loading background

Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

cover photo

Widdicomb Mantel Company Forced to Suspend

Acting under instructions of the bondholders, the Michigan Trust Company, as trustee, last night took possession of the Widdicomb Mantel Company’s factory. The factory is closed down this morning and will remain closed until the bondholders decide upon the coarse to be pursued in the future.

The Widdicomb Mantel Co. was organized ten years ago and was first known as the Gleason Wood Ornaments Co., making a line of wood ornaments by a patented process. The name was then changed to the present style, and a line of wood mantels was produced. In January 1891, John and Harry Widdicomb, whose interests had always been united, separated, and since then the Widdicomb Furniture Co. and the Widdicomb Mantel Co. have been entirely separate and distinct institutions. Harry Widdicomb being manager of the mantel company until the trust company took possession yesterday.

During the financial stress in 1893 the Widdicomb Mantel Co. issued bonds in the amount of $102,000 secured by a mortgage covering all its assets, real and personal. These bonds were given the creditors as security for their claims. The bonds bore 7 per cent interest, payable semi-annually and were to be paid in installments running over five years. It was hoped that with the return of better times the company would work out from under its indebtedness, but this hope has not been realized. The first installment of $10,000 was paid when due, but a new floating indebtedness unsecured of about $40,000 has developed and under the circumstances the bondholders decided that their interests demanded that they take possession of the plant. It is hoped and indeed expected that the company will resume operations for the fall trade and thus give its 300 employees work.

The capital stock of the company is $100,000 and the assets between $150,000 and $200,000. The directors are Harry Widdicomb, Enos Putman, Willard Barnhart, John W. Blodgett, John H. Bonnell, Constantine Morton, and C. H. Hackley of Muskegon.

Little work has been done at the factory for the last week or ten days, but there are a number of employees who are looking for their pay with more or less anxiety. To provide for the payment of the men certain accounts have been assigned to A.G. Hodenpyle, personally, who will act as trustee and collect the accounts as soon as possible. The employees will be paid off as quickly as money from these sources can be obtained.

Evening Press, May 22, 1895, page 1

Several of the mantel images in the Widdicomb Mantel Co. Catalog are cyanotype photographs.

The Widdicomb Mantel Co. Catalog, Grand Rapids Public Library, Coll. 232.


Like Us on Facebook
site by GRCMC