Clarity about Early Era boxes – Closing in on project completion

Hi all.

Please reference my post from August 5th for a complete discussion of the J. Arthur Krauss quote repeated here…

“(we) found the supplier was an Italian who had a little shop over his garage.  I got in touch with him and contracted for all he could make, paying $1.35 apiece and reselling them to the (Lane cedar chest) dealers.  We worked on the carload sales plan, advertising on Friday night and closing the Special on Mondays.  Boy, I wanna tell you that thing hit.  We later found outfits in Ohio and Chicago that could make the miniatures and bought ’em by the thousands.”

Mr. Krauss says, in the same book, his idea for the distribution of miniature boxes was based not only on the little boxes the Lane factory workers were making from the scraps of the manufacture of the cedar chests but also from him seeing a box in a Kansas City clothing store called Rothchilds.   It is evident, from my research, that little cedar keepsake/trinket/souvenir/jewelry/momento/novelty boxes were pretty common items in the early part of the 20th century.  Without taking anything away from Lane or Mr. Krauss, I believe the Girl Graduate Program and Lane capitalized on their popularity. Therefore, referring back to the above quote, Lane wouldn’t have had any trouble finding a company manufacturing little cedar boxes in the 1920’s.  This is supported by the fact I can, to this day, find many boxes manufactured at that time for sale on e-bay, etc.

Leading me to this…BIG drum roll please…

I have discussed this before, but there is on Lane logo that is unlike any other I have seen.  It is found on the bottom of the Large Hasp with Feet box seen here…(bottom box)


This is the logo…


This is where it gets REAL INTERESTING.  Remember, Mr. Krauss said he bought thousands of boxes from Chicago and Ohio.  A box maker in Chicago made cedar boxes of similar size to the LHF and with the same joinery.  The boxes look like this…


Take off the brass plated straps and handles and it looks very similar to a Lane “hasped” box, doesn’t it?  This is where it gets good…this box was made by Peterson Brothers Mfgs. of 165-171 N. Elizabeth St,, CHICAGO, IL.  Is is just a coincidence that Peterson Brothers also uses a diamond shaped logo that looks like this?


Too much of a coincidence for me.  But then what about this…there is another box maker/distributer, D.F. Duncan with the address, 167 N. Elizabeth St., Chicago IL and their boxes look very similar and have this logo…


D.F. Duncan (from Duncan Yo-Yo fame) has the same diamond shaped logo – REALLY? Duncan’s address is likely on the same block or even in the same building as Peterson in Chicago.  My hypothesis is Peterson Brothers made cedar boxes for both Lane and Duncan and used their own diamond-shaped brand if no other logo was required by the purchaser.  Remember, in 1925 (when Lane started buying little boxes), Lane Company was officially only 3 years old because it had been known as the Standard Red Cedar Chest Company until 1922.  Maybe the LHF box I have was made for Lane before Lane had agreed upon or registered their logo used in boxes later on.

I am convinced Peterson Brothers Mfgs. was the Chicago firm Mr. Krauss referred to in his interview.  Further, I am convinced Peterson Brothers made the LHF box I have in my possession.  Further, I believe this box was one of the first boxes purchased by Lane for distribution through their dealers.  Further, I believe Peterson Brothers probably made other boxes for Lane like Tall Hasp Bun with Feet (THBF) or Tall Hasp with Feet (THF). Further, I believe Peterson may have made boxes for Lane between 1925 and around 1935.  The evidence for these possibilities is overwhelming.  However, unfortunately, I have been unable to find ANY information about Peterson Brothers Mfgs other than the boxes they produced.  Additionally, I have found no records of any dealings between Lane and Peterson Brothers.  So, this part of the search goes on.

Unless I find evidence to the contrary, I am closing the book on the Chicago firm Mr. Krauss references – I believe it is Peterson Brothers Mfgs.

HOWEVER, having said all of the above, given the very limited information I have found about Peterson Brothers and D.F. Duncan, is is possible all I have hypothesized about Peterson Brothers is actually D.F. Duncan – basically reversing their rolls.  Or, were they in business together – basically making boxes on the same “line” with different logos?Time will tell if I can make sense of it.

Ohio is next…

Until then…




2 thoughts on “Clarity about Early Era boxes – Closing in on project completion

  1. I, too, have a D.F. Duncan box. Looks very much like ones in these photos. Do you think it would be accurate to say this box was probably made between 1920 – 1930? Thanks.


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