering. Of what value is the skilfully devised machinery, the complex processes, unless maned by people whose heart and soul is in sympathy with work which they are doing, and who have before them the giving of a full day's work for a day's pay?


Furniture World is the oldest, continuously published trade publication in the United States. It is published for the benefit of furniture retail executives. Print circulation of 20,000 is directed primarily to furniture retailers in the US and Canada.  In 1970, the magazine established and endowed the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library (www.furniturelibrary.com) in High Point, NC, now a public foundation containing more than 5,000 books on furniture and design dating from 1620. For more information contact editor@furninfo.com.