Morning Oregonian. (Portland, Or.) 1861-1937, January 01, 1921, New Year's Edition, Section 5, Page 4, Image 44

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Increase of 40 Per Cent Noted in Year Past Largest Furniture Plant West of Chicago Located in This City Annual Business of Two Factories Now Reaches Total of $3,000,000
! : ., . - ., ! i s
By Krnnt C. Fotts.
IN CERTAIN lines of industry and
commerce Portland lays Just and
unshakeable claim to supremacy
on the Pacific coast. No such claim
Is better established than that of
leadership in the manufacture of fur
niture. In fact, when It comes to outlining
'the territory In which Portland ranks
first in output of manufactured fur
niture, there is no need to confine
the boundaries to states of the west
coast. Portland holds first rank, say
those in the industry who know,
among all cities west of Chicago and
St. Louis.
Comparative etatlstlcs serve as a
guide for those interested In know
ing Portland's position in the furni
ture industry In the west. Tacoma
Is a rival producer and often takes
environs is In a healthy and grow
ing condition. Expansion of the in
dustry at a rate that will average up
with the 40 per cent gain of 1920
over 1919 is predicted for the future
by about everyone connected with the
trade. Many factors are pointed to
as insuring steady and rapid growth
f the industry in Portland and Ore
gon. Chief among these are an ever
widening field of distribution, read
justment of freight rates. Improve
ment of labor and material markets
and availability of Oregon wood.
"For the first time," said a promi
nent manufacturer, discussing the
outlook, "the furniture manufac
turers of the northwest are on prac
tically the same basis as those in
L - sections. Conditions have come
about that make our labor and ma
terial costs little. If any, greater than
to itself the title of "the Grand 1 for the big (actories of the middle
Kapids of the West." Tacoma's fur
niture output for 1919, accepting the
round-figure statement of Its manu
facturers. had a value of $3,500,000.
Seattle, which is generally credited
as ranking next among coast cities,
placed its sales output for the same
year at $2,000,000. The furniture pro
duced by Portland factories In 1919
had a value of $4, '00. 000, according
to figures compiled by the Portland
Chamber of Commerce. Reports from
21 factories were embraced in this
The 1919 etatlstlcs of the industry
In the northwest are cited because
figures for the rival cities for that
year were available. The year just
ended has been one of excellent pro
gress and expansion for the Indus
try and Portland has easily main
tamed its lead.
190 outpnt 6,0O0,0OO.
With the inclusion of products
leff timately belonging to the furni
ture classification, the output of
Portland factories during J920 had a
value of $6,000,000. This Increase of
40 per cent for the year was largely
accounted for by an average Increase
of 33 1-3 per cent In the output of
the established concerns. The addi
tion of new plants accounted for the
In 1919 the 21 factories reporting
to the Chamber of Commerce had a
total of 1129 employes. During the
past year the number of workers In
the Industry grew to 1650, It is es
timated. The plants repr?snt an In
vestment of $4,500,000.
As the figures indicate, the fur
west and east. In fact they have
been harder hit than we have by the
soaring prices of hardwoods. Nat
urally then, with equally efficient
management, which some of us had
already attained, we can produce
furniture as cheaply as the manufac
turers in other sections. This has
greatly widened the possible field
for distribution of furniture made
here. As a matter of fact, the field
for sales, providing only that quality
Is maintained, has become almost un
limited for the Oregon manufacturers.
There would be room for many more
furniture-making plants here with
out real infringement on the busi
ness of existing plants."
Freight Increase Aids.
Strange as It may seem, Increased
freight rates put into effect by the
railroads during the past year, af
fected the furniture industry of the
northwest favorably rather than ad
versely. While local manufacturers
who purchase hardwoods and hard
wood veneering in the east are
obliged to pay a higher rate on such
shipments, this is insignificant as
compared with the rise affecting
west-bound shipments of finished
furniture products. Because of this
condition the territory into which
Portland-made furniture may be sold
at of below delivered prices of east
ern manufacturers has been appre
ciably extended.
In the matter of materials needed
In the lndnstry the Pacific coast
manufacturer again has a growing
advantage over eastern competitors.
While this section does not produce
all of the hardwood needed for the
the average citizen may think, it does
grow a goodly proportion of what Is
needed for high-grade articles. Plants
turning out utility furniture easily
obtain all the wood needed, right at
home. For the high-grade pieces Ore
gon furnishes maple and ash, the
latter being used principally as the
"core" over which veneer is placed.
For general purpose furniture the
demand for wood Is satisfactorily
supplied by home-grown ash, maple,
oak, alder and fir. It is worthy of
note that the manufacture tf veneers
from hardwoods is fast becoming a
real industry of the northwest.
Prices of hardwoods have become
almost prohibitive in the east and
the supply is quite limited. This
condition is seriously hampering the
manufacturers there. With the re
opening, in recent months of direct
ocean traffic across the Pacific an
other factor has developed to aid the
local manufacturers. The wonderful
hardwoods of the Philippines, Siberia,
Japan and Australia may now be
landed here in direct shipments and
the eastern manufacturers needing
these to supplement their dwindling
native supply will be obliged to add
appreciably to their costs with the
greater transportation charges. Here
is a factor again that makes Port
land a logical center in the manu
facture of furniture.
Furniture Exchange Established.
As an outgrowth of the annual
buyers' week, conducted by Portland
manufacturers and wholesalers the
week of August 9 to 14, there was es
tablished an institution that bids fair
to advance the furniture Industry of
the northwest several big strides.
This is the Furniture Exchange,
established on the ground floor of the
big Morgan-Atchley building on Grand
avenue at East Stark street.
Incidentally, before explanation of
the Furniture Exchange is given, It Is
due the manufacturers of home fur
nishings to state that they held
prominent place in Portland's eighth
annual buyers' week. A lot of activi
ties centered around the exhibition
building of the Northwest Furniture
Manufacturers and Jobbers. The list
of exhibitors at this building num
bered 41 firms, except for two or
three concerns, all manufacturers of
furniture of Washington and Oregon.
It is noteworthy that 22 of these were
Portland manufacturers, while four
more came from Albany and St.
Helens. It was said of this exhibition
that it was "the finest and most note
showing that natural advantages
"have made this section of the coun
try one of the greatest centers of the
furniture industry in America."
Out of this buyers' week furniture
exposition in the Morgan-Atchley
building there developed the Furni
ture Exchange, a permanent institu
tion such as is boasted in perhaps
half a dozen of the largest centers
of the industry rn the United States.
San Francisco has the only other
similar exchange on the Pacific coast.
The Portland Furniture Exchange
is a permanent exposition in which
local manufacturers and others of the
northwest keep representative lines
on display for the inspection of job
bers and retailers. It is the market
place to which the visiting dealer
goes to inspect and compare lines and
prices. Just as is the case in the big
exchanges in the east, the Portland
exchange is conducted on the "closed"
plan. This means that none but fur
niture dealers are permitted on the
floors. Salesmen may not accompany
an intending purchaser at the ex
change. The dealer must be left to
his own free will in inspecting the
lines and offerings from which he
wishes to select his stock.
Already the venture has been de
clared a splendid success. Both ex
hibitors and visiting dealers are high
ly pleased with this up-to-date method
of merchandising. The manufacturers
admit that there is a highly beneficial
reflex effect on themselves. They
will not be content to have inferior
articles displayed on this show-room
floor beside articles of better grade
from a rival factory. The standard
of products and workmanship is be
ing automatically raised. In short,
the industry has now placed itself, by
this new step, on the same high plane
of manufacture and merchandising
that obtains in the biggest furniture
centers of the east.
Of the committee which has been
actively placed in charge of the Port
land Furniture Exchange, H. A. Green
of the Doernbecher Manufacturing
company, is chairman. As committee
men serving with him are R. W.
Blakely of the Carman Manufactur
ing company, and William Healy of
Healy Bros. Already these men are
considering plans for enlarging the
PORTLAND SHIPS TOTAL 1,000,000 TONS , mm.... ..mi.mmmmmm.nummmanmmu,mmiim,u.muumn.imn ....mummum urn. m, num. mumuimumn.imu
Steel Vessels Built in Yards of Portland District or Now Under Contract
Approximate One-Tenth of Total Tonnage of Shipping Board
OMPLETION of present contracts . ton cargo ships on private account
by shipyards of the Portland dis- One of these, the steamer J- R- Oor-
trict will mean the production of ' don, was purchased by the Union Sul-
Blture-making industry in Portland making of furniture, nor as much as worthy" ever seen west of Chicago, J
close to 1,000,000 tons of steel ships.
As this edition goes to press there
have been launched from the ways in
Portland and Vancouver, Wash., 10$
steel steamships with an aggregate
deadweight tonnage of 866.900.
Launching of vessels for the construc
tion of which contracts have been
closed will bring the figure up to
974,900 deadweight tons, or approxi
mately one-tenth of the total steel
tonnage possessed by the United
States shipping board.
The great majority of these vessels
85 of them, to be exact, with a
total deadweight tonnage of 713,000
were built for the emergency fleet
corporation. The remainder of those
already launched, or 13 vessels of
127,500 aggregate deadweight tons
register, have been built here on pri
vate account since the government
programme was ended. Remaining to
be launched before present contracts
are completed are nine steel vessels,
whose total deadweight tonnage is
Steel shipbuilding for the govern
ment was accomplished in this dis
trict as follows: Northwest Steel com
pany, 36 vessels of 8800 deadweight
tons each; Columbia River Shipbuild
ing corporation. 30 vessels of 8800
tons; Albina Engine & Machine works,
two vessels of 3300 tons and 15 ves
sels of 3800 tons; G. M Standifer Con
struction corporation, Vancouver, 15
vessels of 9500 tons each.'
After the conclusion of the govern
ment building programme, the North
west Steel company built three 8800-
phur company, and the remaining two
the steamers Centaurus and Clau
seus, were built for the Green Star
line. The Columbia River Shipbuild
ing corporation built the 8800-ton
steel cargo carriers Corvus and Cir
cinus for the Green Star line. This
same line ordered five 9500-ton cargo
ships built by the G. M. Standifer Con
struction corporation. These vessels
were named Arcturus, Aquarius, Ar
srus. Antinous and Apus.
The remaining private contracts
placed here, under which 6teel ship
building of this district is engaged
1890 $ 93.439.224.75
1891 . 102.577,167.37
illi 109,503.696.82
J893 76,564.756.79
1894"" ' 66.582.519.39
1895 58,842.284.51
ills " 62.408.893.62
1S98 93.724,449.96
1899 ' 91,643.130.53
1900 106,918.027.48
1901 122.675.461.69
1902 154.743.110.23
1903 175.596.622.53
1904... 189.051.469.92
1905... 228.402.712.69
1906 ... 281.170.796.26
1807 350.932.422.11
1908 310.636.612.69
1909 391.028.890.61
1910 517.171.867.97
1911 557,464.848.17
1912 597.087.856.12
1913 627,818.010.31
1914 678.884.018.99
1915 554.446.756.22
1916 649.775.141.46
1917 868.331,422.07
1918 1.323.082.798.21
1919 1.652.950.830.27
1920 (estimated) 2.056.091,357.27
were for oil tankers, and all of these
tank ships, which number seven, are
being built either for the Standard
Oil company or a subsidiary of this
comnanv. The Northwest Bridge &
Iron company, successor to the North
west Steel company, has the largest
single contract, which calls for the
construction of seven 12,000-ton ves
sels. These vessels are being built
for the Swiftsure Oil Transport com
pany. The names selected for the
seven tankers are Swiftsure, Swift
arrow, Swiftstar, Swiftwind, Swift
agle, Swiftlight and Swiftking. The
first one has been launched and the
second will follow shortly. Seven days
are being used and it Is estimated
that the last of the seven vessels
will be completed next September.
The G. M Standifer Construction
corporation was awarded a con
tract by the Standard Oil company
for three 12,000-ton tankers for the
Standard Oil company of New Jersey,
and later was given an additional
contract for two more tankers of the
same size for the Imperial Oil com
pany of Toronto, Canada. The Standi
fer company has launched two tankers
under this contract the steamers
John Worthington and W. H. Libby.
The steel shipbuilding plant of the
Columbia River Shipbuilding corpora
tion is being dismantled, and that of
the Albina Engine & Machine works
has reverted to its pre-war capacity
of a marine repair plant, but the G. M.
Standifer Construction corporation
and Northwest Bridge & Iron com
pany profess their determination to
remain in the steel shipbuilding busi
ness as long as contracts can be se
cured and the plants kept running.
1 These two shipyards provide employ
ment for a total of about 7000 men.
exchange for the better accommoda
tion of present members and other
manufacturers who wish to Join them.
Territory Is Enlarged.
Eighteen months ago the princi
pal states taking the output of Portland-made
furniture were' Oregon,
Washington, Idaho. California and
Utah. The expanding reach of the
business has now come to include
Montana, Colorado, Nevada. Arizona,
New Mexico, Wyoming, Canada and
the Philippine and Hawaiian islands.
Exportation to South America and
even to Europe, China and Japan has
become rather common. Territory
east of Denver may easily be added
to the field of conquest, the manufac
turers asserting that they can now
compete with eastern brethren in
much of the middle western territory.
Few Oregonians know of the qual
ity and variety of furniture products
turned out right here in home facto
ries. As to quality it need only be
said that the older established facto
ries turn out home furnishings of
workmanship, design and beauty that
are of an absolute equality with the
best produced in the east. The
finest home one may enter may be
outfitted from basement to attic with
Oregon furniture and none would
view it but to admire its grace and
beauty. .
As to variety, the uninitiated may
name hardly an article that goes to
furnish the home that is not produced
in Portland factories. It ranges from
pillows to phonograhps, from cots to
kitchen cabinets, from window shades
to dining room sets. Running down
the list the investigator will find
Baby carriages, baskets, benches,
wood beds, steel beds, brass - beds
blankets, buffets, cabinets, carpets.
chairs of all descriptions, chests
comforters, chiffoniers, cots, couches.
cribs, curtains, cushions, davenports
desks, draperies, hammocks, lino
leums, lamps, mattresses, mats, mat
ting, pedestals, phonographs, pillows
reed and rattan ware, rugs, lamp and
window shades, safes, springs, stools,
stoves, tables or all classes ana
grades, toys, upholsteries, wicker-ware.
Plant Largest In West.
Caskets, manufactured In Portland
on a large scale, ran into tne iurni-
ture classification. Portland is one
of the few cities of the west in which
heating and cook stoves and ranges
are produced on an extensive scale.
The city is rapidly taking the lead in
manufacturing phonographs. Four
large concerns are busily engaged in
making these musical instruments or
the cases for them and other such fac
tories are geting under operation or
are in prospect.
Of lines clossly allied with furni
ture but not admitted to that classi
fication there are made in Portland
a score, including such items as fur
naces, awnings, statuary, office fix
tures, lighting fixtures, laundry trays,
mirrors, trunks and suitcases.
In the Doernbecher Manufacturing
company plant, covering six acres of
ground, Portland has the largest fur
niture factory west of Chicago. Th;
output of the Doernbecher plant for
1920, placed at $2,000,000, together
with that of the Carman Manufactur
ing company's local factory, valued
at $1,000,000, comprises one-half the
$6,000,000 total of the year. The
Doernbecher plant produces only a
high-grade line of dining room and
bedroom furniture. The Carman fac
tory makes a great variety of home
furnishings, including dining room
and bedroom sets, upholstered pieces
wood and iron beds, bed davenports,
kitfhen cabinets, mattresses, cots and
During the year the Oregon Chair
company factory has been purchased
by Heywood Bros. & Wakefield com
pany, attributed to be the largest
manufacturers of chairs and reed fur
niture in the world. The local chair
factory is now one of their five great
manufacturing plants, three being lo
cated in Massachusetts and one In
Chicago. A purely locala firm which
produces library, and dining tables of
line uca.Hu in .aigu l uaiiLiiy is ine
R. Kollock Manufacturing company,
though not yet three years old, has
developed an excellent buslneslFin the
production of tables, kitchen treas
ures and wardrobes.
Many Manufacturers Here.
Another firm which takes first
rank in its line In the world has a fac
tory in Portland. This Is the Sim
mons company, the world's largest
exclusive manufacturers of steel and
brass beds. The Portland Furniture
Manufacturing company has an excel
lent plant devoted mainly to the man
ufacture of overstuffed furniture, bed
davenports and mattresses. The
United Manufacturing company Is an
other Portland firm of extensive op
erations, producing buffets, tables,
chiffoniers, beds, springs and mat
tresses. - "
One of extremely few plants of
western states producing stoves of
merit is the Portland Stove Works,
which makes coal and wood stoves,
heaters and ranges of many varied
types and uses. Other manufactur
ing concerns of the city devoting a
part or all of their equipment to the
making of articles of furniture In
clude: Columbia Awning & Shade
company, Columbia Mills, King Fisher
Mattress company, Mlchaelson' Bros.,
Oregon Casket company, Oregon Ta
ble company, Pacific Phonograph
company, Pettlt reamer s: Bedding
company, Tonsing Bros., United Man
ufacturing company, Webster Manu
facturing company. West Coast Spe
cialty conixjany, Willowcraft Furni
ture company, Great Northern Casket
company, Frazier Manufacturing com
pany, Albatross Metal Furniture com
pany, Allen Wilden Bedding company.
Baby Ko-Ral company, Crystal Mat
tress Works. Ellman Hygiene Mat
tress & Furniture company, Millmade
Construction company, rujuana m
Floor company, Valentine Manufac
turng company, Fluff Rug company,
Northwest Rug company, Rose City
Novelty company, John L, Cronin
& Co,