My New (Really Old) Find

You know how a few weeks ago I was sharing all the goodies from my junking adventures? Well, I purposely left out the best one because I wasn’t sure whether or not we would end up together and at the time, it seemed like the boat had sailed and I missed it.

Let me back up. I was on one of my junking adventures and it was the first stop of the day. A few days prior, I had done some scouring on Kijiji (it’s like a Craiglist-type of service, in case you are not familiar with it). I’d scribbled down a few estate sales, garage sales, and vintage markets I wanted to check out, also jotting down a few of the items advertised for sale at these various places. So the first stop was at 8AM and it was a garage sale. I’d written “vintage china” beside the address so I knew the reason I’d wanted to go. The real purpose of jotting down some of the items was in case I got tired of going to sales or if I was running low on my allotted amount of cash, I could prioritize the sales (I’ve got various strategies for these types of marathons and that is one of them). Anyway, as I approached the first garage sale (it was advertised as an estate/reno sale in a garage), I saw the vintage table immediately and pretty much gasped. There were only a few other people at the sale when I arrived, so I decided to look at what I came for (vintage china) and pick out a few pieces before they got snatched up by someone else. By the time I finished up with the china, and also negotiating a price for a really beautiful crystal decanter, the sale was getting busy and I was starting to feel anxious (I really can’t go to those types of sales and make decisions when other people are pushing themselves in to me). So I left the sale with my few little treasures and without inquiring about the table.

As I was was waiting in line at the next sale the regret hit me like a bag of bricks. Why didn’t I ask about that table? It was so beautiful and it was exactly what I’ve been looking for for my space. How stupid. But of course, it was about an hour later and I was convinced the table would be gone, so I tried to forget about it.

That evening the table kept popping in to my head. What can I say, I have an obsessive personality (don’t worry, I’m not a stalker or anything – I find something I love and I give it my undivided attention. Okay, maybe that sounds a little stalker-ish. I swear, I’m not a stalker!). Anyway, I was mostly mad at myself for not even asking about the table. I tried to push the table out of my head, but it there was no use.

Then a few days later I was back on Kijiji looking for upcoming estate and vintage sales (I just love them!). And there was a 2nd sale at the same location! And the table was in one of the photos! I basically died. I couldn’t wait until the next sale day and couldn’t bare the thought of losing the table a second time, so I immediately emailed the seller telling him how much I loved the table and how much I wanted it. It turned out that he remembered me from the first sale and was happy to hear from me. And was willing to sell me the table.

I guess the rest is pretty self-explanatory, I bought the table. But it was truly meant to be mine. This thing is absolutely amazing. And beautiful. And the funny part is, when I went to pick up the table, the seller told me he had gotten quite a few inquiries about it at his garage sale, but hadn’t felt quite right about any of the potential buyers, so hadn’t been willing to budge on the asking price. It sounds a little strange, but it was a very special piece to him and his wife (and yes, there were some tears seeing it go).

Canada Furniure Manufacturers Limited Vanity Table
Before I bought the table, I did as much research as I could. The table was made in Ontario, Canada in 1909 by Canada Furniture Manufacturers Limited. The most special part of the table is that it still has the original maker’s mark and thankfully has not seen too much action in the last 100+ years – it still has all of the original hardware, even the original wooden casters, and only the table top has a newer coat of varathane (pre-1993). The rest of the piece has not been re-finished and has the original stain. I want to express my gratitude for all the previous owners of this table and the respect and integrity they had for preserving the piece! I did a bit more research in to the piece and found out it is apparently from the Stickley Era, which was the arts & crafts/mission style furniture era. That definitely explains why I love this piece – arts & crafts style homes are my absolute favorite. Canada Furniture Manufacturers Limited was an amalgamation of quite a few Canadian furniture companies operated out of Ontario (with showrooms in Toronto, Ontario and Winnipeg, Manitoba) and controlled by the Siemons Brothers. It seems that around the turn of the century, a lot of smaller furniture manufacturers were popping up in Ontario and most were bought up by Canada Furniture Manufacturers Limited a few years after they’d started, leaving CFM basically the only company mass producing furniture at that time. By about 1930 most of the furniture factories went kaput due to the depression.

The seller directed me to a furniture catalog at the public library from 1908 that shows some of the furniture manufactured by this company around the time this table was being manufactured. I was also able to find a bit of research on the factories themselves. I believe that my table was actually built in the Wiarton Siemons Brother Table Factory which opened in 1901 (and was destroyed in a fire in 1912), but of course I’m not entirely sure. The handwritten label on my table has a factory code on it, but I was unable to find reference of this anywhere. The Wiarton factory was built right across the street from a lumber mill, so sourcing the wood for the furniture was simple. Here’s a illustration I was able to find of the factory:

tablefactory_21feb1901

Photo sourced from Postcards From The Bay (if you click on the photo it will take you directly to the place I sourced most of this information – it’s a really interesting read)

So yeah, if you can’t tell, I’m really pleased with my new (very old) table and all of the history attached to it. It is truly a special piece to me. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where our things come from. I’ve really been making an effort to put more thought in to purchases in the hopes that I can pare back on what I bring in to my home, as well as only bring in items that are truly special. Plus, I’m a huge sucker for a great story.

Antique Vignette

Great place to display my oddities too (I collect vintage family portraits of random people who have no relation to me)!

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