Throwback Thursday: Mattress Trivia!

Good afternoon!

We hope to find you well on this beautiful Thursday! This week, in keeping with our theme of mattresses, we will be outlining some mattress trivia that was originally featured on a Fitterer’s 110th anniversary banner in 2006. While you may have heard a few of the more common facts, some of these tidbits may surprise you!

10,000 Years Ago:

In the Neolithic period we find the first evidence of people sleeping on primitive beds made of soft branches and furs.

3400 B.C. :

Egyptian Pharaohs are the first credited with building a platform off the ground on which to sleep. These were known as pallets and were used by royalty. Common people slept on palm bows heaped in the corner of their home.

Roman Empire:

The first luxury bed – usually stuffed with reeds, hay, wool, or feathers , and covered in luxurious fabrics. Romans are also credited with creating the first waterbed. The sleeper would recline in a cradle of warm water until drowsy, then be lifted onto an adjacent cradle with a mattress, where they would be rocked to sleep.

16th & 17th Centuries:

Mattresses were generally stuffed with straw or down and placed atop a latticework of rope for support. Over time these ropes would loosen and need to be tightened, hence the phrase “Sleep Tight”.

1800s :

Mattresses were filled with cotton, hair or feathers. Variations of cotton were the best sellers and foundations were usually open coiled boxsprings. Assorted vermin ( bugs, bacteria, mildew) were typical as an accepted component of even the most royal beds.

1950’s:

Foam Rubber (latex) mattresses and pillows appeared on the market.

1960’s:

Modern waterbed introduced. Adjustable beds become popular with consumers.

1980’s:

Airbeds introduced

1990’s:

Spacious sleeping is on the rise. In 1999, the queen-size mattress became America’s most popular choice for the first time. It beat the twin size.

Today:

Choice and comfort are the key words in contemporary bedding. In addition to an almost unlimited range of innerspring mattress designs, new types of foam mattress cores ( such as ‘memory” or visco-elastic foam and refinements to traditional latex) as well as airbeds, waterbeds, and high-tech adjustable sleep sets offer consumers attractive, quality alternatives. Pillow top mattresses, a popular innovation in luxury, offer an extra mattresses are common.

Though its been a few years since we put this information together for the first time, today’s mattress trends are still largely the same. Choice and individualized comfort are key in choosing the perfect mattress by contemporary standards. If you need a helping hand , our mattress experts are here to help you start sleeping soundly! For more on mattress shopping, check out last weeks’ tip blog!

Tip Tuesday! Mattresses

It’s no secret that sleep is an important factor if you’re trying to stay healthy. It’s also no secret that if your mattress isn’t up to par, you won’t be achieving the maximum benefits from a snooze.

Industry standards say you should replace your mattress every ten years. Sometimes though, ten years might be just too long to wait before upgrading the surface you’re sleeping on. So what should you be looking for when you think its time to make a change? We asked our mattress expert, Aaron, for some tips on when to replace your mattress, and what to look for when you’re searching for ‘the one’.

Is it time for a new mattress?

Pain: If you wake up with pain in your back and neck or you’re simply feeling sore and achy when you wake in the morning, its probably time to consider replacing your mattress. Mattresses that are past their prime can cause tossing and turning, leading to sore muscles, less REM cycles, and just general fatigue.

You’ve Had it Forever : While sometimes a mattress will need replacing before the 10 year mark, other times you simply need a new mattress because, well, yours is old. If it was fantastic when you bought it, you may be hesitant to go to a newer model. Over time, though, body composition can change. When it does, your mattress should be able to support any variations.

What kinds of mattresses are available?

There many mattress types available , each claiming their own unique traits. These are a few of the most common that you’ll see on a showroom floor:

Innerspring : The most commonly used in households across the country. According to furniture.com, an estimated 80 percent of of homes are using innerspring mattresses. These types of mattresses are constructed using steel coils to support body weight.

Latex : These mattresses constructed of either organic, blended or fully synthetic latex material are popular with shoppers today, and are typically hailed for their firmness and high durability.

Memory Foam : Memory foam mattresses are another popular mattress model on the market today. These mattresses are constructed from polyurethane molding that allows for conformity to the shape of the body.

Hybrid : Hybrid mattresses typically combine both memory foam and innerspring mattress technology. They allow for the body hugging feel of a memory foam mattress with the sturdiness and support of innerspring.

Something each of these mattress types will have in common are variations of firmness and style.

What's Right for Me?

It’s difficult to pin point pros and cons for each material without actually laying on the mattress itself. Mattress comfort depends so much on the individual, its difficult to know what's best without a trial. While one person may need the support of a firm latex model, another person may sleep best on a plush memory foam or hybrid.

We asked Aaron what to avoid when you venture out to buy your next mattress - he suggested staying away from pushy sales people. While no one likes to be in a pressure situation, if your mattress salesperson is steering you towards a model that isn’t right for you, you may find yourself in the market for another mattress sooner than you’d like.

 

Definition Sources: https://www.furniture.com/mattress

Throwback Thursday : F. Fitterer

 

Good morning! Thursdays are typically as much of a surprise to us as they are to you – and today is no different. Choosing where to begin the hunt for some throwback inspiration is always the first step, but sometimes it takes a few attempts before something really sticks. While each piece that we find is interesting, choosing something to share almost always requires peeling back a few layers.

 

Inside the cabinet - this lock box houses several other vintage treasures 

 

We’ve shared many items from the cabinet that we’ve found in an old metal lock box. The worn black box on the top shelf is filled with photos, old office supplies, vintage adverts, and more – but today we wanted to take a second look at the box itself. After all, its clearly an older item.

When we pulled the box out of the cabinet and looked around for clues, the container bore little to no markings. A simple lock on the front and its smaller size hinted that it could possibly be an old cash box, or personal lock box of some kind.

Due to its age and use , the box no longer closes perfectly as it had years ago

We took the larger items that it was holding out, dropping down the lid for a closer look, and what we found was a first initial followed by a last name. F. Fitterer is written in some sort of ink on the top of this container.

The words F. Fitterer are still visable on the box - we attribute these initials to co-founder Frank Fitterer ( 1870-1953)  

For those who aren’t familiar with the Fitterer’s Furniture family legacy – Frank Fitterer was a co-founder of Fitterer’s Furniture, along with his older brother Phillip. Frank lived from 1870 to 1953 and Phillip purchased Frank’s share of the business in 1916. Its unclear whether this was something that Frank left behind after he left the family business, or simply a personal effect that made its way to the store at some point in history. While we can’t be sure what year this lock box dates back to, it’s clearly an antique – and a unique piece of history to find on a Thursday morning!

For more on the history of Fitterer’s Furniture, please take a look at the PDF booklet celebrating the 1996 centennial anniversary! Though so many years have passed, family and our customers remain the center of our focus here at Fitterer’s. 

From our family to yours, have a safe and happy weekend – we’ll see you back here in two weeks!

Throwback Thursday: Bigelow Weavers

Good Morning!

We hope you’ve had a great week, and are doing well with all of your New Year’s resolutions – isn’t everyone?

This morning we decided to break from our regular norm and give you another blog for ‘Throwback Thursday’. Searching the cabinet for a photo of Brad (since we all know everyone loves Brad – maybe he should have had his own sitcom, instead of Raymond?), we found a little pamphlet that we hadn’t seen before.

This Pamphlet, no bigger than your standard smart phone today, is titled: ‘PLAN YOUR OWN 18th Century Room’. The bottom of the brochure has FITTERER BROS. Ellensburg, Wash. Printed across a white space.

As you open the tri-fold, beautiful artwork and text span the pages. The brand in the lower left hand corner lets us know that this advertising brochure was produced by Bigelow Weavers, a popular Rug and Carpet company from the mid 1800s to around the 1960s.

Typically, when we find something like this we try to find out about when it was made, who produced it, and why it was important. This one was a little tricky. What we were able to find though, was some information about the artwork spread across the 2nd and 3rd pages on the inside of the brochure. According to Historic New England 1 , this artwork was created in 1939 for rug, carpet, interior decoration and furnishing advertising pamphlets. You can read more of that information by clicking on any of the photos below.

The inside pages of the tri-fold Bigelow Weavers Pamplet we found this morning

The back pages of the pamphlet giving tips, and the latest Bigelow patterns 

This particular pamphlet with the Fitterer Bros’ Branding is actually very reminiscent of some of today’s design blogs or online magazines. The company gives you tips for designing a room ‘from the floor up’ in order to set the color scheme, accent ‘delicate grace of the furniture’ , etc. They give some sample artwork of of their most popular new patterns that will help you to design your own 18th Century room. The back pages give tips for choosing your rug, and mention that ‘there’s a Bigelow grade and price for every room, every budget.’ It really is a great little vintage advertising piece.

We aren’t sure exactly when Fitterer’s received these pamphlets, but if the date of the interior artwork is prior to 1940 we are guessing this tri-fold is somewhere between 70 and 80 years old. Amazing- especially considering that its in such excellent shape! The colors remain vibrant, and there’s only a slight crease in the upper right hand corner. A fun find on this Thursday Morning!

Thowback Thursday : The Cash Register

Good Morning! It’s snowing here in Ellensburg – if you’re local and you’re driving please be safe! This morning we have a special throwback for you, and a blog to go along with it!

The famous Fitterer’s cash register was purchased (used) from another establishment in Ellensburg in the early 1900s. The ornate machine has been in the Fitterer building ever since. There's little in our downtown store that invokes more pride and nostalgia than this lovely cash register that sits back in the office.

This cash register has to be the single most talked about item in the store that’s not a sofa, armchair or another home furnishing. Customers love to come around and look at the register and its 10 drawers that go all the way to the floor. Each drawer opens with the crank handle and gives a different chime when opened up. In fact, yesterday, a couple from out of town made the comment: “If that cash register could talk...” We agree, if it had a voice, the stories would go on for years.

The cash register was manufactured by a company called the “National Cash Register Co.”, operating out of Dayton, OH. According to the label that is still fixed to the bottom of the first drawer, it was built in 1909. The sticker (pictured below) reads that the register was made for ‘The Big Store’ in Ellensburg – this was the store that the register was purchased (used) from sometime after they closed. Also noted on the affixed label is the sellers information, It reads: ‘ Sold by F.M. Slack in Tacoma, WA’. There are some additional labels with patent information as well (also pictured). 

Cash Register Patent labels: found under the 'A' drawer of the cash register

 

Cash Register serial number, "made for" and "sold by" tag and information: found under the 'A' drawer of the cash register 

Though it can’t talk, there are still many stories surrounding the cash register. One of the iconic stories that we enjoy sharing with our customers actually starts with a fire. When the building next door, The Webster apartment building, burnt down in the eighties the fire department actually came over to Fitterer’s to take the cash register out. They knew it was that important to the store!

We no longer ring up sales on the machine, but the cash register continues to be used daily at the store as a cash drawer and for supply storage. Naturally, it's been supplemented with an accompanying credit card machine as time has passed!

Photos of this iconic antique are always fun to take. We’ve had a few professional photographers capture the essence of the register over the years – and Brad loves a good cash register photo with his Grandsons!

If you get a chance to come down and take a look at the cash register, please do! We love to answer your questions and would be happy to show you how it works!

Brad Fitterer and Grandson Andrew at the iconic cash register 

 

4th Generation owner Brad Fitterer in front of the antique cash register - photo by Rob Fraser

Throwback Thursday : Classic Christmas Movies

Christmas traditions certainly vary across the world and family to family. If your family is one that loves to gather around a great Christmas movie to get into the holiday spirit, chances are you have a ‘Go-To’ film on the shelf. While our list is in no way comprehensive, we chose a few favorites to share this week!

A Christmas Story : It’s no secret we love ‘A Christmas Story’ around here! Just take a look at our 2012 Christmas window. Leg lamps, the Bumpuses dogs, shooting your eye out..what’s not to love?

    Our 2012 main Street Window in Downtown Ellensburg - Inspired by ' A Christmas Story' 

 

A Charlie Brown Christmas: Another of our favorites! We actually featured this one in our Main Street Christmas window in 2014! Charles M. Schulz definitely knew how to make holiday specials that transcend time. The 1965 classic ‘ A Charlie Brown Christmas’ has been digitally remastered, and continues to be a favorite among family cable networks every season! 1

      Our 2013 main Street Window in Downtown Ellensburg - Inspired by ' A Charlie Brown Christmas' 

Elf:  We have definitely celebrated our share of holiday movie favorites in our past Christmas windows - Elf was our 2013 feature!  Though Elf hasn’t been around for generations, it does turn about 14 years old this year! Will Farrell’s performance as Buddy the Elf in this newer Christmas classic puts a smile on faces of all ages. With no shortage of laughs, it’s a feel good way to get into the spirit of the holidays!

First we'll make snow angels for a two hours, then we'll go ice skating, then we'll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookiedough as fast as we can, and then we'll snuggle.”

- Buddy the Elf 2

            Our 2014 main Street Window in Downtown Ellensburg - Inspired by ' Elf' 

The Santa Claus : Tim Allen’s 1995 Christmas film, ‘The Santa Claus’ won several awards in 1995, including an MTV Movie award, Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice award and a People’s Choice award. The story of a man who accidentally kills Santa and has to take his place was so popular, it became a trilogy with two more films to follow. 3

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: This beloved Dr. Seuss story has been made into both cartoon and live action films- people of all ages have enjoyed the tale of the Grinch who palnned to ruin Christmas in Whoville. There’s even a new version of this great Christmas classic coming in 2018! 4

As we mentioned before, this is in no way a comprehensive list of Christmas movie favorites. “Miracle on 34th Street” , “It’s a Wonderful Life” , “Home Alone”, the list could go on forever! No matter what you’re watching this year we wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and Happy New year!

-All of us at Fitterer’s Furniture!

 

1. http://abc.go.com/movies-and-specials/a-charlie-brown-christmas

2. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0319343/quotes

3.http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111070/awards?ref_=tt_awd

4. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0170016/

Throwback Thursday : An Old Fashioned Christmas

                  Christmas Past - Fitterer's Furniture ( year unknown)

Two weeks ago, we dove into some old Thanksgiving traditions that have fizzled out over the years. While Christmas’ past may not have blended into other holidays or strayed too far from what we know today; there’s something special about an ‘Old Fashioned Christmas’.

It seems like every year, stores start gearing up for the holidays earlier and earlier. Artificial trees hit the aisles even before Halloween, on occasion. With so much focus on the commercial aspect of Christmas, looking back on a simpler time invokes feelings of nostalgia for many.

Have you ever strung popcorn and cranberry garland? Chances are if you haven’t made this traditional tree trimming, your parents or grandparents did. Many families even used cut down their trees from their own backyards! Of course, when this was a popular way to get your tree there were far fewer residential developments.

Another traditional Christmas past time that we see less of today was caroling to the neighbors. Though singing Christmas carols has not completely faded, carolers at your doorstep have largely been replaced by carolers at festivals and craft fairs. It could be a very fun thing to bring back!

Along with caroling, the tradition of handmade gifts has also seen a change over the decades. Rather than heading to the department store, many families would make their gifts. Though we see less presents made by our family and friends, craft fairs have certainly become popular during the holidays. We think this a testament to the special tradition of a handmade gift. Artistically inclined families may still craft their gifts from scratch – and those of us who are less so, enjoy purchasing their creations instead!

One handmade gift you may have received in days gone by was a hand knit or crocheted stocking. It was probably made by your Mother, Grandmother, or someone else special to you – and it was likely filled with oranges and chocolate coins! Kids today might be confused if they went through their stockings to find fruit, but it was a common practice years ago.

Though traditions evolve as time goes by, the memories of the past remain. Many families still incorporate some old fashioned Holiday fun into their celebrations – tell us what you love to bring back from Christmas’ past!

Christmas Present - Fitterer's Furniture 2017

 Some of the current Fitterer's staff with Lydia , a long time employee of Fitterer's who retired a few years ago!

 

 

Throwback Thursday – Raggamuffin Day?

The holidays are a bright spot in an otherwise cold and dark time of year. Families travel to come together after months apart, friends and neighbors gather to enjoy each others company and all around it’s a ‘feel good’ time for many. Traditions vary of course, family to family; however, most of us have some combination of parade, feast, football and nap!

Knowing Thanksgiving as we do today, its hard to believe that about a century ago it looked a little more like modern day Halloween.

Cities in particular (especially New York) came to life on Thanksgiving. Hundreds of costumed children and adults would parade the streets going on “crawls”. Throwing flour or confetti on passers by was considered acceptable. Children would “beg” for something for Thanksgiving and were gladly given candy, pennies or other small tokens.

Its a strange event to wrap your head around, knowing the holiday as we do presently. Could you imagine walking down Main street on Thanksgiving day and being hit in the face with a handful of flour by a family in costumes, begging for change and candy? It’s an amusing visual, that’s for sure!

For historical photos of  these Thanksgiving traditions, click the links below in our sources. There are some great photos from NPR, the library of congress and more!

The tradition didn’t last too far into the 1900s, but while it did, the bulk of children dressed like the poor or homeless. The day was even given the nickname ‘Raggamuffin day’ in reference to the costumed beggars. Manufacturers of masks and candy makers were busier than ever during the Thanksgiving season.

Though it was a popular past time at the start of the century, ‘Raggamuffin Day’ drew less participants as time went on. Virtually these crawls became replaced with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade which made its debut in 1924.

No matter your tradition, we wish you and your loved ones health and happiness this Thanksgiving!

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.’ William Arthur Ward

 

Sources :

https://www.npr.org/sections/npr-history-dept/2015/11/24/456786946/masking-memories-thanksgiving-in-disguise

https://www.nypl.org/blog/2010/11/23/thanksgiving-ragamuffin-parade

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/greg-young/thanksgiving-history_b_2167414.html

Playing the Advertising Cards

It's no secret that advertising has changed significantly over the years. Clearly, Google and Facebook weren't the ‘go-to’ for marketing directors in the 50’s.

It used to be that if a business wanted to advertise, they went directly to print. The local high school yearbook, magazines and newspapers were great ways to be seen in the community. Ads in publications were frequent (and remain so today) but it was also common to see businesses advertising on basic household items.

We have several examples of these vintage ads in our cabinet of history. Thermometers featuring ‘Fitterer Bros’ branding, yard sticks and even matchbooks fill our shelves. We even have a fun vintage ad hanging on the wall in our office. This 1952 card table top features companies from the Kittitas Valley;  a unique local treasure.

Card table top - featuring advertisers around the Kittitas Valley

One of our customers actually came in last week and told us that he too, owns one of these vintage tables! Ours is certainly worn, but it is in fairly good shape for 65 years old. With a wooden frame, its much different than the folding card tables we are used to seeing today.

The table features about 45 local companies, including some still in business. Fitterer’s, Mid State Co-op, The Daily Record, Kelleher and Knudson Lumber are just some of the spaces that fill the table.  While many are no longer in business, this is still a fun look into Ellensburg’s past.

If you do a Google search for these tables, you'll see there are still a few scattered around the United States. Most feature about the same amount of ad space ( or larger in some cases) from various businesses. Have you ever seen one of these unique tables?

Throwback Thursday – A Simple Post Card

Post cards seem to transcend time. You may not get a personal post card via snail mail as often as you did before everyone could send an email from their pocket, but;  the post card industry is still very much alive and well.

Many people seek out the post card stand on vacations, looking for perfect photos to stash in a box of memories. The Grand Canyon, Disney, Niagara Falls, Las Vegas, The Statue of Liberty- chances are you have at least a handful of post cards from some of these iconic destinations. The photography is beautiful, and generally maintains its quality longer than a traditional photo. You may even have a post card or two from Fitterer's if you've shopped here over the years!

Prior to the age of technology, when traditional mail and the still very new landline telephone were the primary means of communication, post cards were a big business. There’s a whole history surrounding these printed cards – one (that we at least) were largely unaware of.

This week, a post card from the early 1900s inspires our throwback!

We found, almost by accident, a fun ( albeit small, in terms of today’s versions) antique post card in our cabinet today. The card measures 5.5 x 3.5 inches, and based on the research we did , looks to date back between 1907 and 1915.

 

The front of the post card found in our cabinet this week! We believe it dates somewhere between 1907 and 1915

The card features a whimsical photo of a couple, hand drawn question marks composed of flowers, and a banner with the question “Would you care?”. We were able to find a few of these online that were actually sent by post, but ours is blank. Could be that it was purchased as a collectible and given to the store by someone over the years – or it may have just been here at the store all of that time.

 We learned that post cards were primarily manufactured in Europe during the early 1900s, but this card states that it was printed in the U.S.  In addition to the ‘Printed in the U.S.' statement, are the words 'Theochrom Serie 1219’.

The back view of the post card found today - despite some marking over time, its in great condition for its age! Note the ' Printed in the U.S. ' text

We read that the majority of post cards were printed in Europe prior to WWI, so we weren’t as sure about the dating for this piece. A quick Google search for ‘Theochrom Serie 1219’ immediately brought up this card, as well as some history on the manufacturer. The company, Theodor Eismann , produced these cards.They were in fact a German company, which makes the 'Printed in the U.S.' message even more curious. It turns out there's  an interesting history regarding  the move of Theodor Eismann printing equipment to the U.S. – for more on Theodor Eismann, follow the link here!

http://www.tpa-project.info/html/body_th__eismann.html

Its fun to dig into the history of these little finds – and you really cannot help but smile at this Post Card. Its lighthearted , and possibly not something you’d expect for an early 1900s collectible.

Who knew you could learn so much from a simple post card?

 

 

Keep reading for some fun facts about the history of post cards! And be sure to check out the link to the Smithsonian website where we got the bulk of our information.

 

Did you know?

  •  The history of post cards can be broken up into distinct periods
    Though its difficult to put an exact date on every post card, there are about eight different time frames that separate their history
  •  It wasn’t until 1861 that congress passed an act to allow cards from private printers weighing under one ounce to be sent in the mail. This was the same year that the first post card in the US was copy righted.
  •  Between 1891 and about 1901 Private Post Cards were printed identifying themselves as “Private Mailing Cards”, to distinguish private vs. government produced cards. This period of time also restricted where text could be placed – for example, no message could be placed on the side of the card that was intended for the address.
  • The period from 1907-1915 is considered to be the “golden age of postcards”. This can be attributed to the overwhelming popularity of the post card during this era.
  •  Post cards were largely produced in Germany during the early days ( up until World War I) Though American post cards became more the norm at this time, quality fell due to a lack of technology for manufacturing.
  •  When quality fell during the change over to US production, people became less interested in collecting cards , effectively ending the “ golden age” of post cards. In order to save ink – the entire card was not filled with ink, leaving a white border. Cards made between 1915-1930 are likely to have this border.
  • Starting in 1930 , new technology allowed for cards to be printed to look like linen – this was the gateway for the photochrom era ( essentially post cards as we know them )

Sources :

https://siarchives.si.edu/history/featured-topics/postcard/postcard-history

http://www.tpa-project.info/html/body_th__eismann.html