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Roos Cedar Chests - History & Information

Posted Sunday, January 16 by CAG

It appears that I am doomed to become an expert on Roos cedar chests. After I answered the first inquiry about a Roos chest and posted the answer, I have received at least a hundred more inquiries about Roos cedar chests.
Roos1 400.jpg
Before I go on and tell what I have learned about them, let me tell you what I don't know. I have no idea what a Roos cedar chest looks like from just the model number or serial number. I have probably received 50+ inquiries that just give a model number, serial number or both, and ask what their chest is worth. To the best of my knowledge, there is no publicly available reference that gives years of manufacture by model number or serial number. Neither is there any reference that would let me look up a photo of that model. So without a photo I can't tell anything. If you send a photo, I can narrow the time period down a little by style, and estimate a value.

After considerable searching, I learned several rather interesting facts.

The "Roos Manufacturing Co." of Chicago was established in 1871 by Edward Roos (born in Germany in December 1848), died in 1906. He had several children including Otto (born 1877) and Edward (born 1880). Otto took over the Roos Manufacturing Company when his father died in 1906. They did manufacture cedar chests, but it is unclear when they started. The business began making curtain rods and later wooden boxes. They used a rooster in several variations in some of their logos.
Rooster Logo Woodburned 200.jpgRooster Logo Sticker 200.jpg
The "Ed Roos Company of Forest Park" started in Chicago as the Roos Cedar Chest Company in 1916, and also manufactured cedar chests, but it is a different company. They used a tree (presumably a cedar tree) in a circle as their logo. There are also other logos without the tree, and one with a heart for their "Sweetheart" chests. They also used a variety of paper and cardboard labels.
ER Logo wb 200.jpgER logo 200.jpg

It was started by Otto's brother, Edward. The company moved to Forest Park, IL in 1918 and changed its name to the Ed Roos Company of Forest Park

In the 1920 federal census, Otto Roos is listed as President of a wooden wares business. So it is clear that the original Roos Manufacturing Company was still at work in 1920, after Ed Roos opened up shop in 1918 in Forest Park. I have found no information yet that says whether the original company continued to make cedar chests or not, although one of their marks does say "Original" as part of the mark. This would imply at least some overlap when both companies were making cedar chests.

There are at least two possible explanations for why Edward left to start his own company. First, Edward disagreed with Otto about the business and split off to start his own company. Second, they agreed that to expand the cedar chest business, it should be split off and moved. There are of course other possibilities that I haven't considered. I lean toward the first as the most likely.

11 Comments | Leave a comment

Ed Roos cedar chest with four vases on front along with two brass lions heads I have had this chest since 1963 and wondering what year it was made. Thank you

I purchased a cedar chest for $25 and believe it is a Roos cedar chest from Forest park. I am planning or doing something to refinish as they are abundant enough to not be rare. Any suggestions? Teri Jordon

1939 love chest, what is it worth

wow very pretty ever figure out what its worth? I have an old chest too wish I knew what year it was made.

I have a chest I remember seeing when I was a child 5 yrs old. has a drawer on the bottom 2 lift up drawers one on left one on right side and a clock in the middle it says:ed.ross company forest park illinois so it's like 57 yrs old at least. my question? What year is it and what is it worth can I find a pic somewhere?

just looking to match the one i just found dumpster diving in san diego model no,5055

I am the great-granddaughter of Edward Roos; brother of Otto. The family's father emigrated from Sweden. Not sure why it is mentioned thay immigrated from Germany. I have copy of passenger entry to United States. Edwward the son opened a machine company in Erie, PA. I am still researching more of my great-grandfather. April Ellis; Arizona

Germany was listed on the 1900 Census as birthplace for Edward Roos (and wife Rosa), manufacturer of wooden novelties. Children listed were Ida, Otto, Edward and 4 others. US Census forms are not always correct, but that is where I found the information. The 1880 Census also lists his birthplace as Germany. It is possible that he was born in Germany, and moved to Sweden before emigrating to the US. If you would like to contact me through the webite by email I can give you other documents as well, including 1894 and 1903 passport applications. 

I have a cedar chest that was my grandmothers cant find anything like it online. Anyone know anything about it?

Can you please tell me about the Roos Cesar chest pictured on your post from January 16?  I have one exactly like it and am trying to find out how old it is and how much it might be worth.  thanks for your time!

Can anyone share with me information about this Cedar Chest?  When was it made and what it might be worth?

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