Wakefield Rattan Company

The Wakefield Rattan Company was the world's leading manufacturer of rattan furniture and objects in the second half of the 19th century. Founded by Cyrus Wakefield in 1851 in South Reading, Massachusetts (now Wakefield), it perfected machinery for working with rattan, developing looms for weaving chair seats and mats. Its products also included wicker furniture and baby carriages. The company also successfully found uses for previously wasted portions of the plant, using shavings to create baling fabric and floor coverings. Its products were available throughout the United States.[2]

Wakefield Rattan Co.
Now-demolished Wakefield Rattan Company buildings, c. 1985
Wakefield Rattan Company is located in Massachusetts
Wakefield Rattan Company
Wakefield Rattan Company is located in the United States
Wakefield Rattan Company
Location134 Water St., Wakefield, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°30′11″N 71°3′59″W / 42.50306°N 71.06639°W / 42.50306; -71.06639
MPSWakefield MRA
NRHP reference No.89000692 [1]
Added to NRHPJuly 06, 1989



In 1868, Cyrus Wakefield donated a new town hall to South Reading, which renamed itself Wakefield in his honor. He was also a major benefactor and investor in the town.

When Wakefield died in 1873, his company employed 1,000 workers at an 11 acres (4.5 ha) site just outside the town center. In the 1890s, the company merged with Heywood Brothers, becoming the Heywood-Wakefield Company. The manufacturing facilities were updated after several fires did significant damage to the plant.

By 1930, the company's business had declined, and its facilities were redeveloped for other uses. In 1972, a fire destroyed all but four buildings.[citation needed] In 1989, those buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 2005, they were demolished and replaced by a supermarket.

See also



  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. April 15, 2008.
  2. ^ "NRHP nomination form". Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Retrieved 2011-11-29.