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MailTribune.com
  • Cabinet has a link to Medford history

  • I have an old dental tool cabinet that served my former wife as her special place for her collection of earrings. It is quite unique by today's standards, as it has 15 felt-lined drawers about 1 to 11/2 inches deep. The cabinet was made by Mission Furniture Works of Medford. I have tried to locate information on the company, but no luck. Any collectors of old furniture from them might be interested in this old cabinet.
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  • I have an old dental tool cabinet that served my former wife as her special place for her collection of earrings. It is quite unique by today's standards, as it has 15 felt-lined drawers about 1 to 11/2 inches deep. The cabinet was made by Mission Furniture Works of Medford. I have tried to locate information on the company, but no luck. Any collectors of old furniture from them might be interested in this old cabinet.
    — Jerry, via email
    A look through the archives of the Mail Tribune revealed that your dental cabinet is unique, Jerry, and likely more than 100 years old.
    In a front-page article on Jan. 15, 1909, the Medford Mail reported that there was a new industry in town — a furniture-making and cabinetry business run by a man named Everett G. Trowbridge.
    "His friends told him that he was doomed to failure because the town was too small," reads the article. "But the young man could see into the future and knew that Medford was destined for greater things."
    Trowbridge's business — Mission Furniture Works — was located at 115 S. Holly St., where the First Presbyterian Church across from Alba Park sits today.
    By July of 1910, Trowbridge had partnered with another furniture manufacturer, I.S. Tuttle, and expanded the business with large showrooms, displaying the entire line of furniture for customers.
    "The new building will contain large sample rooms, showing the complete line of goods made by this company, many of which will be very odd and exceptionally attractive and desirable," said an article that July.
    Trowbridge had 16 to 20 employees at one point, and he manufactured furniture for many downtown businesses and local residents.
    In 1914, the company was renamed The Pacific Furniture and Fixture Factory, and archives show Trowbridge went on to operate Trowbridge Cabinet Works and Trowbridge Lumber Company in the 1920s and the Trowbridge Sash & Door Factory in 1941 before selling his group of businesses later that year. Two years later, he died of an apparent heart attack.
    Based on everything we found, Jerry, it seems likely that your dental cabinet-turned-earring-holder was manufactured sometime between 1909 and 1914, and it represents a furniture company once seen as a prominent part of downtown Medford.
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.
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