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Antique Furniture/1890 School Desk from Minneapolis MN


Minneapolis O & SF desk
Minneapolis O & SF des  
Minneapolis O & SF Co.
Minneapolis O & SF Co.  
QUESTION: Robert, thank you for looking into the maker of my 1890s school-desk chair. I have continued to search online for a matching desk and found that my chair matches a school desk made by the Minneapolis Office & School Furniture Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The photo shows “Minneapolis O & SF Co.” embossed on the desk. Now I can see that the letters in the cast-iron filigree on the chair spell out “M O S F Co.” Judging from the photos online, it is one of the oldest and aesthetically designed folding school desk of the era. I found several of these desk-chairs for sale online, but cannot find out anything more about this company other than it operated c1895 to c1920. Have you heard of this furniture company or when it started? Aye, Allen, Sunnyvale Historical Society, CA

ANSWER: would you provide the other two pictures from before?  thanks

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

1890s school desk-chair
1890s school desk-chai  

1890s desk-chair detail
1890s desk-chair detai  
QUESTION: Robert, Here are the photos of my 1890s school desk-chair, with a fold up seat, in good working condition. The ornate iron filigree on the sides incorporates the letters MOSFCo., which stands for Minneapolis Office & School Furniture Co. This was the last chair in the chain of school desk-chairs, but the chair does not have the company name that is embossed on the desks. Thanks for your help. Allen, Sunnyvale Historical Society, CA

added info at bottom:

thanks for sending the older photos.

I am thinking that this is one of the companies American Seating in Grand Rapids eventually bought after the restraint of trade court case against them around 1905 or so.  Minneapolis Office and School Furniture was named in that suit along with several other companies.

I have been moving from one house to another for the last two months and do not have all my books moved yet, soon, very soon.  Online information on the company is scarce as you have found out.

this is the best of this type school desk.  none of the others i have seen have the intricate iron work like this.  you have to graduate to theater seating to see such nice iron work and designs.
july 1921

In the spring of 1887, some five years after Frank J. Luger took over the duties of secretary and treasurer of the Luger Furniture Company, the company broke ground for a new factory at North St. Paul and put up one building, fifty-six by one hundred feet and three stories high. They also built a single room, forty by fifty feet; two dry kilns, each thirty by sixty feet; a warehouse, fifty-six by one hundred and twenty-five feet, four stories high; and a few small buildings for storing lumber. This plant during the intervening years has been doubled in capacity and today is the largest in the west. The company also started a branch in Minneapolis, at first as sample rooms, and in 1890 the firm bought what was known as the Gilmore property at No. 173 Western avenue, which property it improved by erecting a building sixty by two hundred and seventy-five feet and four stories in height. Here the firm now maintains sample rooms and has its main office, and it also does its own jobbing. In 1892 the Lugers organized a separate company, the stockholders being members of the Luger family and others, and this concern has since been known as the St. Paul Table Company, of which Frank J. is also secretary and treasurer. The growth of this enterprise has been notable and its capacity has been doubled. Associated in the conduct of the Luger interest are five sons of John Luger, Sr., together with eight of his grandchildren. In 1919 he and his brother John, with their sons, purchased the Minneapolis Office and School Furniture Company and they manufacture dining room furniture. The Lugers are now operating four plants, confining each plant to specialty productions.

JOHNSON Edward M lawyer born at Pennacook NH Nov 24 1850 son of Luther Gage and Cornelia E Merrill Johnson educated at Pennsylvania Military Academy University of Minnesota Heidelberg University University of Berlin graduated from law school State University of Iowa Was member Minneapolis City Council 1883 90 president from 1889 1890 formerly judge of district court Now member Minneapolis Park Board Library Board Court House Commission president President Northwestern Casket Co also president Minneapolis Office and School Furniture Co Republican Office Guaranty Bldg Residence 925 4th St SE Minneapolis

from School Education May 1887

PUBLISHERS NOTICES The Minneapolis School Furniture Company is prepared for a vigorous spring campaign Read over their announcement send for their catalogue and patronize home industry The Sheldon Series embracing 2 arithmetics 2 algebras word studies and a series of readers and also supplementary reading is quite a new departure The publishers are of the opinion that a single author is not likely to construct a well balanced series of common school text books a series which gives due prominence to all the accepted and successful methods of teaching and undue prominence to none As in the building of a house varied talent is required including the mason the carpenter the painter and decorator so in the ideal series of textbooks a union of special talent must be used to produce it For several years this firm has been diligently at work securing the best educational talent east and west to work on their new series They now offer as a result of an immense amount of labor and expense the Sheldon Series

American School Furniture Company          

1899 - 1906

Manufacturer of school desks, church pews, and opera or theater seating.


1899:   Formed when Grand Rapids School furniture Company was merged with eighteen other school, church, and seating manufacturers from across the country. The local plant was then known as the Grand Rapids School Furniture Works of the American School Furniture Company.

1906: Name changed to American Seating Company.

The source, with permission of the author, is Grand Rapids Furniture: The Story of America’s Furniture City by Christian G. Carron, published by the Grand Rapids Public Museum. 1998.

Transcriber: Rebecca Smith-Hoffman


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robert klein


Regarding American antique, vintage, and collectible furniture I can help with wood identification, styles, age, periods, historical coatings, materials, techniques, repair, restoration, refinishing. Please read instructions for posting.


I have been in the antiques furniture and restoration business and in the sales of American antique furniture for 40+ years and have continued my education in the trade attending workshops and seminars through several organizations.

Professional Refinishers Groop, Int., AIC, Antiques Dealers Association

BA Florida State University BA University of West Florida 1971

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