Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Peck and Hills Furniture Find and Al Capone

What does this fantastic piece of furniture and Al Capone have in common?  This beautiful dresser was made by a company based out of Chicago called Peck and Hills Furniture Company. It was first established in 1896. I really couldn't find a date when they closed but it seems it was the late 1940's, possibly early 1950's, but this is an educated guess. ( If anyone has more information I would love to know).

    So this stamp was inside one of the drawers to identify the manufacturer. I didn't realize this until I got the piece home. It was difficult to find good information about this company, it was a lot like genealogy for furniture. I found an article that was published in Los Angeles in 1941 stating that Peck and Hills Furniture Company was hiring lots of men to help boost the economy. Could this piece be from that boom?

SO- what does this piece have in common with Al Capone? In my searching of this company, a legal document came up many times referring to Al Capone's Tax Evasion smack down. He was brought to the slammer not for being a gangster...but for his taxes. It was stated in some of these documents that he purchased "three or four dollars worth of furniture from Peck and Hills Furniture Co." I know this is really kinda far fetched but I could own a piece of furniture that may or may not have been something he had in his Chicago home.

I didn't get this piece from Chicago, it was a find from the Child Abuse Thrift Store. It was something that I had seen earlier and I kept thinking about it...when that happens I was meant to have it. So I was up late coming up with ideas and woke up early so I could get it first thing in the morning.  You can see it above with a rocking chair and the plants that I hadn't planted yet. (big TO-DO list today).

All the suitcases :-)
This looks like a yard sale. Good thing Lance isn't home. 

Sun bathing beauty!

 Okay, it was $89.98. It was more than I would have liked to spend...but the money was going to Child Abuse, so really there was no bad feelings. Then after getting it home and finding out it was an old find, I couldn't help but feel like it was meant for me.

 The inside of the drawers were in such good shape I left them as is. There was candle wax near this stamp, it was the only clean up I had to do for the inside of the drawers. HAIR DRYER works "wonders" if you ever spill candle wax.

*I know this because we had some house guests stay overnight at our home and decided to use candle wax for one reason or another (eww).  They left the bedroom covered in wax all the way up the wall, in the carpet and splattered on some photo frames. It all cleaned up with a hair dryer and paper towel.  They were NEVER invited back.

Back to the dresser, I had to use my stripper, sander and tools to remove old stain, smooth out rough patches and clean her up. After this she really was beautiful.

*I was born and raised in a hardware store. You always had a ton of jokes for the old guys when they were looking for strippers :-)

 At the end of today I have put my primer on and one coat of paint. I will post later with the finished product ( then you will find out what color I chose).  Also noted that I didn't cut myself or glue myself to anything today. I also finished planting my flowers and washed all of my suitcases. Audrey was in heaven because she got to play with the hose and tried her best to kill the sander.


  1. Remember your Gramma Christie met Al Capone.....he tried his "ladies man move on her and she wasn't going for it". You were destined to have the piece. Good thing you grew up with a dad who taught you hardware, huh? Makes up for having to put up with all those grouchy customers.....

  2. Hello: My Aunt Kathleen LeFevre worked for Peck and Hills Furniture back when she was in her 20's. She worked there as the receptionist and told us the story of the time when she met Al Capone, he came into the store and she had to call one of the salesmen up to the front and said, Mr. Capone is here to see you.!

  3. WOW! That is so cool. Thank you so much for sharing. <3

  4. I enjoyed your comments. I found an oak desk chair with the Peck and Hills stamp on the bottom. I beleive it is a little older than your dresser. I had to reinforce the seat but the frame is very tight. Keep on looking. I have been at it for about forty five years. It is an obsessive behavior. You never know what you will find. Good luck hunting.

  5. I just purchased a 30x72 Peck & Hills wood table. The woman I bought it from bought it from an auction of Emporia State University furnishings. So this table would have been in a class room or a library (my guess). When I was Murphy Oil Soaping it I found the original shipping label "Examine these goods before removing from depot." I don't know how old this piece is - as there is no stamp like you have on yours. The shipping label indicates P & H were in New York, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Oakland & San Francisco.

  6. I really wish I could find more info on peck and hills. I purchased a set ( buffet and hutch) from an elderly gentleman cleaning out his mothers stuff. I paid 30.00 for the 2 pieces that are beautiful! The top of the buffet is scratched because he said they were In storage and stuff was just put on top of it ( so sad) but both Harris peck and hills stamp inside. I think mine are from the late 20s early 30s :)

  7. I believe I may have your chairs you are looking for. I recently bought them at a thrift store and they were so unique I had to have them. For the person who has been looking for 45 years, should you be interested, please post me your email address and we can talk. I will check back for your response often. I have two chairs that display this Peck and Hills emblem.

  8. We were watching an episode of Emergency called "The Old Engine". In a fire scene 3/4 of the way through the episode, there is a brief view of a building with a sign "Peck and Hills Wholesale Furniture". It may have been in business as late as 1973.

  9. I found a piece from the Olbrich and Golbeck furniture company who Peck and Hills sold. Quarter sawn white oak. Didnt see a peck and hills stamp but there was a tag on the back saying it was sold to the Schmitt Bar in Blue Island, Ill.

  10. my grandfather worked for Peck and Hills as an accountant until they went bankrupt in the Great Depression in the 1930's, I was told. His Aunt was Katie Hills, whose husband, I was told, was a part owner of the store. They lived on the south side of Chicago, and I imagine that is where the store was located. As far as I know, they only had one store?

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  12. Hi! I actually have a piece of Peck and Hill's furniture. My dad bought it for me at an auction in NE Indaiana. It is an old cedar chest and it came with the original bill of sale still inside. It was purchased right before Christmas in 1957. In the upper right hand corner it has the Peck and Hills symbol, but in the middle it has a different company's name and address that looks like it was added with a typewriter. This piece was actually sold from a store in Highland, IN not in the downtown Chicago store, but i also have been looking for some history on the company. If i could find a way to attach a photo of it i would!

    1. Hello, thanks for messaging me. Please feel free to message me at amanda.wick.cunningham@gmail.com if you would like to share photos. Thank you so much!