THE SPRINGFIELD FURNITURE COMPANY is one of the largest enterprises of the kind in the State of Missouri, and is a manufacturing establishment of which the city of Springfield may well be proud. The business was established in December, 1891, and was incorporated with a capital stock of $25,000, and on the 1st of July, 1892, its stock was increased to $50,000. The first officers elected were Benjamin N. Massey, president; George M. Jones, vice-president; J. M. Price, general superintendent, and when the company was reorganized the following officers were elected: M. Holbrook, president; H. F. Fellows, vice-president; M. W. Coolbaugh, secretary and treasurer, and C. M. Price, manager. The plant is located in the eastern part of the city and the size of the factory buildings is 95x285 feet; the machine-room is 45x135 feet and the storage rooms are 50x150 feet. The buildings, two in number, are handsome two-story brick structures, the lower floor of one being used as a machine department. This firm manufactures chamber suits and bedsteads, all their articles being made of Arkansas hard oak wood, which is one best adapted for beautiful finish and lasting qualities. The motive power is furnished by a Corliss engine of eighty-five horse-power, and constant employment is given to about ninety workmen. Their goods are sold by traveling salesmen, and the territory covered embraces Texas, Arkansas, Indian Territory, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska. There are -no better or more perfectly fitted up furniture factories in the country than this, for all the machinery used is of the latest and most modern makes, with all the improvements known to furniture workers. Each machine is connected with the furnace, all shavings being conveyed thereto by means of air-pipes, thus economizing in fuel and doing away with dust and lessening the chance of fire. Their finishing and storage departments were completely destroyed by fire March 3, 1893, entailing a loss of $15,000 over and above all insurance. They have rebuilt in the most substantial manner, and the new office is a handsome two-story brick structure, supplied throughout with fire hose, water being derived from a large fire plug on the premises. The different departments are separated by brick fire walls with double iron doors, and in other ways they have taken every precaution against fire. All lumber used is first kept in the open air for several months, after which it is placed in the kilns, which have a capacity of 30,000 feet, and thoroughly dried under a heat of 100 to 135 degrees, until no further shrinkage is possible. It is an interesting and instructive sight to visit this mammoth establishment and see the systematic working of everything, and the goods manufactured here have come into successful competition with those of other factories, and have ably demonstrated their superiority and merit. The large patronage which they command not only demonstrates the beauty and substantial qualities of their product, but also that the affairs of the company are administered on correct business principles. The manager, Mr. Price, is a practical business man and learned his trade in England and in Grand Rapids, Mich. Mr. M. Holbrook, the president, was born in Summit County, Penn., in ---- but in 1860 left his native State and removed westward to Iowa, and after residing in various portions of the southeastern part of the State he engaged in banking at Missouri Valley, Iowa, continuing this occupation for about twenty years. He then came to Springfield, Mo., at the end of that time, and was connected with the American National Bank here for some time, but later became engaged in the manufacture of furniture, to which his attention has been devoted up to the present time. He was married in Iowa, to Miss Ellen Berkey, and five children have been born to them: Anna (Coolbaugh), Richard, Eleanor, Kate and Berke. Mr. Holbrook resides at 438 East Walnut Street, and he and his family are regular attendants of the Christian Church, Socially, he belongs to the A.F. & A.M. C. M. Price, the general manager, was born in England, and there learned the trade of a cabinetmaker. He came to this country in 1871 and first resided in Canada, but afterward removed to Grand Rapids, Mich., where he spent some years, connected with the leading furniture factories. While connected with the Phoenix Furniture Company of that place he superintended all the interior fine finish work upon the State capitol building at Austin, Tex., one of the finest buildings in the world. He had with him several of the foremen now in his employ and had full charge of and was manager of the furniture department of the State penitentiary of Texas for a period of three years. He is a man of long experience in the furniture business, having had about twenty-five years' experience. The company has excellent shipping facilities, having a switch to both the Gulf and the 'Frisco tracks running in all parts of their yards. He is a live member of the firm, and to his credit be it said that much of the success of the house is due to his unceasing efforts. He is a Democrat politically, and socially is a member of the K. of P., Lodge No. 21, of Springfield. He is married. M. W. Coolbaugh, the secretary and treasurer of the company, has been one of its active members since July, 1892. He was born in New Jersey in 1861, a son of A. F. Coolbaugh, who is living at Strandsburgh, Penn. He attended school at Blairstown, N. J., but removed west upon reaching manhood and started a Citizens' Bank in Nevada, Iowa, which business he conducted there for five years. He spent the same length of time in the National Bank at ------- and was cashier of the -------- Bank until June, 1892, when he came to Springfield and became connected with the Springfield Furniture Company. He was married to Miss Anna Holbrook, daughter of the president of the company, and they have a very pleasant home on the corner of Kimbark and East Walnut Streets. Mr. Coolbaugh is a Democrat. Being a shrewd and far-seeing business man he is prosperous, and deservedly so.
Springfield-Greene County Library