Pennsylvania Furniture Co.’s Sumner Street factory in York, actually West York, was erected in the early 1900s and became the home for long-lasting bedroom and dining room suites. Background posts: Red Lion’s Ebert Furniture: From bedroom suites to gunstocks and York-area woodcarver, furniture maker made life-size JFK statue. But where is it now? and Springetts collector attracts ‘Antiques Roadshow’s’ Kenos and Of York antiquarian Joe Kindig III: ‘He is generous with his knowledge’.
E-mailer David Degroot is looking for a few good facts about York, Pa.’s venerable Pennsylvania Furniture Co.
“My wife and I bought an antique bedroom set,” he wrote. “One of the pieces has a small sticker on the back indicating that the furniture was manufactured by the Pennsylvania Furniture Co. in York, PA. My guess is that furniture was manufactured in the early 1900s.”
Furniture-making was a big business in York County in those days, and Pennsylvania Furniture was one of the most successful. The county was home to plentiful hardwood trees, and its location on transportation routes spawned wagonmakers, riflemakers and manufacturers of other hand-made wood products.
The York County Heritage Trust’s file on Pennsylvania Furniture contains several documents. (One bore the photo above.)
Here are some salient facts gleaned from those documents:
- Adam Jacoby started the company, operating as Adam Jacoby & Brother in 1894 at the corner of North George Street and Hamilton Avenue in York.
- It changed names and charter in 1903, and operated as the Jacoby Furniture Company, makers of “Plain and Quartered Oak Sideboard, Plain and Quartered Oak, Bird’s-eye Maple, Mahogany and Curly Birch, Odd Dressers, Chiffoniers and Wash Stands.”
- The company operated out of a four-story building the length of a football field in size and covering more than 100,000 square feet. It became Pennsylvania Furniture Co. in 1910, which probably means that the Degroot furniture was made after that date.
- The company adapted its lines to World War II production, as did many York County companies. Georg Sheets wrote in his “Made in York”: “The employees of the Pennsylvania Furniture Co., makers of bedroom and dining room suites, also went to work for American defense. These people made gun stocks, desks, filing cabinets, chests, and various other items needed by the U.S. government.”
- Running speed for employment in 1940s was about 120. Twenty-three employees served in World War II. By the end of the war, William H. Bodden had served as general manager for about a decade.
- The company closed in 1961. Today, most of the building is empty, a sign advertises the availability of space. The company’s name lettered in the picture above, is barely discernible. But the building still houses a tenant selling home furnishings. Wink’s Warehouse advertises kitchens, granite and flooring among its offerings.
The company must have made durable, still-desirable furniture. The York County Heritage Trust file has about a half dozen requests from folks like the Degroots querying about their prized furniture bearing the Pennsylvania Furniture Co. label.
If anyone out there has additional information on the company, please comment below.