Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Rescued Empire Dresser
I recently had an opportunity to rescue a few pieces from an old (ANTIQUE)home that was inherited by my sister-in-law. This dresser was given to me, and I would really like to know it's age and any other history about the maker that you can give me. I did attempt to figure out as much as I could and it seems to bear the remnants of an Empire Furniture Company (Huntington, WV) paper type label on the back, but I am not certain. I know it is not a very valuable piece monetarily, but I wouldn't mind a basic estimate of it's value if you have an idea. I have just begun to remove the avocado green that her grandmother lovingly painted it back in the 60's, and discovered that it is clearly a decent looking quarter sawn oak veneer. I think it is possibly from the 20's or 30's, but I just haven't been able to find enough info to be certain. Please Help!
please tell me what i could have done to be more clear and more knowledgeable in order to have better helped you.
1900-1915 is when this was made. it is often called empire oak but is not empire period as empire period was 1820-50s. the top is quartersawn oak veneer, as i suspect the rest will be as well. it will look great when done.
There is little information on the company, here is some.
if you wish i can do some research but it will take some time.
Lumberman Charles Lloyd Ritter (October 6, 1865-December 22, 1945) was born in Muncy, Pennsylvania. In 1889, he came to West Virginia and entered the lumber business at Oakvale, Mercer County. Two years later he moved to Welch, where he organized the Tug River Lumber Company. Its offices later moved to Bluefield and then to Bristol, Virginia, before Ritter brought the company to Huntington in 1901.
Ritter settled permanently in Huntington, marrying Mabel McClintock, a Marshall College (now Marshall University) graduate, in 1902. He purchased many important commercial properties in the Huntington business district and invested in lumber, coal, gas, and mineral developments in West Virginia and nearby states. He was a director of the First National Bank of Huntington, president of the Ritter-Burns Lumber Company, the Ritter Hardwood Lumber Company, the C. L. Ritter Lumber Company, the Central Realty Company, the Huntington Land Company, the Rock Castle Lumber Company, the Turkey Foot Lumber Company, the Norfolk Land Company, the Empire Furniture Company, and others.
Ritter died in Huntington where he is remembered today in the name of Ritter Park, to which he donated acreage.
WEST VIRGINIA In History, Life, Literature and Industry
The Lewis Publishing Company, 1928 - Volume 4, page 62-63
CHARLES W. WATTS, president of the Watts-Ritter Dry Goods Company
of Huntington, is a successful business man who started his career with
neither capital nor influence, merely with such abilities and talents as he
possessed, which of themselves were of no ordinary merit. He has had a
career at Huntington for thirty years, and has risen from bookkeeper to
president of one of the leading wholesale houses of that city.
Mr. Watts was born at Webster, Ohio, in 1867, son of James M. and
Nancy (Collis) Watts, his father a native of Virginia and his mother of
Maryland. His father spent most of his active life in the iron industry at
Jackson, Ohio. He was a Democrat and a member of the Presbyterian Church.
Charles W. Watts was the second in a family of three children. His
schooling was consigned to the advantages of his home locality, and in 1887
he was keeping books for a firm at Point Pleasant, West Virginia. In 1888
he came to Huntington, and was for two years bookkeeper for the
Barlow-Henderson Company was succeeded by Biggs, Watts & Company, and in
1906 it became the Watts-Ritter Company, wholesale dry goods, with Mr.
Watts as president. The company has thirty traveling men covering territory
in Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky, and does an immense volume
of business in dry goods, notions and holiday goods. While this is the
business to which Mr. Watts gives most of his time and energies, he has
become connected with a number of other important business organizations.
He is a director of the First National Bank of Huntington and member of the
executive committee; is president of the Blue Jay Manufacturing Company,
overall manufacturers, selling their goods all over the United States; is
vice president of the Empire Furniture Company and a director of several
other companies in Huntington.
Mr. Watts married, in 1895, Miss Elizabeth Biggs, who was born in
Kentucky and died in 1904. In 1916 he married Ouida Caldwell, daughter of
the prominent Huntington banker and capitalist, the late James L. Caldwell.
Mrs. Watts finished her education in the Mary Baldwin Seminary at Staunton,
Virginia. She is a member of the Episcopal Church, while he is a
Presbyterian. Mr. Watts is a member of the Guyandotte Club and Guyan