Wednesday, September 28, 2011

McCall Chair Co. ink blotter


This is an undated 9⅛-inch-by-4-inch advertising ink blotter for McCall Chair Co. in Cornelius, North Carolina (a northern suburb of Charlotte). The blotter is touting the company's "Fashion Line," specifically the No. 90 swivel chair and the No. 350 platform rocker.

McCall Chair Co. was founded by Grover McCall and was in business from about 1946 to 1981.1 At its peak, the furniture manufacturer employed more than 50 people. In the 1960s, a new platform rocker might have cost about $38. We know that because one of McCall's original platform rockers is preserved at the Carl Sandburg Home, a historic site in Flat Rock, N.C.

James McCall, grandson of Grover McCall, described to Ashville.com how one of the company's chairs would have been manufactured:
“This entire chair was made in North Carolina,” said McCall. Every piece of the chair was crafted in the Cornelius factory, except for the springs and textiles which were manufactured by other local companies. McCall Chair Co. started with raw lumber, constructed the chair frames, added their signature corner glue blocks, painted and finished the frames, added the springs, and then added cushions and upholstery.
An upholsterer handled the assembly of the chair. At McCall's in the 1950s and 1960s, an upholsterer might have assembled about 40 chairs in a good week and earned $1.75 per chair.

McCall's chairs were considered to be high-quality, reasonably priced pieces.

James McCall told Asheville.com that he regrets he did not document more of the company’s history before it closed. At the very least, this ink-blotter advertisement is one more small piece of that history that will be preserved.

Footnote
1. Information on McCall Chair Co. came from these two articles: "Cornelius was a seat of chair making following World War II" on Cornelius Today and "Sandburg History Hits Home for McCall Family" on Ashville.com.

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