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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
Marshall Cohen—researcher and producer, CNN

Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

DUBUQUE CABINET MAKERS' ASSOCIATION. Formation of the Dubuque Cabinet-Makers' Association, one of the most enterprising and wealthy corporations in Dubuque around 1911, was first suggested early in 1867. It was not until June 15 of that year that the Association was chartered by authority of the Legislature, with the following as incorporators: Henry WUNDERLICH, John STUBER, Sr., Christian JACOBI, John Foerst, Jacob Seeger, G. Schneider, Joachim Kurtz, William Kley, H. Henry HUBER, John Chrismer, B. Baumhoefer, Otto WULLWEBER, George Scheuler and H. Tischer. The capital stock was established at $7,000 and the first officers elected were George Scheuler, President, and William Kley, manager. (1) The German-American Collective reported that only employees could own stock and that a limitation on the amount of stock owned by any one member was limited. (2)

Trade Card

The goal of the Association was the manufacture and purchase of all qualities of furniture. A large building at the corner of Jackson and 10th was purchased and renovated into a factory. A lumberyard was attached. (3)

A few minutes past 7 o'clock on the evening of January 11, 1870, the factory was destroyed in a disastrous fire. The loss of $15,000 with little insurance nearly ruined the company. (4)

Little time was lost, however, in making arrangements for rebuilding, and a four-story brick structure, 40x60, with engine and dry house, were erected on the site of the burned premises at a cost of about $12,000. (5) The construction was just in time to allow acceptance and completion of an order for 10,000 gavels to be used at Granger meetings throughout the United States. (6)

In June 1877 the company was sold to Richard HERRMANN and had been renamed R. HERRMANN & SONS by 1909. On August 15, 1877, the corporation was re-organized, the capital stock increased to $40,000, paid up, and the facilities for work improved. (7) During the month of November, 1877 the company manufactured 212 dozen chairs. (8)

In 1894 the former Dubuque Universalist Church on Tenth and Main STREETS was sold to the Association. The factory was sold in 1908, but the retail business was continued. In 1902 the company chose not to join a large furniture trust. Organized in Chicago by the National Association of Chamber Suit and Case Manufacturers, the organization was established to control the furniture output in the United States and regulate prices. A new schedule of prices immediately increased prices to the consumer by ten to twenty percent. (9)

The company remained at 10th and Main until the building was sold to the Dubuque Electric Company in 1924. (10) Showrooms were operated at 1000 and 1020 Main. (11)

In 1933 a force of eighty workmen cost the company one thousand dollars per week. (12) Not less than $100,000 worth of production was marketed annually with many buyers in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Dakota and Nebraska.

Photo courtesy: Cathy's Treasures, 156 Main, Dubuque
Photo courtesy: Bob Reding
Photo courtesy: Bob Reding



1."Dubuque County Before 1880," Telegraph Herald, Oct. 19, 1933, p. 17. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=-P9BAAAAIBAJ&sjid=U6oMAAAAIBAJ&pg=5068,2467848&dq=cooper+wagons+dubuque&hl=en

2. Upper Main Street Historic District Nomination, Online: http://weblink.cityofdubuque.org/WebLink8/1/doc/38915/Page61.aspx, p. 30

3. "Dubuque County Before 1880"

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, September 22, 1875, p. 4. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18750922&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

7. "Richard Herrmann in Business Fifty Years," Telegraph Herald and Times Journal, June 12, 1927, p. 4. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=7J9FAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vLwMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3382,5237935&dq=richard+herrmann+dubuque&hl=en

8. "Caught on the Fly," Dubuque Herald, December 13, 1877, p. 4. https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=uh8FjILnQOkC&dat=18771213&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

9. "Are Not in Trust," Dubuque Telegraph-Herald, May 23, 1902, p. 3

10. "Richard Hermann..."

11. "Dubuque Cabinet Makers' Association," Telegraph Herald, June 8, 1902, p. 11. Online: http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=wWhBAAAAIBAJ&sjid=MqkMAAAAIBAJ&pg=3582,7814956&dq=dubuque+cabinet+makers+association&hl=en

12. "Dubuque County Before 1880,"