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Kling Factories descendents to give presentation on history, looking for those with connections

September 28, 2011
Westfield Republican
CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTION — This year is the bi-centennial celebration of the founding of Chautauqua County.

This year is also the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Kling Factories in Mayville, when Swedish immigrant John A. Kling bought the Chautauqua Spring Bed and Lounge Company from the VanCise family in April of 1911. He renamed it the Chautauqua Cabinet Company, which was one of five plants organized under the Kling Factories name. Over the years the company employed many residents from Mayville and the surrounding area.

As part of the Chautauqua County Historical Society’s bi-centennial program, William Kling and James Kling will be giving a presentation at the Bratton Theater in the Chautauqua Institution on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 2:30 p.m. The program will feature a history of the Kling Factories and the organization and operation of the website They are hoping that some area folks with Kling Factories connections will come to the presentation and reminisce about the good old times.

James and William also made a similar presentation to the Carroll Historical Society in Frewsburg on Monday, Sept. 19. The Frewsburg Furniture Company was one of the five plants in Chautauqua County operating under the Kling Factories.

John Kling was president of Kling Factories from 1911 to 1934 when he passed away. His sons, Arvid and Denold, took over the operation at that time. Arvid retired in 1955 and Denold passed away in 1961. Then in 1962 the company was sold to the Baumritter Company of which Kling became a division along with Ethan Allen and others.

Bill Kling, Arvid’s son, and Jim Kling, a grandson, were fortunate to come into the possession of key Kling Factories documents in the early 1990s with the help of the Ethan Allen management at the Mayville plant. Utilizing these documents, Bill and Jim are able to assist people who have come into possession of Kling furniture by sharing information such as Kling catalogs, Kling marketing brochures for specific suites, wholesale price sheets showing when suites were made and copies of Kling advertisements in homemaking magazines such as Good Housekeeping and Better Homes and Gardens. In 2008 James Kling, a professor at Niagara University, opened a website where owners of Kling furniture can read about the company and order a research package to receive documents related to their specific furniture pieces, Through the website hundreds of Kling furniture owners have come to appreciate the history of their pieces of furniture.

As said earlier, Bill and Jim Kling have heard from many owners of Kling furniture. However, they also want to hear from former Kling employees or their children about experiences at the factory. Any good stories about the olden times at the Kling plant would be welcome. They are also interested if anyone in the area has Kling furniture, especially if it was made before 1940. From the documents they have good archives about the 1940 to 1962 era but very limited information on the furniture made earlier. Actually, they have no record of any furniture made between 1911 and 1925.

During World War II the Kling Factories had contracts with the US Government for making equipment for the war effort. Bill Kling remembers a gun stock reject that his dad gave him when he was about 8 years old. If anyone has one of these gun stocks or has any information about other products Klings made for the military, they would sure like to hear about it.

If you would like to contact them, they can be reached by email at or Jim can also be reached at: Klinginfo, PO Box 803, Lewiston, N.Y. 14092.

One of the documents received is the time log book for 1911 to 1915. During that period the Chautauqua Cabinet Company employed a total about 150 different people. Below is a list of their names. Please note that on the first payroll period there were just nine employees, who John Kling inherited from the previous owner. As of Dec. 12, 1914 the time log shows that 38 were employed. It would be great if some of their descendents are still in the area and contacted the Kling family relating some passed down tales of Kling Factories. Also if anyone has old photos or other documents relating to Kling Factories, the Klings would appreciate receiving copies.

Employee name Start date

Martin Stewart 20-May-11

G W Parkhurst 20-May-11

Charles Beach 20-May-11

Conrad Henderson


Charles Justin 20-May-11

Frank Johnson 20-May-11

William Geertson 20-May-11

Hiram Newton 20-May-11

Frank Fox 20-May-11

Emil Carlson 27-May-11

Vernon Henderson 3-Jun-11

M B Peterson 3-Jun-11

Arvid Kling 27-May-11

R Q Ottarson 3-Jun-11

Gust Lindross 3-Jun-11

W A Dudley 10-Jun-11

A J Pennock 17-Jun-11

Phillip Hangen 17-Jun-11

W Bedell 1-Jul-11

Ward Marsh 1-Jul-11

August Swanson 1-Jul-11

August Rudwall 1-Jul-11

Arthur Jacobson 1-Jul-11

Ray Caswell 8-Jul-11

Martin Stokes 29-Jul-11

Charles White 5-Aug-11

Ray Naeser 5-Aug-11

Sherman Wilcox 12-Aug-11

Paul Hitchcock 19-Apr-13

Ed Hitchcock 12-Aug-11

S W Clark 12-Aug-11

A McCray 2-Sep-11

R Jacobson 30-Sep-11

C L Mosher 30-Sep-11

Foster Babcock 14-Oct-11

H F Brown 14-Oct-11

Ed Morse 14-Oct-11

Ed Cox 28-Oct-11

C D Woodworth 4-Nov-11

A Carlson 11-Nov-11

E S McCray 18-Nov-11

R R Perkins 25-Nov-11

A K Parkhurst 25-Nov-11

H O Ball 25-Nov-11

George Ford 9-Dec-11

Herman Rider 16-Dec-11

T Carlson 23-Dec-11

Charles Johnson 2-Sep-11

N Bagslay 20-Jan-12

H Ridge 27-Jan-12

W Helms 17-Feb-12

A Westman 17-Feb-12

Roy Tinhagen 24-Feb-12

S Wiggers 9-Mar-12

G Lambert (Lammers)


H Salisbury 9-Mar-12

A B Lafferty 23-Mar-12

Floyd Gould 20-Mar-12

F J Palmer 20-Apr-12

J W Ireland 25-May-12

A Estus 1-Jun-12

Arthur Estus 15-Feb-13

F J Palmer 13-Apr-12

H Gurtson 13-Apr-12

A Orsell 6-Jan-12

Garfield Force 20-Jan-12

William King 29-Jun-12

Ross Estus 6-Jul-12

Leo Hitchcock 29-Jun-12

Leo Hitchcock 28-Jun-13

Clarance Donbuger 20-Jul-12

C M Durk 3-Aug-12

George Huttenbacher


R Middleton 24-Aug-12

Ray Carlson 24-Aug-12

Ray Anderson 7-Sep-12

C Beau Jean 28-Sep-12

Harold Beau Jean 30-Mar-12

George Beckert 28-Sep-12

Homer Ireland 5-Oct-12

Francis Rieger 5-Oct-12

Leigh Estus 12-Oct-12

C B Devines 12-Oct-12

Andrew Carlson 23-Nov-12

Arthur Parkhurst 23-Nov-12

R L Maxwell 23-Nov-12

George Plankuck 23-Nov-12

D E Ruland 14-Dec-12

Bernett Abbey 7-Dec-12

Victor Peterson 14-Dec-12

E Williamson 21-Dec-12

C E Helgran 30-Nov-12

D Frisby 4-Jan-13

Frank Caswell 19-Oct-12

Ray Caswell 5-Oct-12

U D Wiand 8-Feb-13

N S Harrington 15-Feb-13

Henry Bitely 1-Mar-13

D Jacobson 19-Apr-13

S J Ireland 12-Apr-13

Fred Smith 2-Aug-13

McKinley Lathrop 2-Aug-13

Charles Verity (Nerity)


Fred Cole (?) 30-Aug-13

Bert Watters 27-Sep-13

Frank Berringer 27-Sep-13

Orr Daniels 27-Sep-13

Leslie Brainard 23-Aug-13

Leslie Brainard - rehired


Elsie Brumagin ?? 11-Jul-14

William Mattison 30-Aug-13

Frank C Baker 23-Aug-13

Leroy Johnson 27-Sep-13

Bert Speer 11-Oct-13

C G Hoyt 11-Oct-13

Joseph Crawford 18-Oct-13

Arthur Estus 22-Nov-13

Lewis Lennon 29-Nov-13

Stanley McKay 29-Nov-13

Will Lerow 13-Dec-13

Palmer Carlson 1-Nov-13

Tim Hagen 28-Feb-14

M V Wilcox 14-Mar-14

P Tsackson (sp??) 14-Mar-14

O P Rice 14-Feb-14

Elam Adams 30-Aug-13

Claude Kelsey 11-Oct-13

Frank Manchester 1-Nov-13

William Springer 9-Aug-13

Glen Arnold 21-Mar-14

Bert Ball 21-Mar-14

Frank Barringer 21-Mar-14

Leo Hitchcock 16-May-14

S P Weaver 20-Jun-14

August Swanson 5-Sep-14

Irving Chapman 5-Sep-14

Fred Smith 2-Aug-13

Fred Cole (?) 30-Aug-13

Leroy Johnson 21-Mar-14

Floyd Fluke 7-Nov-14

S Schmidt 31-Oct-14

J L Main 14-Nov-14

Andy Carlson 31-Aug-14

Austin Decker 28-Nov-14

Kersey (sp?) Baker

Anton Anderson 23-Jan-15

F Lovell 23-Jan-15

Milton Carlson 27-Jan-12


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