Monterey Furniture refers to several distinctive furniture lines made from 1930 to the mid-1940s in California. It derived its character from Spanish revival style, the California missions and their furnishings, ranch furnishings, and cowboy accessories.
Original Spanish revival, Barker Bros postcard
Mason Manufacturing Company, founded by Frank Mason, is credited with the original style. Other lines were made by Imperial Company, Angeles Furniture Company (the line called Coronado), Del Rey, Brown and Saltman, and even Sears (La Fiesta.). Original Mason Monterey stands out from these other lines with it’s superior quality and heavy hand wrought iron strapping.
Monterey “prohibition” bar. The tile top slides forward revealing a hidden compartment.
Monterey by Mason came in just a few distinct finishes and in the beginning most pieces had some sort of decorative elements, such as a lively squiggle, or a floral decoration. The Mexican cartoonist Juan Intenoche headed the paint department, and the most valuable pieces of Monterey contain his whimsical designs. Donkeys, bucking horses and bulls, sleeping men under wide hats, cactus and other images are his trademark.
The whimsical art of Juan Intenoche.
Mason branded most of their furniture with a horseshoe and the name, “Monterey,” though not all are branded. Smoke from the branding occasionally was too thick for the workers; on those days they simply stopped branding.
Making and painting Monterey furniture c 1932
Hollywood, via Barker Brothers Furniture co., was influential in the original creation of Mason’s furniture line. Barker Brothers approached Frank Mason with the idea of creating a line of furniture based on furniture seen in an old (1929) cowboy movie, “In Old Arizona.” Spanish revival homes were being built all over Los Angeles and Barker Brothers, smartly, wanted a line of furniture that would complement the style of those homes. Hence the birth of Monterey furniture.
In The Midtown Mercantile Mall – main floor
Come on into the Midtown Mercantile Antique Mall. 4443 E. Speedway, Tucson AZ. You just might find some Monterey or Monterey style furniture!
Carol Fenn 8-2018