Stickley historian brings knowledge to ‘road show’Written by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
Fans of “Antiques Roadshow” should head to Betty Rumpf Interiors on May 31 to see the Stickley Furniture Road Show.
The family-run store will host Mike Danial, the corporate historian for Stickley, a high-quality wood furniture company. Betty Rumpf Interiors is one of the few dealers of Stickley furniture in Ohio, said Jim Rumpf, president of the store, adding that Danial is “very interesting.”
“The folks at Betty Rumpf are a real high-class operation and they’ve been selling Stickley for well up to 30 years,” Danial added.
Like Betty Rumpf Interiors, which started in 1960, Stickley began as a family business. The Stickley brothers opened their furniture company in the early 20th century with great success. However, after the brothers passed away, the business hit tough times until the 1970s when the Audi family took over. Since the Audis took over, the number of employees has grown from 25 to about 1,300.
Danial started at the Stickley factory in Syracuse, N.Y., about the same time Alfred Audi took over. Danial just wanted a summer job at the place his uncle worked, but found he loved woodworking.
“So there I was, 19 years old, basically addicted to woodworking, which is not a bad thing to be addicted to,” Danial said.
Eventually, Audi sent Danial on a sort of early version of what is now his road show. “They would send me out to antique shows. We would rent a little area and I would go out with some of the Stickley antiques [found] in the basement. I would go not so much to sell them, but to talk about them,” Danial said. He also brought new pieces of furniture, which began selling so successfully that the antique dealers would get angry.
Since 1985, Danial has spent four months of the year traveling for the road show and also does restoration for antiques at the Stickley Museum. At the road show, he covers history, furniture care, how to tell if something is a quality wood piece and anecdotes he’s gathered over the years.
“The people who come to Stickley Furniture Road Show think twice about the kind of furniture they buy and what they want to live with in their home,” he said.
Danial will “demystify” wood furniture upkeep myths like rubbing furniture with bananas and also give practical tips like not combining furniture polishes and not overpolishing.
Fans of woodwork like himself will also enjoy the presentation, Danial said. “This is the kind of furniture that a woodworker could look at and admire and say, ‘I aspire to that,’ ” he said.
“The other thing people learn is how to tell if they’re looking at a good piece of furniture or not,” Danial said. “I give people some methods about how to define quality.”
He emphasized that the show is not a sales presentation and also said he would do informal furniture appraisals if event-goers bring in a picture or piece of furniture. Once in Cincinnati, a man brought in what he thought was a Stickley wastebasket. The item, purchased for $5, turned out to be an umbrella stand made in 1905 and was valued at $13,000.
“Things like that do happen and sometimes people don’t know have what they have,” Danial said.
The Stickley Furniture Road Show starts at 7 p.m. May 31 at Betty Rumpf Interiors, 4338 W. Central Ave. The road show is free, but seating is limited. Call (419) 536-3718 for a reservation by May 28. Visit www.stickley.com to learn more.