Here at Gene’s Trading Post, we love anything unique. When we acquired this Ed Roos cedar chest, we knew this was a unique piece. As we did more research we learned just how interesting it’s history is. We call it a waterfall chest because the masterful wood working used here created a fluid, glass-like look to the wood, like water running down the chest. It’s golden color and pristine, glossy finish is unlike any wood chest we had ever seen before. We did a little research on the history and wanted to share with all our vintage aficionado friends!
Edward Roos originally founded the Roos Manufacturing Company, which unfortunately, we couldn’t find much information about. However, after his death, his two sons, Edward and Otto renamed the company to the Roos Cedar Chest Company and, based out of Chicago, they manufactured cedar chests. Unfortunately, in 1916, during World War, the factory was shut down because cedar chests were considered luxurious.
In 1918, Edward Roos, the junior, moved the company to Forest Park, Illinois and reopened the business as the Ed Roos Company of Forest Park. During operation in Forest Park, the company was the largest manufacturing plant in the town and provided work for approximately 400 people. The Ed Roos cedar chests, as they are commonly referred, were marketed mainly as wedding hope chests and were shipped all over the world.
In 1943, Edward Roos, passed away at the age of 62 and not long after his passing, the company was once again impacted by war, with the government restricting their manufacturing during World War II. The passing of Ed Roos and the manufacturing interruptions during the 2 World Wars had detrimental impact on the company and it was sold in 1951.
Although not old enough to be labeled antique, this vintage chest is rich with American history and exemplifies the artistry of the American craftsman that persevered during some very difficult times to make their businesses successful and create gorgeous American products. Come into the store and take a look at this chest for yourself!