Cushman Colonial Creation No. 4-181 (chair)

tj01September 15, 2007

Can anyone tell me about my Cushman Colonial Creation No. 4-181 chair? I have not been able to find any information on it. The chair back has a crved out heart on both sides at the top. I think it is a lovely chair and would like to know the history and value. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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THe colonial creations was introduced to the H.T. Cushman furniture line, in 1933. Don't know how many years they made colonial creations furniture. H T cushman was in business till 1970.

Try googling H.T. Cushman. You should find lots of info.
I have a what-not table by H.T. cushman.

Hope this helps.


    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 8:01PM
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From the information you sent here is what we know.

Cushman # 4-181
Cushman Style Name- Heart Back Slipper Chair
Years Produced- 34,35,,37,39,42
Book Value Range (depending on condition)- $150-$300
*Estimated Current Market Value (depending on condition)- $250-$375

We have 136 pieces of Cushman Colonial Creations in our collection currently. We have followed the auction values of Cushman Colonial Creations for some years now. Based on these we find that sometimes due to rarity and the cost of shipping various pieces may tend to sell for more or less that Book Value Range. We have included those variances, if any, for your consideration. The Book Value Ranges were determined using "The Complete Reference Guide to Cushman Colonial Creations" by Bradley J. Williams. The book is now out of print but can be ordered from the Bennington Museum at the ultimate value of any antique or collectable is determined by the market at the time and place of sale.

I hope this helps. I have included some information about the H. T. Cushman Manufacturing Company for your reading interest.

If I can be of further assistance feel free to call upon me.

Happy Cushmaning

John Gertz

The H. T. Cushman Company
At the age of 24, in 1862, a young Bennington native named Henry Theodore Cushman enlisted in the Union Army. For two years he served in the Quartermaster's department until mustering out of the service on September 20, 1864. A merchant since the age of 16, he moved back to Bennington and decided to try his hand in the manufacturing field. His first attempt involved making corks in a small North Bennington factory. Around this same time he married Eliza Hall, who would later bear him five children.
By the early 1870s, Henry Cushman decided to diversify his operation. With true entrepreneurial spirit, he invented several, now common, "novelties." These included such items as an eraser attached to the end of a lead pencil, the first ink eraser (called the ink eradicator), a children's "pencil box" with pencils, pen, eraser and ruler in one box, and some of the earliest roller skates, made entirely of wood (including a pocket version that fit in a small tube). To better market his novelties, Cushman established the United States Mail Supply Company. One of the first of its kind the country, this mail order business became very profitable. Child's Business Directory of 1880-1881 lists the business as "Cushman, Henry T., manufacturer of stationers' suppliers, specialties. West n[ear] Main, h[ome] Bank."
By 1889 Cushman's product line and manufacturing capacity outgrew his current facilities and company name. He moved the company to the former Dayton Colvin Mill on Prospect Street and changed its name to the H. T. Cushman Company. Upon moving into new quarters, Cushman ventured for the first time into the field of furniture production. His first products took the form of coat and hat hangers and racks. A salesman for the company came up with the idea for a towel and sponge holder for the bathroom, later to be called the "Ladies' Friend." With the success of these simple forms, Cushman soon added umbrella stands, portrait easels, music stands, wall pockets, book racks, foot rests, small catch-alls called "Jolly Catchers," and indoor grille work. Never one to fall behind the times, Cushman added folding screens and fire screens to his inventory. These screens soon became one of his biggest sellers at the end of the 19th century. The most popular screen depicted a mother cat and two kittens in front of a fireplace. For added realism, the cats were made of black rabbit fur.
In 1892, the company had again outgrown its facilities. Though keeping the old mill as storage, they moved the company's operation to a site on present-day Route 67A in North Bennington. On February 22 of that year, the H. T. Cushman Company was incorporated under the laws of the state of Vermont. Henry T. Cushman served as president and treasurer of the new corporation while Robert N. Squire served as secretary and Henry's son Arthur served as superintendent. At this point the company made around 150 different types of fancy furniture and employed between 30-100 people depending on production schedules.
At the turn of the century, Cushman started to phase out their earlier forms of furniture and focus on the newly popular Mission style. The soft woods used previously were replaced by more expensive hardwoods such as mahogany and oak. Though they mainly produced common forms, Cushman still had a knack for innovation. By the teens, the telephone started to become a common household device. Cushman jumped on this new technology and developed a line of stands specifically meant for using the telephone. Called the "Betumal," short for "beat 'em all," this stand had a hinged stool that folded under the table when not in use. Other more advanced features, such as a built-in directory, could be had for an extra cost. At the same time, the company also introduced a line of chairs called "Shynezy" that provided a space under the seat for shoe shining supplies. In the fall of 1913, the company produced a small line of stands for smoking accessories. Called "Smokers," these stands soon became very popular and included everything from cigar scissors and humidors, to detachable ashtrays on stands. With growth in production came growth in the physical plant. Additions were added to the original facility in 1919, 1922, and 1926.
By 1910, Henry Cushman brought four of his sons, John, William, Frederick, and Arthur, into the company. In 1922 Henry Cushman died and his son John Henry Cushman took over as president of the company. His brother William took the post of vice-president and introduced the practice of using spray guns to apply various finishes to the furniture. All of the sons, except for Arthur, stayed with company until retirement.
In the early 1930s, the demand for smoker's furniture, which peaked from 1918 to 1926, waned. The Cushman Company needed another line of furniture that would tap into the popular market. At this time the colonial revival was blossoming into a national craze. Antiques and reproductions from the 1700s and early 1800s were sought after not only by the most wealthy, but also by the regular consumer. In the spring of 1933 the Cushman Company jumped on the bandwagon and introduced its "Colonial Creations" line. Designed by Herman DeVries, a Dutch designer, the "Colonial Creations" line bridged the gap between antiques/reproductions and modern furniture. Every piece was designed to fit in the modern home and serve modern functions, using antique forms as their basis. Not only did DeVries look to antique furniture for inspiration, he also looked at items such as a blacksmith's nail box and a cobbler's bench. In 1936 Cushman introduced a companion line called "Modern Creations" to show off DeVries' considerable talent for new forms.
The "Stone House," across the street from the factory, had been the site of the marriage and the home of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Cushman from 1867 to 1922. By the 1930s, the company turned the house into a gallery that displayed, in idealized room settings, many of the different forms of furniture produced by Cushman. This display became not only a selling point, but also a tourist attraction. People traveled from all over the country to visit the Stone House and choose the furniture they wanted to purchase.
By the 1950s, the company had standardized production of all their various forms. Cushman now used yellow birch from Canada and New York for all of its furniture. This wood's color made it ideal for staining, and the grain could pass as maple, cherry, and walnut. The wood itself is tougher than maple, heavier than mahogany, more shock-resistant than walnut, and of greater bending strength than oak. Patrons could customize their order through a variety of wood stains, colors, and surface treatments. Since the inception of the line, customers could order their furniture "distressed" so that it had an antique feel.
As the 1950s came to a close, consumers were looking for something other than colonial revival. For years, Cushman rode the success of its "Colonial Creations" line. Now it was forced to create new designs and upgrade the aging factory. The introduction of their "Fairfield" line brought a bit of success, but the company still needed a cash infusion to modernize their production. In 1964 the Cushman Company was bought by General Interiors Corporation. General Interiors owned a number of furniture manufacturers across the country, the largest being Pennsylvania House Furniture. The Cushman Company was combined with the Shaw Furniture Company of North Carolina and called the Cushman/Shaw Division of General Interiors Corporation. General Interiors tried to increase sales by introducing a high-end oak furniture line and phase out portions of the "Colonial Creations" line. Yet sales never seemed to increase. In 1971 they sold the plant, but not the Cushman name, to Green Mountain Furniture who used the plant to construct Ethan Allen Furniture from 1972 until 1978. Green Mountain Furniture went out of business in 1980. Currently the Cushman factory is used by National Store Supply Products, a division of National Hanger Company, to manufacture plastic hangers. General Interiors, the owner of the Cushman name was sold to General Mills, Inc. and later to Maytag.

Bennington Museum

    Bookmark   September 25, 2007 at 12:58PM
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hi i have 4 chaires 3 are 4 28 and 1 is a 4 28a stamped on bottom can u tell me more

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 12:55PM
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I inherited a Cushman table with a chair/stool that swings out from under the table. The NO. is unreadable. Any info about this item?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 3:19PM
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This post is over three years old. You might try emailing John Gertz who posted the very informative reply to the OP above. He was kind enough to list his email addy and probably does not visit here often.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2011 at 4:56PM
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I just found a really nice 5-102 in the garbage .Its a nice peace any suggestions on the stain and refurbishing of it.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 7:16PM
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