Howard Atkins

Front Row: Rudy Anderson, Merrill Coffin, Ralph Gustafson, George Coffin Jr, Richard Rasmussen, George Coffin, (Unknown)
Middle Row: Bill Trifirante, (Unknown), Delores Demus, Irene Lees, (Unknown), Joe Carcrata, Carl Martino    Back Row: Butch Marino, George Moore, Henry Huff, Sotir Crystal, Carrol Connelly, Art Winberg, Howard Atkins, Paul Wick, (Unknown), Herbert Connell

On October 24, 2012 I was privileged enough to be able to sit down with Howard Atkins, who at the age of 13 in 1944 started working for a new company called Decoralac. His role with the company was to haul the furniture on the night shift when work was finished. His partner, William Traficante, took him in earlier that year and they ran a few trucks hauling for Sears and Roebuck at first and in 1944 started working with Decoralac. At that time the company was located on Steele Street in an old brick building set a little ways back. Howard recalled that the upstairs was used for applying the black lacquer and decorations and the downstairs was used to store the furniture. Decoralac had installed a chain pulley lift on the outside of the building to transport the furniture between floors and

Howard Atkins

“I used to ride that pulley until I was told that I couldn’t because it was against the law.”

Howard continued to work with Decoralac when they moved from Steele Street around 1946 to the old Worsted Mills on 1st Street and then the Worsted Mills on Harrison Street in Jamestown NY between 1947 and 1948. His tenure with Decoralac ended in 1951 when he joined the service. While interviewing Howard he presented me with a picture taken at the Apple Inn in 1944. This picture showed the entire staff of Decoralac at the Christmas party they held. According to Howard this was a “treat” for him since he was only 14 years old and had never been treated to such a party. Howard recalled that it was the only Christmas party he remembered being held. When asked what he remembered most from his time with Decoralac he stated that,

“[Decoralac] was a Good place to be [with] good people to work with. The Coffin’s…you couldn’t beat them as far as taking you in. They were like family. I never had a cross word with them. I knew Pete quite well as far as work goes. They treated me like a kid.”

Of course at that time he was only 14 so Howard said that he was a kid and he felt like part of the family.

He remembered his time with Decoralac as one the he will cherish always and the people that he met stayed with him for 68 years. Struggling a little with his reduced vision, Howard, bent over the Christmas photo and remembered each of the people he worked with all of those years. As with family he would never forget them as long as he lived.


3 responses to “Howard Atkins”

  1. Karen Keefe Backus Avatar
    Karen Keefe Backus

    My Uncle,

    Thor Fredrick Anderson, worked at Decoralac when he returned from service in the
    Army in 1945. I have a drop leaf desk which he took to work as a dark mahogany
    desk. It was redone at the factory and came back to his Mother complete with a
    My uncle, Thor Anderson worked for Decoralac when he returned from Army service in 1946. He
    took a mahogany desk and chair from his mothers home to work, had it refinished and
    later kept the two pieces until he died. I
    purchased both pieces from the estate and took it to Florida in about 1996.
    It has been treasured by me for many years.
    The scene on the top of the drop front of the desk is a foot bridge with a chinese
    lady with a parasol. The re is a small building with mountains in the background.
    The drawers have a house, a screen or fence, with mountains in the background.

    It is still a beautiful piece of furniture. The chair is black with gold trim, with a lady
    in a pant suit holding a parasol. Both are in good condition and bring comments
    from folks entering our living room.

  2. Ostoja – Hunting in Poland

    An interview with Howard Atkins a Decorlac Employee

  3. sharon groves Avatar
    sharon groves

    My mother ,Irene Lees was an artist at Decoracal for many years I have a panel she painted it is a mother walking with child carrying a parasol with a mountain in the background.It is one of my prized possessions.

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