Rittenhouse Items For Sale|
In early 1900 John Rittenhouse worked for a family grocery store at Mullett Lake, near Cheboygan MI. Three years later he took over his father’s lumber business, producing cedar railroad ties and telephone poles. In 1930 John noticed the increase in Michigan summer cottagers, so he turned some of his telephone pole into furniture. The earliest pieces were constructed from Bark-covered red cedar and manufactured by local craftsmen, many of them Native Americans. Later, stripped white cedar logs with a honey-colored finish would become typical for Rittenhouse Rustic Furniture, creating pieces that were strong and substantial, and sleek rather than clunky.
The first catalog included stools, bedroom furniture, lamps, cupboards, coat racks and picture frames. Customers quickly realized the exceptional quality of the products, and sales rapidly moved beyond Michigan. Movie stare Kate Smith outfitted her entire lake Placid cottage “Camp Sunshine” with Rittenhouse wares.
At peak production throughout the 1940’s Rittenhouse catalogs advertised a new line call “Indian Maid”. It offered everything from couches, chairs, tables and beds to outdoor swings, pergolas, flower boxes and an Old English Garden Entrance. Rittenhouse was also manufactured for Taverns, restaurants, and motels.