Updated. Following is what I have on file concerning the Christiansen Bench Company of Chicago, Illinois.
The Christiansen Bench Company, Chicago, Illinois.
I came across these old photographs recently. The group shot is the crew at the Christiansen factory in Chicago taken around 1903. Carl is 2nd from left front row and John , his son, is seated next to him in the middle. The large outdoor photo is a company picnic in 1916. They continued making shop and lab furniture until around 1940. Some of the later benches had cast iron head and tail vises replacing the maple. These vises were made by Abernathy Vise , a company purchased by Carl Christiansen. So if your bench has an Abernathy Vise you can be sure that the bench is made by Christiansen.
I enjoy your blog and it makes me feel good to know that these benches are still being used and appreciated.
Best Regards, John Christiansen
Till next, Gary
And now more Christiansen Workbench Company
From Tom Sturgeon
My name is Tom. I live in Richmond, VA and would like to share a few pics of my newly refinished C Christiansen workbench. I don't have any before pics here as I am trying to find the right archive folder that these are in. Anyway, here is the story behind this bench. I do not know the exact age of this workbench but estimate it to be late 1800's to early 1900's. It came to me from my Grandfather who lived in Logansport, IN when he passed in 2005. The workbench was in his basement workshop for more than 30 years. Prior to that, it was used by the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Logansport, IN before they relocated to Kokomo, IN. My Grandfather worked at the plant for 44 years retiring in 1980 as VP and General Manager. He was given the workbench when the plant moved to Kokomo (I think around 1970?) because they were going to throw them away and offered them to several employees for free. It is my understanding from family and former employees that several of these workbenches were in the building that the Coca-Cola company purchased when they franchised the operation in 1907. They were all painted Coca-Cola green and this one remained this way until I stripped the paint this weekend and finished it with danish oil. I left the visible burn marks and did not sand or change the condition in any way. I love the character and the history all the marks on the top bring out. The workbench has two Abernathy Screw vises and a built in bench dog stop on top. The top is solid maple, the drawerfronts are maple and the main carcass is solid maple and maple plywood. It is as solid as the day it was made. Hope you enjoy the pics.
Here is my "Before" picture. I found it! Also, I found a few ads in Popular Mechanics, Furniture Maker and some other trade journals via google books from the early 1900's Based on the address listed on the manufacturers tag on my bench, I can safely say this bench was made between 1919 and 1930. Prior to 1919, C Christiansen operated from 2219 Grand Ave in Chicago, and in a 1927 publication, the ad I saw showed them at 2814 W 26th St - the address on my bench. An ad from a 1930 publication showed them at the 2814-2842 W 26th Street - the exact address on my bench tag. I love the history of the company I found on your site and being able to combine this with the family history makes this piece a family heirloom. I hope to pass it along to my son one day and keep a woodworking tradition alive for generations to come! Tom
From Mr. Phillips
I have recently purchased a desk with two swing out stools attached. The plaque readsthat it is by C. CHRISTIANSEN and I would love to get any info I can on it. Your web info seems to be all I can find on it
A Christiansen Tool Chest