The India Street Antiques research archive
India Street Antiques shares links and images here to help identify antique furniture and provide history of manufacturers for researchers.
Cowan Manufacturing Company / Cowan Cabinet Made Furniture (1894-1916)
William Kent Cowan was born October 24, 1869. He graduated Chicago Manual Training School in 1889 and trained in architecture with Henry Ives Cobb, where he desiged and supervised all of the plumbing and related fixtures for the Columbian Exposition in 1893 Chicago. In 1894 he started a special furniture business, which incorporated in 1901 with W.K. Cowan as President and General Manager. By 1905 he had built one of the largest furniture factories in Chicago at 605 Lake Shore Drive at the foot of Ohio and Ontario Streets. Their Retail Store was at 203-207 Michigan Ave. They imported mainly English made furniture until 1898. One can see the English influence on the Cowan furniture designs shown in the 1898 catalog below. Most of the hand crafted furniture was made of Mahogany and Circassian (European burled) Walnut with a modest use of other decorative woods, such as Satinwood inlay. For a while they were the top of the furniture business with retail sales outlets in big named stores throughout the USA. They fell onto hard times and sold all their remaining inventory, etc. to the Gimbel Bros. of Philadelphia in 1916. They still maintained a small furniture business until about 1920. Mr. Cowan died at his home (1422 N. State St. Chicago)in 1928. (Thank you to archive.org for the mini book reader.)
F.J. Genin Furniture Catalogue, Paris, c. 1900
(Click on cover photo to access catalogue)