In 1885, Charles P. Rogers Beds first opened its doors in New York City. The factory showroom concept still continues to create quality handcrafted beds that are destined to become family heirlooms. Recently, LoveToKnow editor Sally Painter had the opportunity to discuss how these hand-made beds are following over a century old tradition with Charles P. Rogers President, Linda Klien in this exclusive interview.
Charles P. Rogers Beds Interview
LoveToKnow (LTK): How are your brass beds made?
Linda Klien (LK): Charles P Rogers solid brass beds are built by hand, one at a time in our East Rutherford, New Jersey factory, using solid brass casting and solid brass tubing. We do not use a clear glue or epoxy to finish the beds. We offer a natural brass, polished brass or antique brass finish.
Difference Between Brass Tubing and Casting
LTK: What is the difference between brass tubing and brass casting? Anything specific a buyer should consider when purchasing a brass bed?
LK: Brass castings are melted, molten brass (brass is an alloy of copper and zinc) then poured into sand molds to produce a solid decorative one-part casting. Brass tubing is extruded, to make a seamless all brass tube. The wall gauge (thickness) is .65. Do not buy a lightweight, anodized (brass-plated on aluminum) bed with hollow, stamped decorative parts. They are made using brass sheet metal, cookie cut out then crimped together.
LTK: What makes brass a desirable choice for a bed?
LK: Brass is a warm, beautiful gold metal that becomes the visual focus of a room. Mixing and layering with different woods, metals or stone creates a sophisticated and interesting room design. This helps you to get away from the flat look of matched ensemble pieces of the same material and finish.
Decorative Cast Iron Beds
LTK: How are the decorative cast iron beds made? Anything special about their production, appearance or wear?
LK: The panels of our Charles P. Rogers iron beds are solid cast parts. The beds are all made from recycled metals and can be recycled. The matte finishes are lead-free and hand-applied. Iron beds allow light and air to come through them, giving the room an open, gracious feeling, so larger queen and king beds do not overwhelm the space. The quality of materials and construction make these beds the heirlooms of tomorrow.
Scoop on Wood Beds
LTK: How are your wood beds made? Special woods, processes or finishes?
LK: We always start with a great design. Like our iron and brass beds, our wood beds are built by hand by craftsmen with many years of experience, using some very traditional techniques. Our wood is carefully selected, sorted and dried to provide the best building blocks for our beds. While power tools are used for milling and cutting, every component is finished and fitted by craftsmen using sharp hand tools before final assembly and finishing.
LTK: Do you use solid wood? Veneers?
LK: We use solid woods such as American cherry and mahogany for every structural aspect of our beds. Legs, frames, side rails, and feet are all created from thick oversized planks chosen for their beauty and strength. We use select, rare veneers such as flame mahogany and makore (also known as African cherry) when necessary to accommodate a shape not appropriate for solid wood. The veneers are chosen for beautiful figures and patterns and are thickly laminated in the classic tradition. Our beds use no particleboard or other remanufactured wood products.
LTK: What distinguishes your wood beds from others on the market? Do you employ special techniques or tools in the manufacturing of your wood beds?
LK: Our customers' direct experience. The Rogers design process, attention to detail, manufacturing techniques, and high quality materials allow us to create beds of a quality not available elsewhere, yet at truly competitive manufacturer direct prices. We are firm believers that you can make beds that can serve for a lifetime if the proper attention is paid to the design. One example is the internal iron frame on our wood beds, which guarantees great strength, but also allows us to design shapes that are more elegant yet never at the expense of durability.
It's All in the Finish
LTK: How are your wood finishes different from typical finishes?
LK: Our finishes use color to accentuate the natural beauty of the wood rather than cover it. The wood finishes are very labor intensive because we have low matte, clear finishes that are far less glossy than production furniture. Our finishes involve a multi-step, hand-finishing process. Surfaces are meticulously hand-sanded at every step of the finishing process. Finishes are applied by hand in multiple layers after which the final coat is hand-rubbed to a soft sheen.
Unique Appeal of Leather Beds
LTK: What is the biggest challenge in manufacturing leather beds? How have your customers responded to this bed style?
LK: Since leather is a natural material which comes in hides of various sizes, one of the biggest challenges is designing beds that provide the most generous sections of leather while keeping the overall texture and color of the leather consistent. Using full grain leather means the leather will have natural characteristics such as various grains and natural growth patterns. Highly treated leather or faux leather products are easier to deal with as they have a more consistent texture and availability of constant sizes, but we feel using the more difficult leather provides a much richer tactile experience and will age much better than the highly treated varieties. We have had great success and response to our leather bed collections, and have responded by bringing more styles and choices to our customers.
A Special Thank You to Linda Klien
LoveToKnow would like to extend a special thank you to Linda Klien for taking time out of her busy schedule to discuss the hand-made quality of Charles P. Rogers beds.