You know before heading in that William Tell Antiques and Collectibles in Tell City, Indiana is going to be one of those really fun antique shops. It’s hard to say why. No, scratch that, it’s really quite easy to say why: it is such a tidy, interesting sort of building. So welcoming and cheerful, anyone with a shoppers instinct won’t waste any time getting in.
It was a long ago soda watering plant and, more recently, the location of the old Wheeler’s Grocery. If you like knowing the history of things like I do, he has a great image from 1895 during its production days. Still, I like its current purpose plenty–and I’m pretty sure you will too.
William Tell Antiques in Tell City
Most people probably know the legend of William Tell, the Swiss hero. The bare bones story goes that he was the man who shot an arrow through an apple on his son’s head. William Tell Antiques is a fitting name because Tell City is also the second (and, of course, final) name chosen for Tell City. The first name was ditched because it was too hard for non-Swiss to pronounce (and probably even remember correctly). So, they decided on Tell City, a kind of head nod to their long ago hero.
When you shop around long enough, you realize that there are many different kinds of antique shops. They are definitely not all the same. Some might specialize in re-purposed stuff while others may only be interested in working vintage items while others might be more like flea markets or junk shops, where not everything is always an “official” antique or it might need a lot of cleaning or work to get it back to working condition.
The list goes on. William Tell Antiques and Collectibles is unique. They specialize in something I’ve never seen anyone else handle in such great quantity like they do.
They are the best spot to go for Tell City Chair Company furniture that I have seen yet. “What’s so special about Tell City Furniture,” you ask? Well, I am more than happy to tell you.
Tell City Chair Company furniture
This was a big factory. I mean, they were BIG. According to William Tell Antiques and Collectibles website, Tell City Chair Company factory once covered 750,000 and 900,000 square feet–on only thirty acres. Tell City Chair Company began with, you guessed it, chairs! It began in the fall of 1865, just seven years after the founding of the town itself! By the early 1900s, Tell City Chair Company pointed to themselves as the largest manufacturer of chairs in the world.
Women used to hand-cane the seats on the chairs until 1930 NRA legislation ruined that. What a wonderful thing it must have been for the woman to not only bring in a little extra money to help the family and be able to be at home with the family. The William Tell Antiques and Collectibles website shares that the women were always paid in silver dollars, so there was quite the circulation of silver dollars around the town.
For more than eighty years, Tell City Chair Company sold nothing but chairs. Shortly before World War II, the company tried their hand at manufacturing dining room tables, but they ended that experiment at the start of the war. It wasn’t until 1953 when they would purchase the Tell City Desk Company, that they branched out, and began producing dining room sets. It was a smart move that would keep them growing.
In 1962, JFK’s wife, Jacqueline, requested 425 fancy ballroom chairs she had seen at Saks Fifth Avenue. The White House Commission of Fine Arts placed the order–and received their gold finished, hand-woven cane seating.
What happened to such a bustling company? After worker contract negotiations went wrong, the Tell City Chair Company was officially closed in 2011.
The Tell City Chair Company Source
Where can you find Tell City Chair Company furniture? Inside of William Tell Antiques and Collectibles. He has absolutely beautiful pieces: rockers, end tables, buffets, hutches, and dining room tables. These are not junk shop finds, but straight-to-your home kind of condition.
Some of the pieces were made for thirty years so it is hard to tell how old they are. That’s part of what makes them interesting! Given the shape they are in, most look like they just left the production factory. Anyone in need of furniture may want to make a trip here. If you are looking for a specific Tell City Chair Company piece, please let them know.
In the words of cheesy game show hosts everywhere, “But wait, there’s more!” There are antiques here. Vintage books, hats, glassware, lamps, and even local items are often displayed on the Tell City Chair Company items. It’s the best of both worlds.
Southern Indiana Antiques
William Tell Antiques and Collectibles is a great Tell City find. With such a wonderful selection of furniture, anyone hunting for Tell City Chair Company furniture can leave eBay behind and shop locally with confidence. This guy knows his stuff.
See the latest news and photos of beautiful antiques by checking out William Tell Antiques & Collectibles on Facebook.
Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus. I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is Little Indiana.
Just don’t forget to tell them that Little Indiana sent you.
William Tell Antiques and Collectibles
302 9th Street
Tell City, IN 47586
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