A child’s high chair that folds out into a wheel chair stroller, ca. 1925, retail: $5.50.
As this chair is not labeled it is not possible to positively attribute it to McGill Chairs of Cornwall, but it is very similar to the two chairs circa 1925 shown below. A second factor that suggests it was made in Cornwall is the fact the family that owned the chair lived in Cornwall at the time of manufacture. I am not worried that the chairs are not exactly like the one the museum has, as in 1925 as today, models changed every year.
We will never know for sure where it was made, but it does make a great display item for the Museum’s dining room.
The chair was donated to the Museum in 2010 by T. Riddle from Michigan.
McGill Chair catalogue, Cornwall, ca. 1925.
The company was known as The McGill Chair Company Limited from 1905 to 1913 and then re emerged as McGill Chairs Limited from 1914 to circa 1931. Served by Cornwall Street Railway siding, the building has been demolished and the site is now occupied by the First Baptist Church.
Historian J.G. Harkness wrote this about the firm.
The late Thomas McGill came to Cornwall in 1905 to persuade its citizens to engage in the manufacture of chairs and made so good an impression that he was able to get some capitalists to join with him in organizing a company known as “The McGill Chair Company Limited.” The Town agreed to grant a loan of $20,000 to the Company to be secured by a first mortgage on lots 22 and 23 north of 3rd Street, such a loan to be repaid in annual installments of $1,000 each, beginning at the end of the third year. The company was fairly successful for a time but became insolvent in 1913, but in the following year, McGill was able to organize a new company known as “McGill Chairs Ltd.,” which brought the assets of the old one and carried on with some success until 1931, when a sale was made to some local men. After a short time, the Company became bankrupt, and Mrs. McGill acquired the property by the foreclosure of a large mortgage held by her. The mill was ultimately dismantled…(Harkness, pg. 359.)
The Museum has verifiable examples of McGill’s chairs on display.