Antiquing In Historic Arcadia, Florida:
The fourth Saturday of every month, Arcadia hosts one of the largest antique fairs in the state! Vendors from all over come to set-up shop and showcase their treasures. It’s something everyone should check out, at least once. I on the other hand, show-up every time they host the fair. I’m one of those avid bargain hunters, always looking for a unique piece. I’ll be honest; the majority of the dealers ask a pretty penny for their items. Every now and then you’ll find a dealer willing to part with a piece for a great price. Last Saturday, before heading to the house to do some renovations we decided to stop and just glance at what they had. A lovely couple had these Louis Rastetter & Sons folding chairs for sale, asking just $38.00. I simply just glanced and proceeded on my way, when the dealer stated, “$20.00 and they’re yours” I couldn’t resist saying, “SOLD”.
Louis Rastetter & Sons Folding Chairs: The History
Every piece has a story, so I started to do my research. I came across a blog on History Center Notes & Queries, where they wrote a post back in 2012 about the history behind Louis Rastetter & Sons:
“Manufactured by the Fort Wayne firm of Louis Rastetter and Sons. The furniture was made of fine hardwood in a variety of styles. All could be folded, and it was so well made that even 70 and 80 years later, many pieces are still found in fine condition and in regular use. The firm began in 1882 in a small machine shop at the corner of Jefferson and Calhoun streets. Its founder, Louis C. Rastetter, a native of Baden, Germany, had arrived in New York in 1854, and after several years in that state, finally reached Fort Wayne and found work in the Wabash Railroad shops. He manufactured clocks, and by 1882 began developing a line of bent wood bows of various sizes for use as the framework for buggy tops. In 1887, Rastetter moved his business to Broadway, near the junction of the Pennsylvania Railroad, where he began making fuse and connection boxes for the Jenney Electric Light Company, the forerunner of General Electric. In 1890, he won a contract with the A.G. Spalding Company for making bent wood frames for tennis rackets.
Louis Restetter died in 1898; he was succeeded by his son, William, who shifted the business focus from bicycle rims to wooden steering wheel rims for newly manufactured automobiles. The company began to slowly decline, so William began to look for something else for his company to manufacture. He arrived at the decision that would transform the firm and make it well-known across America: the manufacture of folding furniture.
By the 1930’s, the company made the largest assortment of card tables and chairs. Rastetter also won large contracts with cruise ship companies and manufactured folding chairs for ocean liners. Churches, businesses, and clubs all over the country also purchased many of the chairs. Standard label read: Solid Kumfort Folding Chair. The company remained in business until the early 1960s.”
If you have a Rastetter table and chair set, treasure it. Behind every piece, there is a story. That’s the beauty behind antiques; they’re valuable because of their story, and the sweat equity of quality workmanship.
To answer your question John Beatty, “How do you use yours?”—I’m currently renovating a cottage bungalow that was built in 1930. The chairs will tie in perfectly to my industrial & rustic theme.