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Seeking Info on WW2 Furniture Contracts

Posted By Bill Kling, 11/30/2012

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I recently came across a Furniture World article by you titled Special Anniversary Issue: Furniture Industry In World War 2 dated Monday, March 29, 2010.  

In your article I was especially intereseted in the comments made by Nat Ancell.My name is Bill Kling and I am grandson of John A. Kling who founded Kling Factories in the Jamestown, NY area (specifically Mayville, NY).I have been fortunate to receive many documents from Kling Factories through the Ethan Allen company  in Mayville. The Baumritter purchased Kling Factories in 1962 when Ethan Allen was a division of Baumritter.

The Kling Factories plant in Mayville was renamed Ethan Allen.Two of the documents we acquired are wholesale price lists showing contracts with the National Housing Agency (F.P.H.A.) dated 2/1/43 and the Smaller War Plants Corp. dated April 30 1943. I have attached copies of these price lists that also show the contract numbers.

My question for you:  Is there any way to get copies of the contracts or other information about the dealings between the government and Kling Factories?

We know that Kling Factories made gun stocks because my dad, Arvid Kling, brought a rejected one home to me when I was a kid (8 years old), but we have no documentation on gun stocks.

I often receive emails from owners of Kling furniture inquiring about the pieces they have inherited or bought at estate sales. As a result, my son, Jim, and I have created a website  www.klinginfo.com  to assist these folks.

Please feel free to visit.In addition we have Kling marketing brochures for specific suites, and Kling catalogs from the late 1940s and 1950s. We also look on Ebay for Kling ads in magazines such as House Beautiful, Better Homes & Gardens, American Home and Woman's Day.

Our goal is to maintain the heritage of the Kling Factories family business and to be of service to owners of Kling furniture. 

I have been especially puzzled about the lack of information during the WW2 era and would appreciate any sources you may suggest. We know also that Kling was part of the WW1 effort, but we have no documentation.

Thanks for taking the time to read my email. I look forward to your reply.


From Bill Kling, 11/30/2012  9:35 AM

Hello Bill. I've posted your message to the furninfo.com website so that other readers can respond with suggestions. 

I've also forwarded your message and the  images you sent to Karen McNeil at the American Furniture Hall of Fame (kmcneill@furniturehalloffame.com) who may have some suggestions for you. The quote from Nat Ancel you read in Furniture World was excerpted from an oral interview that is available from the AFHF in book form.

The other major source of information I used were actual reports and articles published in Furniture World Magazine. It's a big job going through all the back issues, but you are welcome to go through issues we keep here in New Rochelle, NY or travel to the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library in High Point, NC.

In addition, you might try contacting the National Archives (http://www.archives.gov/research/military/ww2/finding-aids.html) 

I did find the "Confidential Questionnaire For Furniture Manufacturers Interested In War Work" that was featured in the article, but don't have any other records here.

Let me know if you are able to make any progress on this.


Russell Bienenstock
Furniture World Magazine

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