Wester, Kevin J. (ed.) / Consumed by fire : a collection of writings about the famous Wisconsin Chair Company fire, Port Washington, Wisconsin, February 19, 1899
A brief history of the Wisconsin Chair Company Port Washington, Wisconsin, pp. 1-10
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.
This material may be protected by copyright law (Title 17, US Code).| For information on re-use see: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright