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Antique wooden farmhouse serving, dough or fruit bowl painted with folk art painted fruits, produced by Munising Wood Products.
In the early 1900s wood products were in high demand, not just for decoration and special occasions, but for everyday use. With no such thing as plastic, household products were either made of wood or metal. America’s forests were showing the signs of the huge appetite for wood. When a woodenware factory in Kalkaska, Michigan burned to the ground in l910, the decision was made to move the factory north to a location that was still heavily wooded. The spot chosen was Munising, Michigan, and in 1911 The Munising Woodenware Factory was incorporated.
From the start a wide variety of products were made by the Munising Woodenware Factory. These included butter bowls, paddles, and molds, potato mashers, rolling pins, and paper roll plugs. As time went on, salad bowls, clothespins, tent stakes and furniture were also made. Most of the kitchenware such as bowls and rolling pins were marked, but many other items such as furniture frequently were not. There were several different brands. Of the three most common, the earliest was an upright print. A left leaning script was introduced in the late 30’s or early 40’s. The last brand used was an arched script that was registered with the trade and patent office. The ® on this brand frequently looked like a black circle under the name.
Many labels were used to identify the woodenware. The earliest bore the original company name, Munising Woodenware, and were used until 1934. At that time, the Piqua Handle and Manufacturing Company, originally from Ohio but at the time in Marquette, MI, merged with the woodenware factory and became known as the Piqua-Munising Wood Products Company. In 1940, Piqua declared bankruptcy and the new labels read only “Munising Wood Products Company.”
One popular woodenware product were the handpainted bowls. This operation did not begin until the late 1940’s. Workers in the art department painted the many beautiful designs including ivy, fruit, mallards, roosters, and various flowers. Other items, such as lazy susans, were also painted.
The introduction of plastic, along with inexpensive wooden imports, proved too much competition for the Munising Wood Products Company. In 1955 the Munising factory closed and in 1959 the sister facility in Marquette stopped production.
At it’s peak, the woodenware factory employed over 250 people and was distributed nationally by such companies as Sears Roebuck and Co. and Marshall Field. Vintage pieces are found throughout the country and have become highly collectible. They are not only a little bit of Munising history, but also a little piece of Americana!
Good Overall - Gentle scuffs/wear.
9.5” x 9” x 1.75” (Width x Depth x Height)