Sunday, August 3, 2014

"Not everything worth keeping

has to be useful.”  ~Cynthia Lord in  Rules 

The key was last week's item, and I am starting with the key again...
 
I saw this listed on Amazon for $14.97!  And it ties into today's show and tell.  I love little boxes...these are mini treasure chests from the past. 
The mini that you probably see more than others is the Lane chest.   Sometimes a little box like this more than words on a page symbolizes how much lifestyles have changed. 
The little chests date to 1925. Five years later, the firm's sales manager converted these miniatures into a great promotional idea: the company invited young women about to graduate from high school to pick up a free miniature chest at their local furniture store. By 1984 more than 15 million prospective Lane customers had received these promotional gifts.  It is hard to read even in person, but under the Lane logo is: Mainville Furniture Company - RD 3-  Rt 44 Bloomsburg PA (and, yes, I looked the store up...still in business!)
Edward Hudson Lane (1891–1973) founded the company in Altavista, Campbell County, Virginia, in 1912, at a junction of the Virginian and Southern railways, which allowed for easy transportation of materials to and finished products from the factory. After struggling through the first few years, Lane's fortunes received a boost during World War I when the company won a federal government contract to produce pine ammunition boxes. To meet wartime demands, Lane introduced an efficient assembly system at its factory. When the plant reconverted to the peacetime production of cedar chests, workers and management were able to adopt some of the mass production methods they had learned during the war emergency. Reaching new heights of production and prosperity in the 1920s, Lane began to advertise its products nationally.
These advertisements sought to equate the ideal of domesticity with a Lane "Hope Chest," in which a young woman stored clothing or home furnishings in anticipation of marriage. This was summed up in the company's tag line: "The gift that starts the home."

Lane advertisements reached a high point during World War II, persuading thousands of GIs leaving for overseas to purchase a Lane Hope Chest for the sweethearts they were leaving behind. Ads combined romantic images of men in uniform and their fiancees with patriotic slogans and the well-known face of national spokeswoman, and symbol of all things American, Shirley Temple.
In the 1950s Lane added a number of new product lines to its repertoire, including television cabinets manufactured for General Electric and occasional tables. These were followed in the 1960s and 1970s by new lines of bedroom furniture and recliners.

In 1987 Interco Corporation purchased the Lane Company in a hostile takeover. After Interco's successor, Furniture Brands International, filed for bankruptcy in 1992, the Lane facility in Altavista became one of the company's divisions slated for transfer abroad. The last Lane cedar chest to be manufactured in the United States rolled off the production line in the summer of 2001, and the plant closed for good, but the "Lane" company seems to still exist...from their web site..."Lane Furniture Industries is owned by Furniture Brands International which also owns other well known brand name companies... Broyhill, Thomasville, Drexel Heritage and Maitland Smith."  They also come up under the umbrella of the Heritage Home Group, but it really is hard to decipher what is made where.
 
For those who have the old large Lane chests--or if you are a reseller, there is a serious concern about the old style latches on all “Lane” and “Virginia Maid” brand cedar chests manufactured between 1912 and 1987, and they  need to be replaced. Chests can be identified by the brand name “Lane” or “Virginia Maid” located inside the cedar chest.  These chests are often handed down through families or purchased second-hand.  I saw this while I was researching for the article, and I thought it was important enough to copy and paste here.
From the recall site, "Consumers should immediately remove the latch from Lane/Virginia Maid cedar chests and contact Lane to receive new replacement hardware. This new hardware is easy to install by consumers in their homes and does not automatically latch shut. For certain chests made between 1912 and 1940, consumers will receive hardware that does not latch. For chests made from 1940 to present, consumers will receive hardware that does not automatically latch when closed and requires a person outside the chest to latch and lock the lid. If you own a similar hope chest or cedar chest that is not part of the recall, disable or remove the latch/lock.  Contact Lane toll-free at (800) 327-6944, Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT, or access their web site at http://www.lanefurniture.com/ to order the free replacement hardware. Consumers should have the chest's serial and style numbers, which are branded on the outside bottom or back of the chest, available when contacting Lane."

Even though Henri Cartier-Bresson is talking about the camera, I think this works for little treasure boxes also...“The creative act lasts but a brief moment, a lightning instant of give-and-take, just long enough for you to level the camera and to trap the fleeting prey in your little box.”


4 comments:

Chad Hilkemeier said...

Thank you for your post. I too am interested in Lane and specifically the miniature cedar chests I am collecting. I am searching for as much information as I can find specifically about the age of all of the different style of boxes distributed by Lane. To this end, I have a blog: lanecedarbox.wordpress.com. If you have additional information that would contribute to my project, let me know.
Thank you,
Chad

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