The sale of items from the legendary late collector set new participation records for a Sotheby’s UK auction.
The R-Way Furniture Company was a furniture manufacturer based in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
The R-Way Furniture Company was initially founded in 1881 as the Mattoon Manufacturing Co, and by 1900 the business had grown to employ 800 workers on a site which covered 12 acres.1
When the company’s founder George B. Mattoon died in 1904, the company was renamed as the Northern Furniture Co. and went on to successfully produce a wide range of furniture including dining room tables and chairs, desks, bookcases and buffets.
In 1916 it was purchased by an arm of the C. Reiss Coal Company, and continued to produce furniture under the name of Northern until 1949 when the business changed its name to R-Way Furniture. In 1942 the company had opened a chain of 12 showrooms, in which customers could view products and order items from a catalogue.
R-Way went on to operate as a furniture company until 1992, when it began to phase out production at the factory. In 1993 the plant’s equipment was sold at a public auction, and the company finally ceased trading.2
Collecting R-Way furniture
Although not particularly collectible, the high quality of R-Way products means that they are still popular with buyers of solid, vintage furniture.
Full dining sets can sell for more than $6,000, whilst sideboards, desks, dressers and tables can fetch several hundred dollars in good condition.
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