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 NORTH MANCHESTER HISTORICAL SOCIETY
 North Manchester, Indiana

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LEOPOLD STICKLEY IN NORTH MANCHESTER, 1891-1895

 Leopold (“Lee”) Stickley died in 1957. He was recognized at the time of his death as the “Revered Dean of Cabinet Makers whose art and craftsmanship has contributed mightily to American home life.”  In his newspaper research, local historian Allan White has uncovered the interesting fact that “Lee” Stickley actually had a business presence in North Manchester, 1891-1895.  In December 1891 Stickley leased a factory in North Manchester and opened a branch of the Stickley and Simonds Company. Stickley’s chair factory in North Manchester employed 40 workers in March 1892. But the factory was closed in October 1892. Stickley leased another North Manchester building in September 1894 where 30 employees were involved in the manufacture of oak furniture. In 1894 Stickley left for Grand Rapids, MI. Leopold’s brother Albert was established in Grand Rapids, Michigan, making furniture under the name Stickley Brothers. Shortly after 1895, Leopold went to Syracuse, New York, where he worked at his brother Gustav’s furniture business, the Craftsman Shops. In 1898 Gustav Stickley bought out his partner Elgin Simonds and renamed his firm The Gustave Stickley Company. Gustave then was still spelling his first name ending with an “e”. Gustav Stickley was the major proponent of the Arts and Crafts movement in the United States.  The Stickley Brothers in New York championed the Arts and Crafts/Mission style—simple furniture built along mission lines.  In 1900 Leopold left the Craftsman Shops in Eastwood, New York, and he and his younger brother John George bought the Collin, Sisson and Pratt furniture factory in Fayetteville, NY.  L. & J.G. Stickley was incorporated in 1904.

Sources: www.style1900.com  www.stickley.com    www.stickleymuseum.com



Source: The North Manchester Journal, Dec. 3, 1891:

THE STICKLEY & SIMONDS CO.

Takes Possession of the Excelsior Factory and Turns it into a Chair Factory.

An Enterprise which Promises to be of Great Benefit to Our Town.

Mr. Lee Stickley of the Stickley & Simonds Co. of Auburn, N.Y., who have leased the Excelsior factory, as has been stated, arrived in the city the first of the week to take charge of the plant. The Stickley & Simonds Co. manufacture the better and finer grades of chairs, including many fancy designs, and employ in their factory at Auburn about 250 men. They sell to all the large furniture houses in the country and last year the firm did a business of $200,000, which, with the increased capacity afforded by the factory here, they hope to double in the next twelve months. It is their intention not only to make this factory a feeder to their eastern house but to turn out all kinds of finished work and to supply their western trade from this point. We had a brief talk with Mr. Stickley at the office of J.A. Browne a few evenings ago and found him a young man of very pleasant address. He tells us that he finds the Excelsior plant well adapted for his work and he will be able to use nearly every piece of machinery it contains. It will need some rearranging, however, before they begin active operations and they are now engaged at this task and the placing of some fifteen new machines of various kinds used in their business. Mr. Stickley says they hope to have the factory running before the first of the year and to be shipping goods by the middle of January. As to the number of men they will employ at the start depends upon the supply of lumber ready for working and the number of orders coming in, but they expect to increase the force as fast as possible and Mr. Stickley says he expects to have 100 men and boys at work in three months and by July probably 150. He thinks the average wages will be $1.25 per day and this means the distributing of from $750 to $1,000 weekly among the laboring people to the benefit of the entire community. These employees, so far as is possible to obtain them, will be hired from the residents of the community and will give employment to many people. They employ a good many boys, especially in the carving department, and as each one is always carefully instructed in his work from time to time they soon become very proficient in the work and command good wages. While not exuberant in his talk Mr. Stickley seemed very sanguine of the entire success of the business here and predicted such a run of work as would cause them to run night and day a great part of the time. The firm’s western trade is growing very rapidly and they expect to supply it entirely from this point as well as to cut out ready for putting together a large amount of the material used in their Auburn factory. The company is sound, reliable and amply prepared to carry out all its projects and our town can consider itself extremely fortunate in securing them. The benefit this industry will be to the place can be better told by experience in the future than in print today and the Journal urges that all proper encouragement be given them by the public generally. Mr. Stickley brought with him from the east two assistants in the persons of Mr. Mills and Mr. Ahl, the latter an experienced wood carver. They are stopping at the Grimes House.