Monday, December 1, 2014

Turner Wall Accessories

A while back I fell in love with a curio shelf someone posted on the  Retro Renovation site, and since then I've made a point to notice other things made by its maker, Turner Manufacturing Company. Turner Mfg. was based in Chicago and turned out hundreds of thousands of wall accessories, mainly from about 1949 to about 1977. The products were carried in furniture and department stores, even five-and-dime stores.  Chances are good if you were middle class in that era you had a Turner product on your walls. They were everywhere. I couldn't seem to find as much info as I wanted about the company, so I collected some bits and pieces from out there on the web and looked through old newspaper files. (latest update Dec 5. I am still adding material to this post.)

The earliest mention of Turner I found was from an April 1949 ad for White's Auto Stores in Austin, Texas. Turner was listed in a "miscellaneous" category which included Illinois Moulding, Simmons Baby Furniture, and Federal Wood Carving, among others. (White's was also selling Deena Lamps for $4.95 and a Kroehler set of sofa-bed & chair for $119.) I also found a September 1949 ad mentioning "Turner Pictures" for Westrich's in Delphos, Ohio; and a December ad for Blackwelder's in Statesville, NC. The Blackwelder's ad included the first illustration I could find for a Turner product.
1949 illustration for Turner ad

In March 1950 "Turner Pictures" was mentioned in an ad for Woodry Furniture Co. in Salem, Oregon. In December 1950 "Turner Picture Frames" was mentioned in an ad for the Earl G. Rhodes store in Tipton, Indiana, and in November 1951 Turner got its own separate box in Rhodes' ad which gave this information: Turner Pictures and Shadow Boxes, Currier and Ives, Godey Prints, Floral and Birds and Fashions, Mahogany What-Nots.
1951 Turner ad illustration
It looks like some of the earlier Turner pictures may have been backed with an allover design of the Turner logo printed on brown paper. Most Turner products have a plain back with the familiar blue on white sticker. Some items had "made in USA" and/or item
numbers stamped on the back. A few items like sconces may have a number embossed on the back.

About 1955 Turner began advertising more frequently in newspapers across the U.S. Many of its products were made of "Turnerwood", a composite of molded cellulose acetate and wood fibers. The content of Turnerwood wasn't mentioned in any ads until the 1970s.  Turner began mostly with framed reproductions of classic paintings and artists who seemed to work exclusively for Turner, such as Cydney Grossman, Robert Woods and Arthur Miller. Clocks, plaques and curio cabinets followed.

Turner's heyday seems to have peaked about 1960-62, at least judging by the amount of newspaper advertising. By 1965 there were no more Mother's Day ads, and few ads at Christmas, their main advertising season. By the late 1960s their main product seems to have been mirrors, and mirror sets that included two sconces and/or a console table. There were some modern art pieces, and some of these were "back painted" on glass. Turner also flirted with the manufacture of furniture a few times, like their Capri line of Mediterranean coffee and end tables in the early 1970s.

In 1972 Turner Mfg. was acquired by International Multifoods Corp. of Minneapolis, Minn. At that time Turner employed about 700 people and was expecting to reach $14 million in sales. Turner may have been in trouble by 1975; a legal notice (which I was unable to decipher) was listed in a Chicago business journal in May of that year. I could find no newspaper ads for Turner products after December 1977 until October 1980, when an Indiana discount store was selling off what was left from the Turner factory.

I thought it would be fun to try and date some of Turner's products, so that's what the rest of this post is about. I'll post illustrations & descriptions of products. If I find color photos to match I'll add those too.  And at the end is a list of stores I found that carried Turner products over the years.

SAFETY ISSUE: Many Turner products had a brass ring at the top. You'd think it was made to hang up the picture, but that's not the case. You may need to find a different way to hang your plaques if they don't come with something already made up.

PS This is turning out to be a bigger project than I imagined. I will post this just to get the info up and add to the products as I find them.

Fancy Sunburst Clocks

Left: 24" diameter  $22.98
Imported 8-day wind movement. Carved effect Sunburst frame of Turnerwood. Brilliant gold metal leaf finish.

Right: 26" diameter  $36.98 Imported 8-day wind movement, Sunburst carved effect in Turnerwood. Gold metal leaf finish. 

Exquisite Sunburst Mirrors

Left  24" diameter   $11.98 
Carved frame of Turnerwood, brillant gold metal leaf finish, 8" convex mirror

Right  26" diameter  $19.98
Carved effect of Turnerwood. Brilliant gold metal leaf finish with white finish, 8" convex mirror  

I found several of these clocks selling on eBay for about $300. Sellers indicate movment is made in France by Duverdrey & Bloquel, and winds with a key. 

Sunburst Mirror with 2 Sconces

Seven inch convex mirror surrounded by 24" x24" sunburst design. The sunburst and the two sconces are made of durable Turner-wood and have a sculptured effect which is finished with brilliant gold leaf.
3 pc. ensemble  $14.98

Dramatic Suburst Clock   $17.95

Symmetrical design is moulded in durable Turnerwood and finished in Brilliant Gold with grey tone. Fitted with a reliable Sessions electric clock movement.

24" x34" Large Maurice Utrillo reproduction
Contemporary shell frame in neutral Decorator's finsish   $9.95

(Other distinguishedAmerican and French painters are also represented in this group)

Decorator styled Curio Cabinets

Left cabinet 33" x27"
Two right cabinets 32" x26"

7 styles, all have mirrored backs

 Curio Cabinet

23x29 inches    $15.98
Mirror backed, Chippendale design with scalloped and pierced frame. Mahogany finish.

Large Framed Pictures    $9.95

Reproductions of original oils by top-ranking artists. Choose from gorgeous scenes, colorful florals & charming interior subjects. Variety of frames to harmonize with modern or traditional interiors.

American Beauty Portraits by Cydney

Oilette finish in soft pastels or warm, vibrant colorings. Choose from deep shadow box frame in white with gold speckle or Turnerwood sweep frame with corner and center ornaments.
4x5"  -  $2.98;  6x7",  6x8"  -  $3.98
11x13", 11x14"  -  $6.98

Another ad offered one-piece frames:
Raised ornamentation at corners and center, gold metal leaf with white overlay; Shadowbox frame in raised Greek key design with gold leaf and white; or Reverse shadowbox frame in raised fretwork in gold leaf, background in beige or charcoal.
6 1/2 x 7 1/2" size only $1.98,   8 1/2 x 10 1/2 size  $2.98,   13" x 17" size $5.95

This is a good example of how Turner repurposed a single image by using different shapes and sizes and combining with many different frames.

This one particular set of images, for instance, can be found in rectangular shapes, as squares, and even ovals.

Item # 1213 F21 Silhouettes

 6x6 inch silhouettes in Turnerwood octagon frame. Gold metal leaf antique finish.   $2.59 ea.


Gold Vein Mirror Paneled

Black and gold is the color scheme of this magnificent clock. The face is Gold metal leaf against black backgroud. The reverse shadow box frame is Gold vein mirror-paneled. Use alone or group with other wall accessories for a dramatic effect. Fitted with a reliable electric movement. Overal size: 17 inches square.

$39.95 value: $19.95

Elegant French Baroque

A high fashion in wall accessories. There's richness and elegance in this French design clock. The carved effect Turnerwood case is finished in antique Gold metal leaf. Fitted with a reliable 8-day hand wind movement. Overall size: 17 inches square.

$39.95 value: $19.95


"West Wind" appeared in the ad. Here shown with a variation of its mate,  "East Wind"

Plaques with tile-look background

Fruits and Florals.
Mahogany, Gold tip, Glassed.
Overall size: 8 x 17 inches.

Modern Panels.
Walnut & White finish, Oilette.
Overall size: 10 x 23 inches 


Black and Gold, Glassed.
Overall size: 9 x 16 inches

May have come as a set of four.


set of four 
Plaque in ad is "Spring" 

Detail of the "Summer" plaque

Left - probably a Montmarte scene by Utrillo
Right - possibly 2 young ballerinas by Cydney


Famous Art on Your Walls   -  your choice  $12.97
Works by Robert Wood, W. Sloan, Walker, Utrillo, Van Gogh, Soyer, Cezanne, Rembrandt, Constable, Monet and others. Sizes vary from 21 x 25 inches to 30 x 42 inches.

"Girl with Broom" by Rembrandt.  22 x 27 in., white tone frame, linen center, gold metal leaf lip.

"Still Life with Strawberries" by Hank Bos. 20 x 42 inch, early American finish frame with gold inner line.

"Master Lambton" by Lawrence. 21 x 25 in., modern walnut rame, scoop style with linen center.

"Salton Sea", James Swinnerton.
24 x 44 in. modern walnut shadow box frame with burlap liner, broad gold metal leaf upper line.

"Magnolias" by Walker.
25 x 31 in. modern walnut scoop style frame with linen-effect center.

"Apples and Oranges", Cezanne. 25 x 31 in. modern walnut wide frame with beige toned linen center.

 "The Grand Tetons" by Robert Wood.
23 x 41 in. Ornamented Barbizon style rame in decorator's gold finish.

"Small Hostelry" by Maurice Utrillo.
29 x 35 inch modern walnut scoop style frame with linen-effect center.

RETAILERS 1949-1977
Dorris-Heyman - Phoenix AZ (1961, 68)
Korrick's - Phoenix AZ (1963)
Penney's - Phoenix AZ (1960)
Telco Furniture - Phoenix AZ (1959)
Holiday House - Tucson AZ (1959)
Penney's - Tucson AZ (1962)
Cooper's - Fresno CA (1964, 65)
Gottschalk's - Fresno CA (1964, 65)
Dooley's Hardware Mart - Long Beach CA (1965, 1973)
Walker's - Long Beach CA (1967)
Sears, Roebuck and Co. - Pasadena CA (1957)
McMahan's Furniture Stores - Redlands CA (1967)
Harris' (The Harris Co.) - San Bernadino CA (1956, 1962, 63, 64)
Western Sales - San Bernadino CA (1957, 1959)
Newberry's (J. J. Newberry Co.) - San Mateo CA (1960, 61)
Breuner's - San Mateo CA (1972)
Janko Upholstery - San Rafael CA (1973)
Fuller Home Decorating Center - Van Nuys CA (1965)
Grant's (W. T. Grant Co.) - Bridgeport CN (1962)
Younkers - Des Moines IA (1972)
Jacoby's (C. J. Jacoby & Co.) - Alton IL (1955-56, 59, 60, 61)
Schwarz Furniture & Appliance Co. - Alton IL (1960)
Northwest Metalcraft Studio - Arlington Heights IL (1960)
Heights Glass & Mirror - Chicago IL (1966)
Meadows Glass Corp. - Chicago IL (1977)
Otake Art Shop - Chicago IL (1955)
Kelley's - Anderson IN (1961, 63)
Leath Furniture - Anderson IN (1968)
Rogers - Anderson IN (1961)
Broyle's - Elwood IN (1971)
Taff Furniture Stores - Rushville IN (1959)
Earl G. Rhodes Jewelry & Gifts - Tipton IN (1950)
The Palace - Monroe LA (1958)
Rosenbaum's - Cumberland MD (1956)
Town & Country Department Store - Cumberland MD (1962)
Eyerly's - Hagerstown MD (1959)
Goldblatt's - Benton Harbor MI (1967)
Newland - Benton Harbor MI (1955)
De Pree's - Holland MI (1963)
Milliken's - Traverse City MI (1964)
Emery Bird Thayer - Kansas City MO (1955)
Kline's - Kansas City MO (1961)
Macy's - Kansas City MO (1961)
The Jones Store Co. - Kansas City MO (1961, 1964)
Traditional House - Kansas City MO (1973)
Belk's - Burlington NC (1960, 65)
Matthews-Belk - Gastonia NC (1959)
Belk's - High Point NC (1960)
Blackwelder's, - Statesville NC (1949)
Gold's of Nebraska - Lincoln NE (1956)
Miller and Paine - Lincoln NE (1965, 66)
Penney's - Lincoln NE (1961)
Arrow Furniture - Albuquerque NM (1962)
Las Cruces Furniture Co. - Las Cruces NM (1961)
Home Furniture - Reno NV (1957)
Breuners - Reno NV (1973)
Westrich's Store - Delphos OH (1949)
Moore's - East Liverpool OH (1955)
Elberfeld's - Logan OH (1958)
Batson's - Mansfield OH (1961)
Maxwell's - Mansfield OH (1958)
W. E. Jones - Mansfield OH (1961)
Crusey's - Sandusky OH (1956, 57)
Herman's Furniture & Colonial Shoppe - Sandusky OH (1963)
Woodry Furniture Co. - Salem, OR (1950)
Wolf Furniture Co. - Altoona PA (1956)
Grants - Bristol PA (1961)
Brody's - Canonsburg PA (1971)
M. J. Freed  -  Chester PA (1960)
Sam Levin Furniture Co. - Connellsville PA(1958)
Landau's - Hazleton PA (1958, 1960)
The Discount House - Hazleton PA (1962)
Millers - Huntingdon PA (1961)
Rice's Discounts - Monongahela PA (1963)
W. T. Grant Co. - Uniontown PA (1971)
Bartsch Furniture Co. - Warren PA (1967)
Levinson Brothers Wallpaper & Paint - Warren PA (1961, 62)
Gallant-Belk - Greenwood SC (1962, 64)
Parks-Belk - Kingsport TN (1960)
Thornton's - Abilene TX (1959,1960)
White's Auto Stores - Austin TX (1949)
K-mart - Baytown TX  (1963)
Morrison's - Baytown TX (1961, 62)
Green's Jewelers - Corpus Christi TX (1957)
Lichtenstein's - Corpus Christi TX (1963)
American Furniture Co. - El Paso TX (1959, 1962, 1972, 73)
Imperial Furniture Co. - El Paso TX (1961)
Sears - El Paso TX (1963)
Plantowsky's - Galveston TX (1973)
Schreiber & Miller - Galveston TX (1975)
Furr's Family Center - Lubbock TX (1960)
Gibson's - Lubbock TX (1969)
Murphy's (G. C. Murphy Co.) - Lubbock TX (1962)
Casstevens Furniture - Odessa TX (1961)
Household Furniture Co. - San Antonio TX (1962)
Jorrie's - San Antonio TX (1960)
Karotkin's - San Antonio TX (1964)
Goldstein-Migel - Waco TX (1960)
Stratton's Home Furniture - Waco TX (1973)
Auerbach's - Ogden UT (1973)
R. C. Willey & Son - Ogden UT (1973)
Auerbach's - Salt Lake City UT (1959-61, 1967)
ZCMI - Provo UT (1973)
Thalhimer's - Danville VA (1960)
Kennewick Furniture Co. - Kennewick WA
Gloudemans - Appleton WI (1960, 1969)
Rothmore - Appleton WI (1960)
Manchester's - Madison WI (1962)
Gimbels, Milwaukee WI
Copps - Oshkosh WI (1971)
Ogilvy's - Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA (1968)


hilary said...

This is a great post. I inherited my grandmother's Turner Wall Art, complete with the tag on the back. It is a triptych of a Japanese nature scene with a peacock, a peahen and presumably their little peachick. I love it and I've been looking for more info on Turner pieces.

Nicki said...

I just bought "Free as the Wind" by August Albo, and it has a Turner sticker on the back. It's quite large, 46x30, nicely framed with a metal tag stating the name and artist. The seller said it used to hang in the Lazy K Bar Ranch House in Tucson.

Lorilee Huffman said...

Good morning! I am trying to find-out if my several cameo-style metal framed historical portraits by famous artists were made by theTurner Comoany. The portraits have round silver-like metal frames, burgundy velveteen between the frame and oval reproduction print that is covered with convex glass. The pressboard backs have gold stickers that say, A Cameo Creation. I have been trying to find-out info on Cameo Creations, and have seen reference to it being a line by Turner Company. Do you know anything about this connection or if it is just people reaching for a connection and Turner was it?

Thanks for your help! Enjoy this day...Loti

Marcia said...

I found no link to A Cameo Creation in my research, but I wasn't looking for one. One site did link them to Turner; if this was your source, I agree it may be just reaching for a connection.

I found most of my Turner info in newspaper archives. A quick search shows 9 matches of "A Cameo Creation" at, possibly more at I'm not presently subscribed, but both sites offer a free trial of their service. It might be your best bet to find more info. Good luck!

diamondlranch said...

Hello, I purchased a shadow box with glass from. Inside is a sword and scabbard and the back it has the usual Turner Wall accessory sticker and Calvary Officers sword on the front on a metal tag. I can't seem to find any information about it. I am unsure how to add a photo. Thanks in advance

Marcia said...

diamondlranch - I've seen photos of a few Turner items with replica pistols and other old military items but I don't have any specific info on when they were made. Turner probably capitalized on the early American theme, as Early American decor was popular in the sixties, and the American Centennial was a big deal in 1976. As I told the previous poster, I got most of my info from old newspapers, and what I posted here is pretty much the gist of my research. I just searched "turner wall pistol" at ebay & got some hits.

You might check to see if they are similar to your sword & if there's more info. You could save a search there to see if anything like your sword turns up, or see if there are Turner fans on Pinterest that have collected images.
Good luck with your search.