Ellis Furniture Factory & The James A. Cole Furniture Co.

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


14 thoughts on “Ellis Furniture Factory & The James A. Cole Furniture Co.

  1. I have a wooden smoke stand table made by The James A. Cole Furniture Co. Can you tell me how may were made, and in what year they were made. thank u

      1. Hi Penny I just picked one up it is #5 what # do you have? Did you find out any dates? Thank you Bethe:)) Luv the table!!!

  2. We have aquired a plant stand that has a James A Cole Furniture Company label on it. The label also says Mastermade and there is a 5 digit number on it. First 2 are 57, next either a 3 or 8 and the last 2 are not readable. Can you supply any further information? We are antique collectors.

    1. Hi Sharon
      I came across your inquiry re the plant stand and wondered if you found out anything. I too have a plant stand that was my parents, that I have just refinished. On the bottom it has 55/188 which I take to mean the 55th of 188 made.

  3. i have something that looks kike an end table & it has a label that reads THE JAMES A.COLE FURNITURE CO. LIMITED Makers of “MASTERMADE” Furniture INGERSOLL,ONTARIO &its # 910 im just trying to get some information on it & to see if it is an antique ? it has a place in tha bottom of it for papers or something it looks like thank you

  4. I have a magazine rack with the label ” The James A. Cole Furniture Co. Limited of Ingersoll, Ontario = either 411 or 711. It is hand painted with several nails in its construction, which is unusual for a genuine antique. Can
    anyone shed some light on Mr. Cole. It would be appreciated. Thank you.

  5. I just purchased a 5 peice parlour set to refinish, once i started to take off the old material and stuffing i fouind the label saying the Ellis furniture company… Ellis Quality…. the funny part if my last name is Ellis…. when i seen this set i had to have it… now i know why….

  6. I recently acquired oak two Morris chairs manufactured by the Ellis Furniture Company, Ingersol, Ontario which were delivered to a Mr. A.J. Frieman. All information is on the intact label to the underside of the chairs. One chair is a side chair the other is rocking chair. The side chair has it’s original leather covered back and seat.

  7. I have acquired a chair made by Cornation Furniture of ingersol ont. A yellow label has number that starts with 3. Any ideas or help determiningredients year it was made

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