- In the 1850's a young Scotsman, John H. Monteath, traveled through Africa,
Central and South America and the West Indies seeking exotic hardwoods for the
English furniture industry. By 1856 John Monteath had established
a business on New York's White Street distributing tropical hardwood logs to
immigrant European craftsmen. The trade known in Lower Manhattan as the "Stickwood
Business" flourished for several decades.
- As construction activity increased late in the century, foreign and domestic
sawmills provided an abundance of fine African and West Indian Mahogany and
Brazilian Rosewood along with American Walnut, Cherry and Oak. Monteath's
business grew and a warehouse was opened in Brooklyn. "Precious Woods", namely
Snakewood, Tulipwood, Satinwood, and Ebony were in great demand by the furniture
and musical instrument industries.
- With the beginning of the new century, Monteath expanded into new quarters
along Lewis Street at 5th. The company would remain on Lewis Street until its
move to the Bronx, some fifty years later.
John Monteath passed away in 1901. With the business then being managed by nephew
Harry Dayton, Monteath remained in lower Manhattan supplying exotics along with
native hardwoods for many new buildings constructed along Wall Street; New
York's growing enter of finance and commerce. A new sawmill began producing
lumber and dimension stock in Old Bridge, New Jersey.
- Harry Dayton's sons Monteath T. and George H. joined the company and expanded
the hardwood lumber and veneer business. The company continued to supply fine
woods for store and office interiors, flying clippers and musical instruments.
1940 - Monteath's knowledge of tropical hardwood sources helped the
defense effort by securing large quantities of Teak, Balsa and Lignum
Vitae for Naval ships. Postwar urban renewal projects forced
Monteath to move to a new location in the Bronx.
- The huge demand for Mahogany and other tropical hardwoods extended most
importers resources in an effort to satisfy the rapidly growing furniture
industry. The J. H. Monteath Company was featured in a 1952 Saturday Evening
Post article - "America's Strangest Lumberyard." There for the first time it
was publicly revealed that prior to World War II, Monteath "Monty" T. Dayton,
being concerned that large orders for valuable Circassian Walnut were not being
shipped from Russia, sensed the Soviets were manufacturing gunstocks for
rearmament. He quietly passed word on to Washington.
- By the early 1960's the metropolitan office building boom, the emergence of
specialized office planning firms and the rapid growth of the contract
furniture industry created a great demand for "Architectural" veneer. Monteath
sought new European sources and established a plywood division. The company
offices were completely renovated and a new showroom was constructed.
- Expansion of the pre-existing of Moulding and Millwork facility in Old
Bridge, New Jersey allows Monteath to further satisfy the needs of its customers
by streamlining production of advance ordered mouldings and allied millwork
- Responding to growing demand, for the first time in its history, the Monteath
company opens it doors to the public by commencing retail sales, on a walk-in
basis, in the warehouse store. Customers can now personally hand select
domestic and exotic lumber, plywood, and mouldings. Looking toward the future,
the Monteath tradition remains the same as it has been since the company's
founding in 1856...
"If you use wood,
Monteath has a wood for you to use."