American Manual Arts Suppliers

Much of the philosophy and emphasis of the Art & Crafts movement was on the use of manual arts in regard to bench made furniture, metalwork, textiles and other items. Whether or not this philosophy was practiced by commercial furniture manufacturers is a debatable thesis unto itself. Nonetheless, there was certainly a wide ranging amount of manual training in schools of all levels, in craft societies and guilds, as well as published do-it-yourself books and plans. The following section highlights books of plans for the home craftsman, journals regarding furniture construction, and companies that supplied do-it-yourself products relating to furniture. Period books that deal solely with woodworking techniques and tool use have been excluded to keep the focus on actual furniture plans and associated products.



University of Chicago woodworking class 1906



A - Z


A.H. Abbott & Co.

·         Chicago, IL, ca. 1900 - 1930s?

·         supplier of Pyrography equipment used for wood burning technique of decorating tabourets, boxes etc., as often made in pine/poplar/basswood by home craftsmen




Frederick A. Adams

·         1924, “Projects in Furniture Making”, Bruce Publishing Co.

·         plans for Mission chairs, rockers, tables etc.




A.S. Boyle Co.

·         Cincinnati and Toronto

·         1925. “Beautiful Floors, Woodwork, and Furniture” booklet of finishing products and processes




Louise Brigham

·         1909, “Box Furniture”

·         as advertised in Gustav Stickley’s “The Craftsman”, box themed furniture plans


Building Age

·         early 1900s to 1920s ?

·         periodical with articles on building construction and occasional Mission furniture plans, February 1911 copy shown below containing plans for a chair and desk




Myron G. Burton

·         Director of Vocational and Manual Training Instruction in the Public Schools of Kansas City, Missouri

·         1915, “Shop Projects Based On Community Problems”, Ginn & Co., Boston, New York Chicago, San Francisco, Columbus; 382pp. 60 plans of furniture and small wares, plus shop drawing, tool processes, varieties of timber, finishing, joinery, tools and sharpening




Crater and Holt

·         ca. 1913 - 1914. “Easy To Make Furniture”

·         designs were sold through the Grand Rapids Furniture Record (magazine/journal) to manual instructors, students, and home craftsmen



ca. 1914 logo (facsimile from Carron et. al. 1998)


Fred Crawshaw

·         1906, 1912, 1921. “Problems in Furniture Making” The Manual Arts Press, Peoria, IL; contains plans for 40 bench made Mission manual arts school projects; also contains information on construction techniques and finishes

·         1915 “Furniture Design For Schools and Shops” The Manual Arts Press, Peoria IL; contains plans for tabourets, pedestals, stools, umbrella racks, book shelves, wall cabinets, screens, chests, various tables, costumers, chairs and seating




William A. De Vette

·         “100 Problems in Woodwork”; at least 6 editions from 1927 to 1940, Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, WI

·         100 sets of plans, mainly Mission style furniture, plus toys etc.

·         projects taken from the “Industrial Arts Magazine”




Louis Stoughton Drake Inc.

·         Boston, MA

·         reeds, chair cane and basketry materials as well as bases and frames for serving pieces, baskets, tables, chairs, bowls, coasters, trays, picnic and sewing chests, lamp shades, flower baskets, tea wagon, umbrella stands, book wagons, plant and sewing stands, planters, hampers, swings etc.


Catalog: 1920




John T. Fallon

·         1917. “How to Make Concrete Garden Furniture and Accessories”, 105 pp.

·         The Selection and Testing of Material; How to Proportion and Mix the Materials; Making Forms and Placing the Concrete; How to Make Garden Walls, Steps and Other Simple Utilities; How to Make Sundials, Benches and Swimming Pools; Bird Baths, Lanterns, Pottery and Water Gardens; Making Concrete Garden Frames and Garden Rollers




Frost and Adams Co.

·         Boston, MA

·         supplier of pyrography equipment used for wood burning technique of decorating tabourets, boxes etc., as often made in pine/poplar/basswood by home craftsmen


Catalog: 1900




Grand Rapids Fibre Cord Co.

·         Grand Rapids, MI, early 1900s – ca. 1930s

·         supplier of ‘fibre cord’ material and plans for do-it-yourself home craft weaving of general line of furniture and lamps


Catalogs: 1924, 1925


1924 1925


Ira S. Griffith

·         1912, (1919 8th edition shown below) "Correlated Courses In Woodwork & Mechanical Drawing" - Professor of Industrial Education, University Of Illinois. Oak Park, IL. Manual Arts Press, Peoria, IL.; 238 pp., 97 sets of Mission style plans

·         copyright 1912, “Advanced Projects in Woodwork” - Assistant Professor of Manual Arts, Bradley Polytechnic Institute, Peroria IL. Manual Arts Press, Peoria IL.; 3 exercises and 48 sets of plans for household accessories and Mission furniture


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Frank Halstead

·         1913, 87 hand drawn plates – Mission furniture plans


Fred T. Hodgson

·         1910. “Practical Cabinet Maker and Furniture Designer”; numerous plans for the entire historical range of furniture making including examples of Mission style, plus stains, finishes, polishes etc.

·         1917 2nd edition. “Modern Carpentry”, 2 volumes; published by Frederick J. Drake & Co. for Sears Roebuck & Co.; geometry, techniques, reference tables, finishing, structural problems etc. in building construction and casework


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Home-Craft Furniture

·         supplier of information and various products for home made Mission furniture such as plans, hinges, handles, Spanish moss pillow stuffing, wood and finish descriptions etc.


Catalog: early 1900s




S.C. Johnson Co.

·         supplier of stains including “Mission”, “Fumed”, “Flemish” etc., and finishes for furniture, and home woodwork, floors, doors, trim, etc.

·         produced catalogs and brochures with instructions and methods for both furniture making and finishing


Catalogs/brochures: 1921 and 1914


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King’s Woodworking and Carpentry

·         Charles A. King, American Book Company, 1911

·         covers range of topics from forestry and lumber production, tools, techniques and joinery, finishes, and plans for basic Mission style pieces


The Manual Training Magazine

·         published quarterly by the University of Chicago Press, edited by Charles A. Bennett, Dept. Head, Dept. of Manual Arts, Peoria, IL

·         advertised in Gustav Stickley’s Craftsman magazine in 1902

·         presumably contained articles on furniture construction (?)


William S. Marten

·         1917. “Manual Training - Play Problems for Boys and Girls” MacMillan Co. NY

·         not explicitly a furniture reference but a woodworking skills manual with plans for toys, musical instruments, artwork, birdhouses etc.




M.W. Murray

·         1905. “Problems in Woodworking”, Manual Arts Press, Peoria, IL

·         40 sets of plans for household accessories and simple Mission furniture reflecting grade school levels 7 to 9




Own-Craft Studios

·         Grand Rapids

·         1914. “Own Craft Details for Furniture Made at Home”; published by S.C. Johnson Co. to promote sales of wood finishes, featured furniture designs with square and rectangular cutouts


L. Day Perry

·         1940 (earlier printings?), published by Cas. A. Bennett Co. Inc., Peoria, IL

·         instructions for caning, reed, and splint seats and panels for Mission style furniture




Popular Mechanics

·         “Mission Furniture, How To Make It” Parts 1 - 3,  and supporting books on lamps, “Arts-Crafts Lamps / How To Make Them” and “Lamps and Shades in Metal and Art Glass”, plus others such as “Wood-working for Amateur Craftsmen” by Ira S. Griffith, containing plans for small projects (see also separate listing for Griffith, above)

·         Popular Mechanics produced a series of three books in 1909, 1910, and 1912 containing 98 furniture plan sets with descriptions of construction, staining, and finishing techniques; some plans are copies or variations of Charles P. Limbert and Gustav Stickley; these books are available as contemporary reprints and digital reproductions.


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Radford Architectural Company

·         Chicago, IL, ca. 1908 - 1920s?

·         Radford published several books with bungalow and home plans over the period of 1908 to the 1920s; many of the books included Mission furniture designs and plans; examples follow.

·         1909 - twelve volume set of books covering various trades and home furnishings including a volume on furniture design and construction entitled: “Radford’s Carpentry, Building, and Architecture / Equipment of the Home Shop – Use and Care of Tools – Models for Workshop Construction – Hammered Metal Work – Volume XI / The Radford Architectural Company 1909”

·         1911 “Radfords’s Details of Building Construction”; a book of scaled drawing plates covering residence construction and finishes, plans for built-ins, cases and cupboards, and pieces of Mission period furniture like Morris chairs and library tables

·         1921 “Architectural Details, For Every Type of Building”; a book of scaled drawing plates covering homes, cottages, barns, plans for built-ins, cases, buffets, cupboards, kitchen nooks, and pieces of Mission period furniture like arm chairs, tables, drafting boards etc.

·         1921 “Radford’s Cyclopedia of Construction, Vol. XI”; including sections “Equipment of the Home Shop”, “Use and Care of Tools”, “Hammered Metalwork”, and “Models for Home Workshop Construction” which includes halftone photos and line drawings for dozens of pieces of Mission furniture


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G.A. Raeth

·         “Home Furnishing Making” 1910, published by Frederick J. Drake & Company, Chicago

·         241 pp., "Simple household furniture has been chosen as the general theme & all the specific drawings & articles conform with the PRESENT DEMAND FOR LINES OF SIMPLICITY & IMPRESSIVENESS, SECURING UTILITY & COMFORT AS WELL AS ARTISTIC EFFECTS. The working drawings are characteristic of the kind of furniture which the public has endorsed under the names of MISSION, PURITAN, ARTS & CRAFTS & OTHERS."; 64 sets of plans




Herman Rusch & Claud Conway

·         1918, 202 pp. “Shop Work Joinery, Cabinet Making, Carpentry” published by Industrial Book and Equipment

·         techniques, tools, woods, and sets of plans for Mission pieces




George A. Seaton

·         Director of Manual Training, Shaw High School, Cleveland, OH; 1910. “Selected Shop Problems”, Manual Arts Press, Peoria, IL

·         16 plan sets for simple Mission furniture




Geo. L. Shuman & Co.

·         Chicago, printed in 1914 and several subsequent printings of an 11 volume encyclopedia style set called “Our Wonder World”, as primarily designed for children; volume 7 was called “Amateur Handicraft” and contains several plan sets and instructional information regarding the making of Mission furniture, amongst several other period crafts




Simmons Hardware Co. (E.C. Simmons / Keen Kutter)

·         date?; brochure promoting Keen Kutter tools for use in making Craftsman furniture designs with an introduction by Gustav Stickley 

·         several furniture plans as taken from Stickley literature




Gustav Stickley (United Crafts 1898 then Craftsman Workshops from 1904)

·         Eastwood/Syracuse, NY, 1898 - 1916; see detailed listing in American Makers section

·         promoted all aspects of the Arts & Crafts lifestyle through the widely distributed “Craftsman” magazine (183 issues from 1901 to 1916), produced by the Craftsman Publishing Co., which included numerous shop drawings for furniture and advice on finishes etc. starting in January 2004


jan 1904 first w plans may1911 last w plans

January 1904 and May 1911, the first and last copies of the Craftsman to include scaled and detailed furniture plans


Charles Franklin Warner

·         1911, “The library of Work and Play, Home Decoration”, McGowen-Maier & Co., Chicago

·         interior design and decorating skills including chapters on Mission furniture making and finishing, as well as other home craft


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Edward F. Worst

·         1917. “Vintage Mission Furniture Projects”; ten chapters on furniture projects and design, materials, hardware, cane, ash splint, hickory splint, rush seats, upholstery, basket weaving, textile use in seats and screens, and lumber pricing 

·         1921. “Problems in Woodwork”, Bruce Publishing Co., Milwaukee; contains chapters on techniques and numerous sets of plans and figures for producing Mission furniture