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Wester, Kevin J. (ed.) / Consumed by fire : a collection of writings about the famous Wisconsin Chair Company fire, Port Washington, Wisconsin, February 19, 1899
([1997])

A brief history of the Wisconsin Chair Company Port Washington, Wisconsin,   pp. 1-10


Page 3

Now, then, the importance of this industry to our city and her
reputation is great, and its influence far reached. As before said, it
now employs three hundred and fifty hands, which if we use the
basis adopted by statisticians, represents bread and butter for
fifteen hundred people, one-half of the city's population. It has
been the great factor in building up and beautifying our city, and its
life marks an era of prosperity in our city never before known, a
prosperity which must multiply in a ratio corresponding with the
growth of this and other industries.
Four years is but a moment in a man's life, and anyone who
distinguishes himself in commerce within that period deserves
credit for his accomplishment. Mr. F. A. Dennett, the president
and treasurer of the company, founded the business four years ago.
I can remember well when he came down here at that time from
Sheboygan, and converted an abandoned planing mill into a chair
factory. Possessing ample capital and a treasury filled with energy
and business capacity, he succeeded, and has built up an immense
industry within the pulse beat of the ordinary life of great houses.
He is yet a comparatively young man, and with the past as a
criterion the future certainly promises an expansion of operation
that can not be defined.
The planing mill, the original, from which grew the plant now
operated has become overshadowed by other buildings, and lost its
identity, so to speak. It was two stories high, 60 x 120 feet in area.
The buildings now making up the plant are as follows: 60 x 120
feet, three stories, brick; 40 x 60 feet, three stories; 30 x 50 feet,
three stories; 50 x 180 feet, three stories; 60 x 120 feet, three
stories.  These are supplied with the latest machinery and
conveniences, such as electric lights, steam heat, automatic
sprinklers, etc. Motive power is furnished by two engines and
three boilers.  For fire protection besides the sprinklers, the
company also has a powerful steam pump with a throwing capacity
of 10 two-and-one half inch streams, fifteen hundred feet of hose,
and hydrants at convenient points throughout the grounds.
About four acres of land are used. The factory is on the left of
the slip from the harbor, and the warehouse on the right. Vessels
can reach almost any part of the plant. The company also operates
a saw mill up north, where it owns valuable lumber lands, and the
product is brought here in vessels owned by the company. The
manufactures consist of a full line of all descriptions of rocking
chairs. The officers and active managers of the company are F. A.
Dennett, president and treasurer; A. Dennett, vice-president; J. R.
Dennett, secretary.


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