I am recovering from a cold and thought I would do something with a few more illustrations, and a bit less text. So today’s topic is the Couch Cabinet Factory. I confess I don’t know a great deal about the operation. It appears very infrequently in The Wellington Enterprise, mainly in advertisements. I will be showcasing three examples of ads in this post, from three different decades. For historical context on the business, allow me to quote Ernst Henes at some length:
“Couches Built Furniture for 60 Years. About the time Tripp became involved in manufacturing, A. G. Couch brought his bride to Wellington from Massachusetts. He purchased four acres of land directly north of Dickson Street, which had not yet become a street. The land extended east from South Main Street to Courtland. He built a residence at 147 South Main Street (now  the home of Maxine Wells) and a furniture factory adjoining on the south. There, for more than a half century, he turned out beautiful pieces of furniture. He also served as a funeral director and manufactured coffins. Early in his career he sold black walnut coffins at five dollars per foot. His son, George, joined his father in the operation of their business. Civic-minded he served as mayor from 1891 to 1903 and sparked the community in the development of its power and water facilities. A Couch-built, six piece bedroom suite, the gift of A. Richard Diebold of New York City, great-grandson of A. G. Couch, may be seen at the ‘Spirit of ’76’ Museum” (Historic Wellington Then and Now, pg. 16).
Ohio artist Archibald Willard worked at the Couch factory as a young man, after his family relocated to Wellington in 1855. He painted exotic landscapes and floral swags on pieces of furniture, just as he decorated vehicles at Edward S. Tripp’s nearby carriage works. A signed Couch wash stand that Willard painted circa 1860 is in the collection of the Ohio Historical Society.
When Willard composed “Village of Wellington” in 1857, he included his employer’s home on the right edge of the image. The A. G. Couch house is a lovely Greek Revival built in the 1830s, which still stands on South Main Street today. In the spring of 1882, son George L. Couch purchased another Greek Revival-style house directly across the road, on the southern corner of Magyar and South Main Streets; though that house had already been standing for decades, it is today known as the George Couch house. Willard supposedly painted “Village of Wellington” on its front porch.
Below are two more advertisements for the company. The first dates from 1879 and gives an extensive listing of the types of furniture the Couch factory was capable of producing for sale. The second example is from 1890. It proudly proclaims the business as “The Oldest Furniture Store in Town, Having had 36 competitors and still lives.” Also highlighted in the ad copy are the undertaking services “accompanied by a Funeral Director.”
Sorry this post is a bit lightweight. I am working on two longer pieces for the next few days, about the photography studio run by William Sawtell and the dry goods businesses operated by William Rininger.