April 20, 2011

Redeux Saves Derailed Showers Brothers

How does a powerhouse of a company, seemingly doing everything right, go out of business in the blink of an eye?
That is the story of the Showers Brothers Furniture Company of Indiana. Started in the mid 1800’s, Showers Brothers made quality furniture and made several innovations in manufacturing including inventing laminating wood and were the first to switch from steam power to electricity. The company not only survived but thrived through depressions, the Civil War, WWI and WWII. So, what brought an end to this great company? Actually, it was two things. First, the cost of labor. As the cost of labor in the North rose, many companies moved to the South where labor was less expensive. Secondly, the motor vehicle and the highway system. Showers Brothers relied on the railroad to transport their furniture – often filling 16 train car loads of furniture daily. But, after WWII the highway system was expanded and trucks became the preferred method of shipping by manufacturers. Except for Showers Brothers. They stuck to the rails and quickly saw other furniture manufacturers fill orders more quickly and reach new markets not accessible by rail. Despite making furniture that would last several generations, the lack of understanding an emerging trend in American life caused this great company to go out of business by the mid 1950’s.
Redeux Vintage Furniture acquired a Showers Brothers chest desk a few months ago. Now that we have settled into our new shop, work has begun in restoring this lovely piece of furniture. Standing at just 41” tall and about 29” wide, the second drawer of this chest opens to reveal a writing desk, complete with cubby holes. Some of the work will be done in front of the shop. Stop by to take a look at the progress being made on this piece and to see what Redeux does.
This past week has been busy in many ways. So many new customers have come by and more and more  Friends of Redeux from the garage days have continued to come in to the shop. I will always be grateful for the support and encouragement from each of you. During this time I have also been able to finish a few pieces including an oak chest with carved mirror dating from the late 1800’s to very early 1900 ( picture at top); a rocker with stenciling and curved arms, probably made of maple, and different from most of the other rockers we’ve had in the past;

Also, a slant-top desk from Maddox Furniture and a very charming “small apartment” sized suite of living room furniture from the 1950’s. Made of maple, this suite consists of coffee table with rail, two matching end tables and a lamp table. It really is perfect for small apartments or rooms where space and function need to co-exist. Also, ready is an art-deco era floor lamp with cast "love birds" and Bakelight detailing and also a "printers box" from an old print shop in NYC - it makes a nice little curio/keepsake cabinet.  Lots of other goodies, too.
Coming up soon will be several bookcases, all are very striking.

 More mirrors will be added to our regular offerings. So many of you have requested them that Redeux will now feature vintage mirrors and also mirrors made from vintage picture frames.   Each will have its own history.

Hope to see you again soon.
Best regards, Bill

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