Colors Of Fall And Furniture

Our fall colors are fading away at this time but a recent donation to the collection of the Fenton History Center reminds us of the fall colors, as well as the colors popular in home decorating during the 1960s. The donation includes a number of furniture company catalogs and price lists from the 1960s. The majority of the catalogs are from Jamestown Lounge Company and a few of them contain the fabric swatches from which the customer could choose the color and texture of fabric for their furniture.

Being able to see the colors and the textures of the fabrics available adds to our knowledge of the history of the furniture. By the 1960s the catalogs have color photographs but the textures of the fabric do not always show up in the photographs. Besides the fabric, leather, Naugahyde and vinyls were available for some of the furniture pieces. Some of the wood finishes available included walnut on walnut and walnut on oak. The Feudal Oak had an “Old English Tavern” finish. The Tabac finish was the “clear warm brown of Fruitwood color spattered and darkened in carvings and mouldings” but was available in Oak only. The Scrubbed Antique finish was a “scrubbed out weathered brown-grey finish with worn carvings and edges” and was also available only in oak.

An added bonus with this collection is the inclusion of price lists for various years in the 1960s. The furniture stayed the same over a few years but the prices changed. Also because the furniture stayed the same the catalogs were often not dated so they could be reprinted and distributed over a number of years. The price lists were dated so the salesmen would know which one was the latest. The dated price lists for furniture companies help us to determine the time period different pieces of furniture may have been available for sale.

Jamestown Lounge Company was one of the older and long-lived furniture factories in Jamestown. It was started in 1888 by Hurley L. Phillips, Lynn F. Cornell, Arthur H. Greenlund and Theodore D. Hanchett. In the beginning, they manufactured lounges and upholstered chairs. In 1900 about 400 people were employed at the factory on Winsor Street. Over the years other lines of furniture were created, including a variety of tables, chairs, dining room furniture and bedroom furniture. Some of the named lines of furniture include Feudal Oak, British Oak, Colonnade and Americana Casual. Oak was a featured wood for many of the pieces manufactured at Jamestown Lounge. Feudal Oak, British Oak and Colonnade all had carved oak pieces included in the line of furniture. The Feudal Oak line was one of their most popular and was available for many years.

Jamestown Lounge Company was out of business by the mid 1980s, missing the 100 year mark by a few years. If anyone has catalogs from Jamestown Lounge or any of the other furniture companies in Jamestown and would be willing to donate them or let us copy them, please contact the staff of the Fenton History Center to see if we need them to build our collection.