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Mahogany Association Labels

Mahogany Association Issues Copyright Labels

The Mahogany Association is announcing to the trade, in 12 publications, the issuance of two mahogany labels to be placed upon mahogany furniture eligible to receive them. The Red Label is to be placed on furniture made of solid mahogany lumber. 

The Blue Label is for furniture, particularly case goods, in which mahogany lumber and mahogany plywood are used. 



The Mahogany Association has also issued a circular that goes to furniture manufacturers and furniture dealers. The circular, going into full details as to the mahogany labels, points out that the classification of furniture is the same as was agreed upon some years ago by the Federal Trade Commission and the various furniture organizations. In these rules the designated wood applies to exterior surfaces on a piece of furniture in its regular position in the room. For instance, a dresser entitled to use the genuine mahogany label would be one in which the exterior framework is of solid mahogany lumber and the exterior surfaces in mahogany plywood; the back interior or unexposed surfaces need not be of mahogany to make the piece eligible for the label. The same applies to the solid genuine mahogany labels except the exposed surfaces are made entirely of solid mahogany lumber.

The Labels

The labels are issued in the form of decalcomania transfers in order to prevent any possibility of a label being taken off one piece of furniture and applied to another. It is possible to remove a decalcomania label but not possible to reapply it.

The Mahogany Association is planning an advertising and publicity campaign direct to the public, and the thought behind the mahogany labels is to give to the furniture bearing them the standing and significance of “Sterling” on silver or “18 Carat” on gold. The mahogany labels were designed after numerous conferences with manufacturers and dealers. The final form constitutes a label that is entirely acceptable to the trade and also meets the requirements of such institutions as the Better Business Bureaus and Federal Trade Commission.

Manufacturers Approve

The Association reports that a sufficient number of manufacturers of mahogany furniture have already indicated that they will use the labels to insure the success of the idea. These manufacturers have felt for a long time that the furniture they manufacture from genuine mahogany should not have to compete with furniture that is not of mahogany at all or at best only partly mahogany. Since the labels do not carry the manufacturers’ name and no address, these labels cannot be objectionable to department stores and furniture dealers who have the problem of the curbstone broker to combat. *

Type of Mahogany

The mahogany labels also provide a space for imprinting the particular kind of mahogany used in case a manufacturer uses only one kind and wishes to have that indicated on the label. In most cases, however, in a line of furniture using lumber and veneers, it is frequently the case that mahogany of more than one origin is used and for that reason it was deemed desirable not to attempt to put out three separate labels to cove the three general types on mahogany: tropical American mahogany (Honduras), African mahogany, and West Indian mahogany (Cuban). The circular that accompanies the labels also shows a map of Africa, Central and South America on which are indicated the sources of the three species of genuine mahogany.

The circular states that the label indicates value but not the price, and goes on to say, “Two pieces may contain approximately the same amount of mahogany. One may be simple in design, easy to construct with maximum waste and labor and maximum machine operation in quantity production. It may be a pleasing, substantial and enduring piece of merchandise, very moderately priced. On the other hand, the piece may be of a design that is wasteful in material, difficult to make, requiring a maximum of expert handwork, very exact in minute detail, hand finished, and in limited production. Both pieces may be of genuine mahogany, but one may cost several times as much as the other. For soundness of construction and excellence in design and finish you will have to rely upon reputation of the retailer and the manufacturer of the furniture.” The mahogany labels should be effective in making furniture more desirable in the eyes of the public.

*Note: A number near the bottom of the label identified each manufacturer, i.e. Imperial Furniture Company of Grand Rapids was 123, Colonial Furniture Company was 210, and Hekman Furniture, also of Grand Rapids was 542. Furniture company numbers identified so far are have been listed here. Unfortunately, at this time no list of all the companies and numbers has been located.

Excerpted from the Furniture Record, January 1936, pages 24-25.



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