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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: William K. Hammel

KEY CITY FURNITURE COMPANY. The Key City Furniture Company in 1910 was the oldest and largest furniture factory in Iowa and the largest showcase factory between Chicago and Omaha. In 1880 the family of Valentine HERANCOURT sold their interest in the family-owned business to a newly formed enterprise, the Key City Furniture Company established in February, 1880 by Herman MAUER, the company president, and others. (1) The company opened on February 18, 1880. (2)

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. (3)

Photo courtesy: Jim Massey

The company annually produced over $75,000 worth of manufactured goods including tables, bed room furniture, store fixtures, show cases and counters, kitchen cabinets, cigar cases, side walk show cases and counters, prescription cases, and office fixtures in a variety of woods. Although the company sold nationwide, the main area of business was Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and the Dakotas. The company employed sixty men and four traveling salesmen. (4)

The 1911-12 Dubuque City Directory and 1913 Dubuque and Dubuque County Directory stated that this business was located at 286 7th.

The 1915 Dubuque City Directory and the 1916-1917 White's Dubuque County Directory listed 1104 Elm as the address.



1. "Key City Furniture Company is the Oldest and Largest of Its Kind in Iowa," Telegraph Herald, March 16, 1910, p. 1

2. "Key City Furniture Company," The Daily Herald, February 18, 1880, p. 4

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

4. "Key City Furniture..."

Company letterhead
Photo courtesy: Cathy's Treasures, 156 Main, Dubuque
Display cabinet. Photo courtesy: Diane Harris
Furniture label. Photo courtesy: Diane Harris