A Splendid Institution


A Visit to the Carrollton Furniture Factory 

The Furniture company having just begun the manufacture of furniture, we think our readers would like to know something about their establishment, especially since it is a local institution and in every sense a home enterprise.  We visited it Wednesday and were shown through by Superintendent Schuerman. 

The Building 

The building is a handsome brick structure, five stories high, including the basement, and cost, complete, about $12,000.  Baker, Ginn & Co., our enterprising builders, had the contract to do the work, from the foundation up, at $11,500.  Certain changes to the original plan made that part of the work cost something like $12,000.  The excavation and stone work cost about $500.  The frames, doors and sash were furnished by R. H. Stanton & Co. and the tin roof, guttering and spouting are the work of C. D. Salyers.  The main building is 45 x 120 feet, the ends standing east and west, and the stories, beginning with the basement, 12, 13, 11, 12, and 20 feet as you ascend, the height to the comb being 59 feet.  The principal timbers are in seven bents, the posts in the first three stories being 12 x 12 and the girders 12 x 16; in the fourth and fifth stories the posts are 10 x 10 and the girders 10 x 16.  One of the most admirable features about the building is the light. There being about 160 windows, all told.  In this part of the building there are, on an average about 30 windows to the story.  Those of the basement are only 8 x 14 24 lights, or 3 x 7 ½ feet openings, and each opening is flared on the inside so as to admit the greatest amount of light possible.  We are informed that in this respect the factory has very few equals. 

On the south side of the building is the engine and boiler room – one story, 29 feet wide by 50 feet long, each end being 30 feet from the end of the main building.  At the west of the engine and boiler room is the shaving put, which receives the shavings from the various machines and is used as fuel.  Immediately south of the boiler room, one the west end, stands a brick smoke stack 82 feet high.  The building is unquestionably well built and to say that it is handsome expresses the idea but feebly.  It is by far the best built building in town – the very pride of Carrollton.  The design was by Mr. J. W. Faulkner, and no person who has seen the building has failed to approve the plan. It is proposed, as soon as business will justify it to, build a larger warehouse to store furniture in. 

The Machinery 

It would likely be impossible to find another factory the size of this with better equipment.  Every piece of wood working machinery is the latest improvement ad best to be found anywhere.  Most of it was manufactured by the Cordesman & Egan Co., of Cincinnati, and the remainder, from other first class firms.  The cost, in round numbers, is $___.  A beautiful 65 horse power engine, from Kreiger & Burkhardt, drives the whole, the steam being supplied by 2 2-flue boilers, each 42 inches x 26 feet, furnished by the same firm. 

About 35 feet of the east end of the basement is occupied by the veneering and joining room, which contains a steam box, glue apparatus, joining machines, etc.  The other part of the basement, about 85 feet, is where the machinery for doing the rough work is located.  It is run by two lines of shafting upon hangers attached to the joists and running above distance.  There are on this floor a 24 inch band resaw – a wonderful machine, two rip saws, a 28 inch rough planer, two hand planers, 8 and 20 inches, swing saw, turning lathe, grind stone, etc.  There is also a 32 inch fan, which creates the suction in the pipes that carry the shavings from the various machines to the pit.  The main pipe is galvanized iron, 19 inches in diameter, and the pipes connecting it to the various machines vary to suit the size of the latter.  The system works beautifully, taking up all the litter and dust and making work pleasant and agreeable.  C. D. Salyers did this part of the work. 

On the next floor – the first above ground – the finishing is done.  Here there are these machines: a tenoner, rip saw, frizzer, universal rip and crosscut saw, universal wood worker, scroll saw, dove-tailer, band saw, sand papering machine, cross cut saw, mortiser, bed fastener, “sticker,” double cross cut saw, a 30 inch pony planer, etc.  All this machinery is remarkably labor saving.  Very little skilled labor is required and herein lies the economy.  The state of perfection to which this class of machinery has been brought is truly remarkable.  On this same floor in the east end are a neat office, 11 by 30 feet, and packing rooms, 30 by 34 feet. 

On the next floor the cabinet makers work.  There are steam boxes, work benches, etc. 

On the third floor, in the east end are the “floing” and upfitting rooms, the balance to be used for storing.  The top story will be occupied by varnishers and for other purposes. 

A six by eight foot elevator runs from the basement to the top story, so that materials and furniture may be raised and lowered with but little labor and but slight expense. 


The factory will turn out medium grades of furniture – not the highest priced and yet not shoddy, cheap stuff.  Ordinary bureaus, bedsteads, washstands and wardrobes will be manufactured, but the specialty will be bed room suits – dresser, bed and washstand – the suits ranging in price from about $45 to $120.  Of course this includes marble tops, mirror, etc.  The company will endeavor to establish a reputation for doing good honest work, and on this platform is bound to succeed.  Just now, while the machinery is being tried and a trade not established, a large force is not being worked but is being increased daily and it will not be long before the list of employees will compare favorably with that of any other concern in town.  Henry Schuerman, the superintendent, has matters well in hand and those who know say that he is a master of his business.  For our part, we believe him to be the right man in the right place. 

History of the Enterprise 

On the 28th day of May, 1883, the writer of this article called on J. W. Faulkner, at the Vevay Furniture factory, who was the secretary of that concern, and invited him to come to Carrollton and see the prospects for getting up a factory here, he having announced his intention of quitting the situation he then held.  The next week he came down and the writer introduced him to our business men who showed a disposition to form a company.  Accordingly, on June 12th, at Judge Donaldson’s office, there was a meeting of some of the leading citizens of the town to consider this project.  A committee, consisting of Judge Donaldson, W. A. Fishback, E. A. Gullion, and P. T. Barker, was appointed to ascertain the profits of the business of manufacturing furniture and report to a meeting which it was decided to hold Wednesday, June 20th, at the court house.  The three first named committee men went to Vevay and wrote and made inquiries about the furniture business generally.  At the meeting, which was largely attended, they made an encouraging report; and Messrs. J. A. Donaldson, J. S. Gaunt, and H. M. Winslow, having been appointed at the previous meeting to prepare subscription papers, stock was solicited at this meting and some secured.  J. T. Winslow, Ed Grobmeyer, G. W. Anderson Jr., and E. A. Gullion were appointed a soliciting committee.  The next mass meeting was held June 20th.  The committee, with the work of the evening, had secured $20,000.  At this meeting Judge Donaldson, W. A. Fishback, and P. T. Baker were added to the soliciting committee.  The next meeting was held on July 11th at the court house, by which time $34,500 had been subscribed.  At this meeting Judge Donaldson, H. M. Winslow and John S. Gaunt were appointed a committee to prepare a charter by July 18th, to which time the meeting adjourned.  The committee worked on in the meantime.  When the meeting came on, nearly all the stock asked for - $40,000 – had been subscribed.  The committee on charter reported and the charter was considered in an informal way.  There was another meeting at the same place on the following night.  It was then announced that the required amount had been subscribed, and the announcement was received with applause.  The number of original stockholders was seventy-three, and subscriptions ranged from $50 to $3,000, Mr. C. DeWeese being the largest holder.  The meeting by unanimous vote decided that the charter was satisfactory, and accordingly, W. A. Fishback and the writer were appointed a committee to procure subscribers signatures to the charter.  On July 20th articles of incorporation were duly recorded, the incorporators being H. M. Winslow, O. W. Geier, W. A. Fishback, J. T. Winslow, and J. A. Donaldson.  Thus within five weeks after the first meeting, which was composed of about a half a dozen men, the furniture factory became a certainty. 

The first election for directors was held on the first Wednesday in August.  The first, or present board of directors is composed of J. A. Donaldson, W. A. Fishback, P. Lostutter, O. W. Geier, and C. N. Stringfellow.  Messrs. H. M. Winslow and P. T. Baker were elected as directors but declined to serve.  The board elected P. Lostutter as president and a week later elected J. W. Faulkner secretary and J. M. Giltner as treasurer.  The board having bought from Dr. F. H. Gaines and wife four acre, just south of Polk street, two on either side of Fourth, for $1,600, let the contract for excavation about the tenth of August to Peter Lostutter, and the contract for the stone work to Lindsey & Cox at $1,50 [sic] per perch.  About September 15th the contract for the building from the foundation up, was let to Baker, Ginn & Co., at $11,500.  It was expected that Mr. Faulkner would be the superintendent, but soon after his election as secretary he withdrew from the enterprise, on account of some disagreement.  Shortly afterward, or about the first of October, Henry Schuerman, the present efficient superintendent was elected.  One November 21st, president Lostutter having resigned because he could not spare the time, John I. Forbes was elected president.  The present very competent secretary, Mr. W. F. Lostutter, was elected the 12th of last December.  Mr. Forbes resigned the presidency about the 10th of March, and Judge J. A. Donaldson was elected to the position two weeks afterward, and is now the head of the institution.


From the Carrollton Democrat, April 26, 1884