Robert J. Horner established R.J. Horner & Co. in the year 1886 at 61-65 West 23rd St., N.Y. Horner’s intelligent business sense allowed him to follow the changes in furniture trends. With a keen marketing strategy, Horner targeted the wealthy as well as those who lived modestly. R.J. Horner furniture is heavily carved as well as formal and less embellished. Horner would display furniture in his building for people to see so they could get inspiration when designing their own homes. Not only did Horner produce furniture, but he also imported furniture, mostly from Europe.
R.J. Horner furniture includes dining room sets, partners desks, hall trees, bookcases, tables, china cabinets, servers, sideboards, parlor sets, clock cases, benches, mirrors and more using only the finest mahogany and oak hardwoods. Good sources of identification to determine if the piece was made by R.J. Horner & Co. are plaques and paper labels with the name R.J. Horner & Co. and quality detailed carvings of winged griffins, winged maidens, rat tail maidens, man of the mountain, and gadrooning. Although, if a piece bears the R.J. Horner label, it may not be a piece actually manufactured by R.J. Horner, as the firm also imported furniture, mostly from Europe and incorporated the firms signature label, according to John Fontaine. In the mid-1870’s, Americans had increased interest in the Japanese style, therefore to accommodate the burgeoning market, R.J. Horner & Co. started making faux bamboo furniture the year they opened, by using maple wood and staining it to depict bamboo.
After opening a few other factories, Horner’s final move was a new retail store located at 20 West 36th Street in the year 1912. R.J. Horner and George Flint combined their businesses in the year 1915, and Robert J. Horner Jr. became the secretary, but by the next year, both Horners and Flint were not officers of the company.
R.J. Horner Figural Carved Oak Hall Bench. Large pierced carved crest with center medallion flanked by winged maidens & winged griffins surrounded by ornate filigree; overhanging cornice top with beveled mirror and large figural rattail maidens on either side. The base has figural winged griffin supports under the arms with lift top seat, carved front and back panel with oval medallion with putti, figural griffins and swirling filigree. In excellent condition with a nice clean enhanced original finish, no breaks, repairs or losses. 105 in. high x 65 in. wide x 22 in. deep.