RICHARDSON BROS & CO
FURNITURE MANUFACTURE, INDUSTRY WHICH MATERIALLY CONTRIBUTES TO THE KEYSER GROWTH AND ADVANCEMENT
A trade interest of Keyser, which like all great things,
had a small beginning, is the extensive furniture manufactory of
Richardson Bros & Co.
Messrs M (?G/C) and R (?G/C) Richardson two practical mechanics located in our city in 18(?76), and in 1880 commenced the furniture business in a small way on Davis Street, manufacturing cupboards and safes. Meetings with unexpected immediate success and encouragement in less than 12 months, the premises utilized proved which inadequate but their rapidly growing business, and the building on Armstrong St was occupied in the Echo office, was leased, and an addition 20X30 feet, two stories, added. A general lien of carpets and furniture was carried and a large retail trade built up.
The local demand for products of their own manufacture, led the Richardson Bros to essay a departure in this line on a larger scale, and accordingly in 1891, they disposed of their stock of furniture and undertaker's supplies (a department which had since been added) to J H Markwood. Lots were purchased from H G Davis & Bro on the north side of the Baltimore & Ohio tracks, and a building 60X120 feet in dimension was erected. It was equipped with the necessary machinery, and the manufacture of hardwood bedsteads, safes and cupboards was begun on a fairly large scale and for the trade only. At this time, Mr F E Hutchinson entered the firm and the name was changed from M G Richardson & Bro to Richardson Bros & co.
During the succeeding three years, and extensive and lucrative trade was built up, and preparations had been made for unusual activity in the Spring, when on Dec 3, 1894 the factory, its contents and the stock of lumber, etc, were entirely destroyed by fire.
This misfortune was a heavy blow, for scarcely 33 1/2 per cent of the value was covered by insurance; but, being young men of pluck, energy, push and determination, is but spurred Richardson Bros & co to greater efforts. No time was lost. the fire occurred on a Sat, and on Mon morning Mr M G Richardson was on his way to Cincinnati, O., to purchase the latest improved wood-working machinery; and the construction work on a new building had been begun under the supervision of Mr R G Richardson. Haste was necessary, in order to retain large orders, already placed, and hold the position gained by the intense application of a number of years. The bricks and mortar were actually heated, and, in a temperature of 6 degrees below zero, workmen rushed the building to completion inside of forty days.
The new machinery, principally made by the Egan Co., of Cincinnati, was the best money could buy, and included some 17 machines, viz:
Planer, rip saws 13, cut off saw, 4-sided moulder and sticker, re-saw machine, double-sided moulder, scroll saw, boring machine, rail machine, double drum sander, dove-tail machine, lathes, carving machine, jointer, etc.
The business so rapidly increased that it was soon found necessary to erect another building 50X120 feet in dimensions, which was occupied as a finishing and storage room, and shipping department. The last notable addition to the business occurred this Spring when at an expense of about $1,000, the latest improved steam dry kiln, run by a 44-inch fan, which has a capacity of 20,000 feet a week was instated.
The capital invested in this immense plant is fully $15,000; and last year's sales aggregated $20,000 in round numbers. the out-put includes oak bedroom suits, sideboards, hardwood bedsteads, kitchen safes and cupboards and employment is given to some twenty men, most of whom are skilled workmen. West Virginia timber is exclusively used, and the quality is specially selected, as Richardson Bros & co fully realize that each shipment is an advertisement, and that the reputation already gained can only be enhanced by a superior product. the year 1898 will witness a long step forward. A higher grade of furniture is being turned out and indications point to a gross annual business of probably $25,000. Shipments are made to Pennsylvania, Maryland and Ohio, besides the Virginias. the advantageous location along the tracks of the B&O RR affords perfect shipping facilities and insures when taken in connection with the superior equipment, the precept filling of all orders. When it is realized that the extraordinary progress of this business has been made in a period generally recognized as "hard times" the extent of the future growth of the business is hard to estimate. No more striking example of the reward which always follows honest effort, strict application to business and integrity, exists within our knowledge than is so fully exemplified in the career of Richardson Bros & Co.
Messrs M G Richardson and F E Hutchinson devote their time to the mechanical department, the former gentleman possessing rare adaptability in designing and carrying, and his exceptional knowledge of the art of wood-working has had much to do with the success achieved. The busy management of the firm is ably handled by Mr R G Richardson.
TRANSCRIBED OCTOBER 26, 2001 BY PATTI MCDONALD
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