Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.

- Eugene O'neil

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Child's Goodnight

Life's most soothing things are a child's goodnight and sweet music.... Thomas Edison

Last weekend, I found a dresser on Craigslist, that was offered for sale, for $35.  I'd been looking for a white dresser for our guest room - and this one looked nice and roomy.  When we went to go pick it up, it was fun to see that it had some vintage looking lines.  The carved edges were very art-deco looking.  I don't have great pictures of the dresser - but here they are, the ones from the ad:

The person selling us the dresser couldn't tell us much about the piece of furniture, but it was fun to find a paper label affixed to the inside of one of the drawers.  It read:

Little Folk's Furniture; New London New Jersey.

Needless to say, I got to researching right away.  What fun to find out that the Thomas Edison had a furniture business (really!) and that "Little Folk's" was the children's division!   I was able to find the following history (here):

"You may be wondering why Thomas Alva Edison, the revered American inventor, was doing producing children’s furniture. It started out as an adjunct to Edison’s phonograph factory. In 1917 Thomas Alva Edison purchased Wisconsin Panel and Cabinet Company, a maker of opera seats. He converted the factory to the production of cabinets for his newly patented line of phonographs. The name of the factory was changed to Edison Wood Products and it continued to make phonograph cabinets until 1927. During the Depression, the consumer demand for phonographs slowed a lot because they were considered a luxury item at a time when most people were concerned about where their next meal was coming from. Edison didn’t want to add more people to the bread lines by laying off several hundred employees, so he decided that the company should make juvenile furniture under the trade name "Edison Little Folks Furniture".

It was really neat to look up other vintage pieces of Little Folk's furniture.  Both of the decals above are from vintage Little Folk's cribs.  You can see another art-deco style piece (part of another dresser) below:

And I also thought this display of vintage Edison furniture was delightful:

I have not been able to find a furniture catalogue online, so I don't know exactly how old my dresser is.  In fact, Little Folk's was sold off to Simmons at some point (yes, the same as the Simmons as the mattress company) and they continued to manufacture under the Little Folks' name, until 2005.  However, given the lines, and the specifics of the label on my piece, I suspect it is older rather than newer. 

However old it may be, I had a wonderful time finding out more about the history of the furniture line, and finding the lovely vintage pieces and decals shown here.  I hope you had as much fun seeing them, as I did!

Happy Vintage Thingie Thursday, and Time Travel Thursday!


JANN said...

What interesting post Chel. YOUR dresser is so nice and famous :)
I know it will look fab in your guest room.

LV said...

You made a great buy on that dresser. I, too, like to research vintage things. It is amazing what can be found if you know where to look. Great VVT post.

Postcardy said...

Thanks for the great information. I had no idea that Edison had a furniture company.

Paulette said...

Nice dresser you bought! I remember we had a crib in that style with the decals. It looked very similar, anyway.

Coloradolady said...

I had a dresser very similar that my grandpa made for me, it had block handles....I don't know why my mom did not keep that dresser, I so wish I had it today...thanks for the memory! Have a great VTT!

Unknown said...

Who knew!! What a great post and the lines on all those pieces look familiar. You got a gem in that dresser!


Sally Annie Magundy said...

How fun is that to find out Thomas Edison had a furniture business line?!

Happy VTT!

Michelle said...

Lovely dresser! Looks like you may have something vintage, and yet so practical. And it does look fairly roomy. What an interesting company history to boot.

Stacey said...

I just love the streamlined designs on the dresser. And the history lesson was quite interesting:)

Miri said...

Great post! Glad this lovely dresser sent you on a quest for more information-I loved learning about Edison's furniture company!

Unknown said...

Cool! Very interesting history lesson on the dresser. My sister has a high chair similar to the one pictured a couple of photos down -- I wonder if it's a "Little Folks."

Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage said...

It is so interesting to know that bit of history about Thomas Edison. I love discovering the history of pieces I find. Thanks for researching it.

I'm glad you linked up to my Time Travel party.

I would love for you to join in on the fun for all three of my linky parties each week:


You can get the details here:

Each party runs for six days, so come on by!

Hope to see you there!
Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

Unknown said...

What a find you came upon! Some years ago we had similar luck at a local tag sale and purchased a highchair like the ones in your photo. We bought it because it was both cute and practical. Imagine our surprise when we found a typewritten paper label glued on the bottom reading "Thomas A. Edison, Factory Made, New Jersey, 1905." We would appreciate it if anyone could advise us on its authenticity. Thanks.