Danersk Furniture

The History of the firm dates back to the early 1920’s. The respected company of Erskin and Danforth, Corporations, makers of fine custom furniture. Located at the corner of Pacific St. and Dock St. in Stamford CT. Today that building is known as 1 Dock St. In its heyday, the large and successful manufacturer employed more than 300 workers, many of them were highly skilled carvers and cabinet makers recruited from Europe. Their passage to the U.S, from England, Scotland, and Italy was paid by the Erskin-Danforth  and their recruitment ensured quality craftsmanship for the furniture.

The great depression of 1929 wiped the company out, but it was subsequently re-formed on a smaller scale as Danersk Craftsmen.

It was at this point where the Ralph DeVito The founder of Raphael’s Furniture comes into the picture. Young he started as a mill right, lugging timer and worked his way up to cabinet maker and then foreman.

When Danersk was closing in 1952, while the building was being emptied of equipment and stock, Ralph DeVito noticed the office being emptied and box’s being tossed out in the trash, he was able to pull out and save some items. Some of the items he saved was a stack of Artist hand sketches of each piece they made, 8 x 10 photos of each piece, blue prints, salesman catalogs, advertising, furniture photo cards, price lists, finishing formulas, franchise applications and sales theory’s.

This Danersk Furniture information is all that is left of a great company. Check back, This section is currently under construction and I will be adding more and more and maybe you will find information on that Danersk piece that you have found. Thank you. Mark DeVito.

Some Danersk Craftsmen

Some Danersk’s Clients

McIntire Arm Chair #1043A

From the office of Erskin-Danforth. 1932.


Erskine-Danforth Corporation

                              The Erskine-Danforth Corporation organized in1914 to manufacture and sell furniture. The following year manufacturing operations were established in Stamford, Connecticut. The company made a well-equipped manufacturing plant with 80,000 square feet of floor space. This location afforded satisfactory labor and manufacturing facilities as well as accessibility to the principal markets.

   The company developed and maintained its own sales outlets in New York, Chicago, Cleveland, and Los Angeles, through which its products were distributed direct to consumers, decorators, contract furnishers and retail stores.

   With adverse conditions in 1931, and acute conditions in 1932, (especially in the field of the better grades of furniture), there occurred a rapid shift of consumer buying from the decorator to the department store.

   This caused the Erskine-Danforth management to undertake drastic changes in its methods of distribution. A merchandising plan was developed, patterned after successful plans in other industries, but new to the furniture industry. This proved acceptable to merchants, and a number of substantial orders were obtained.

The Chicago sales outlet, in1923, developed rapidly, and by 1927, it required enlarged quarters. The lack at that time of suitable and available locations in that city to meet the demands of growth caused the management to enter into the lease of an entire building on Michigan Avenue. The major portion of this building was sublet to other tenants. The collapse of Chicago real estate entailed capital and operating losses to the company from this undertaking, which by the end of 1938 had aggregated more than $200,000.


The products, sold under the brand names “Erskine-Danforth” and “Danersk” consisted of a variety of household furniture for bedrooms, diningrooms, and Livingrooms, and an assortment for executive offices. Exceptional work was undertaken for businesses and other institutions, such as banks, insurance companies, corporations, executive offices, libraries, clubs, hospitals, and educational institutions. Numbered among the company’s customers were many of the United States’ outstanding institutions.

   The conviction that furniture designed and made in the spirit of sincerity and of appropriateness for the American home could be produced and sold profitably and in a manner to give permanent assurance of profit, remained at all times the purpose and inspiration of the Erskine-Danforth Corporation operations.

   In the design of its products, principals-whether in traditional forms or in more modern interpretations-were adhered to. Pads and shifting seasonal styles were avoided unless they possessed genuine merit. This spirit developed an organization which promoted and maintained the standards of quality, and a-products possessing in high degree stability of value and acceptability to the rapidly pending American market for things of good taste in the home.

   The prices which products commanded, while high as compared to most economical furniture, were always on a favorable competitive basis with equivalent grades made by others, and bore favorable comparison with furniture of commercial grades. It was successfully demonstrated that quality furniture properly conceived could be made and distributed at prices to place it readily within the means of those of modest income.


   While an average of 85% of the company’s trade-marked products were sold though decorators and other trade channels, and 15% direct to consumers, all contacts were such as to establish identification of the maker. Consumer goodwill resulted from virtually every transaction. The company’s customer list thus accumulated in the period 1926–1932 included more than 15,000 names representing a volume of sales in those seven years of $8,261,000.


     In addition to established customer acceptance, enlarged by the self-advertising characteristics of a products possessing permanency of value in form and quality with the resulting pride of ownership, a nationwide knowledge of and desire for

                               Erskine-Danforth furniture increased with growing momentum. This was done through 19 years of advertising to consumers in national magazines, newspapers in the larger centers, and direct by mail. In the five years 1926-1932, a total of $372,000, and in 19 years over $800,000, was expended for this purpose.

  The name “Erskine-Danforth” among furniture manufacturers in the United States, possessed this wide consumer acceptance. Its position was attained in an industry whose total sales in ten years averaged over $850,000,00 per annum, with a minimum in 1932 of about $500,000,000.

    The goodwill value of the name was recognized generally in the trades, by merchants large and small, as well as by manufacturers of furniture and of many allied products.

    The results of the company’s extensive research and creative work were embedded in a large collection of designs, working patterns and furniture “documents.” It included a more than 150 designs of unusual interest recently made to test present requirements in style, quality, and price. In addition, there were hundreds of designs, (including patterns), of pieces of outstanding historic merit which had heretofore been manufactured and sold profitably. The collection represented an expenditure by the company of over $100,000 from 1928–1932, and of over $250,000 in total.

   The experience and the ability to maintain and further develop these values were represented by the small group of individuals whose vision and labors had created them. They possessed what has been called the”know how” in furniture. All the essential elements of this personnel, even though now elsewhere employed, were available, eager, and ready to carry on.

  Erskine-Danforth goodwill, which exists today in spite of the failures of the company, constitute an asset of first importance around which a sound plan of profitable distribution through appropriate dealer channels may be developed.

The largest Duncan Phyfe table in the world.

Photo of the Directors room of the Insurance Company of North America in Philadelphia.
The grand Duncan Phyfe table was designed for this room. The table was made in the Erskine-Danforth manufacturing building in Stamford, CT from the finest San Domigo Mahogany cut to special order for the purpose, it accommodates 22 people. Roomy arm chairs were designed from the originals used by Washington and the senators for the first congress.
Craftsman Phillip Corvier uses a thumb scraper to prepare the Dunkin Phyfe table top.
This photo shows Danersk craftsmen putting the Dunkin Phyfe table top
in a large veneer press.
Photo of newspaper clipping from The Chicago Tribune, March 8, 1926.