The Ellis Furniture Company / The James A. Cole Furniture Co.
One of the most important substantial industries in its time was the Ellis Furniture Company. It was owned by A. H. Ellis, who was formerly engaged in the hardware business, which was later carried on by W. H. Jones, which is now called McKim’s Hardware. In 1887, it was first known as the Hault Manufacturing Co. In the next year, Mr. A. H. Ellis became a partner in the firm. Upon the death of Mr. Hault in 1894, Mr. Ellis acquired sole control of the business. The factory was a four-storey frontage of 100 feet on Thames St. facing the Central School and a depth of 150 feet. It was well lighted and equipped with up to date machinery to manufacture a high class of furniture, which found a ready sale throughout the Dominion from Halifax to Vancouver. With Mr. Ellis, was associated his eldest son, Gordon, and working in the factory, they had 50 skillful and efficient workmen. Mr. Ellis personally superintended the entire establishment, and his success was attributable to his enterprise, business capacity and shrewdness. In 1922, Mr. Ellis ceased operations and it became the James A. Cole Furniture Co. In 1932, when all businesses were suffering from the depression, a visitor to Ingersoll suggested to Mr. Cole that he start making caskets — not ordinary caskets, but ones of highest quality. His advice was taken and shortly after this the Ingersoll Casket Co. became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the James A. Cole Co. Casket production now forms the major part of the output and caskets from this Thames Street South factory are distributed across the Dominion.The business did well for a while till competition from northern factories slowed it down. Then the building was idle for a while. Later hockey sticks were made on the top floor.
above excerpt from Ingersoll : our heritage by Harry Whitwell
above, The Ellis Furniture Factory Football Team, 1912
Back Row: A. Stadelbauer [goal]; J. Martin [secretary treasurer]; S. Sherlock [manager]; C. Woolson [left back]; T. Hurford [spare]
Middle Row: J. Roberts [O. S. right]; W. English [right half back and Captain]; E. Cronk [centre half back]; B. Galloway [left half back]
Front Row: G. Target [I. S. right]; E. Chaney [centre forward]; F. Houghton [I. S. left]; F. Shelton [O. S. left]; G. Ellis [right back] Courtesy of Mr. Lorne Moon
above, The James A. Cole Furniture Co. & The Ingersoll Casket Company summer picnic at Port Burwell, Ontario, July 15, 1950
below, an obituary for James A. Cole from the Ingersoll Tribune, May 9th, 1940