Jul 18, 2015

Who Was Ferdinand Ingold?

What little I know is what I've gleaned from the internet. He was secretary of the Harmonie Singing Club of Monroe, Wisconsin.  He could write German.  I believe he was the owner of Ferd. Ingold Import Co. which became the the first Swiss record company in the U.S. by launching the Helvetia label.  The company also imported and sold goods from Switzerland to people in the Monroe area.

Why do I care?

Before my Dad passed away, he gave me his Victrola that he brought home many, many, many years ago.  He told me he got it from Monroe, WI.  At the time, I didn't realize it had been in the Monroe area for the past 100 or so years!  Not until a few weeks ago when I brought the Victrola home and looked it over.  The metal label inside the cabinet says, "Ferd. Ingold Import Co., Helveita, Monroe, WI".

Believe it or not, when you turn the crank, the turntable still works!  The exterior is not in the best condition, but I think with some TLC it will look better.

I spent a few hours working on getting the dark circle of stains out of the top.  Retailers sell a product called 'wood bleach' to resolve this issue.  More research on the internet to the rescue showed me that a paste of barkeepers friend took most of the stains out.  The ingredient in BF is the same as the ingredient in wood bleach!  At a fraction of the cost.  Several applications and look:

I'm hoping I can get the rest of the cabinet to look as nice.  Wish me luck!

Here's a tidbit of info:  I was kinda on the fence about whether to put this in the auction. In the end, I decided not to.  With how things went, it's a good thing I didn't.  The auctioneer told us after the sale someone had called him about it and said it was worth $800.  I'm sure that someone (or the auctioneer) would've walked away with a deal had I left it go in the auction.


*-* said...

What a treasure! Sometimes it takes our maturation to discover the details, such pieces which have been in our family for an age, reveal.

It looks like a lovely piece, I'm glad you kept it for yourself.

Anonymous said...

Wow - it's coming out gorgeous! My sister in Denver collects these things. I'm sure it is probably worth more than 800.00. You are so good at DIY that you will have it restored to it's original beauty in no time. Great keepsake from your dad. Judi in Phoenix

gominam said...

Beautiful! Good thing you followed your instinct not to give out this treasure find, and look what a great job you did. I'm sure your dad is smiling down on you, "That's my girl!" Keep it up girl!

Irene said...

Love how the top's come out. I'm sure the rest will look great too (look forward to seeing the final results).

Once you have it fully restored it may be worth considerably more, especially as it's in working condition. By then, however, you may not want to part with it.

Donna Pheneger said...

This is a great piece you have. And you're doing a beautiful job restoring it!

Vickie said...

Thanks for the BF tip Meari. I am glad you kept this piece. It looks great.

Deb said...

Wow! Wonderful piece of history!

Anonymous said...


What a lovely piece of furniture. It's cleaning up well. And, it has such sentimental value, a family treasure. Our family had one very similar that belonged to my grandparents. I remember seeing it as a small child. But, a flooded basement destroyed that, along with a beautiful walnut dining room set with sideboard and the big family bible with a beautiful cover. Treasures lost.

Enjoy your beautiful gift from your father.

We have the extreme heat here in TN, too. I'll be staying inside and stitching this afternoon.

Have a great Sunday,
Nancy V in TN

Robin said...

What a treasure you have and what a difference you have made to it already. I am happy for you that you didn't include it in the auction.

Robin in Virginia

Anonymous said...

It is gorgeous!!! So glad you kept it.
Betty in AZ

Nan Davis said...

I too am so glad you decided to keep it for yourself and the restoration is coming along beautifully. I have a 4 poster, rope bed that has been in my family since the 1700's. I hate to think that someone wouldn't want it because it is "old".
Nan in PA

htimcj said...

That is a beautiful piece! It will be something that you will treasure forever.

Anonymous said...


That is a very awesome piece and I hope that you get to keep it forever.

Tara Kimberley Torme

Anonymous said...

Dear Meari

Your latest project is lovely and I am sure you will restore its loveliness

From UK

Anonymous said...

Meari, I am glad that you kept this Victrola that was your Dad's and you have done a lovely restoration on it so far.

I have found a very nice 4 drawer cabinet in the thrift store and know it is a old piece of furniture because of the construction of the drawer pulls and the way it is made. It has a few stains on it and a sticker I guess where it was from but it got covered over with the price sticker from the thrift store so have to remove that decide what to with it, but I know you would do something great with it.


Anonymous said...

Hi Meari,

With all the work you've done on other pieces I'm sure the Victrola will look spectacular when you finish. It's beautiful even in it's present condition, lol. Amazing what a little BF will do...I have some under the sink and use it regularly.I know you will be very glad you kept it. :)


Anonymous said...


Your Victor music is beautiful. Precursor, apoears to me, to the "juke box" what a pleasure it must have been to fire the girl up and play one of these vintage records. Amazing that piece of history is alive and well!


Sue said...

It is gorgeous honey and it will be even more so, when you have finished its restoration.

Love you,
SM, Sue

Anonymous said...

The cleaned portion of the wood is beautiful! I never would have thought of using Bar Keeper's Friend - I thought it was for cleaning brass and I would have worried about it being too strong for the wood.

Karin in CA

Anonymous said...

What a treasure, Meari, You're doing an awesome job,


Anonymous said...

So glad you have such a nice piece to remember your Dad with, after such a horrible year losing so many loved ones. Hope all goes well from now on - Debby

Anonymous said...

Wow! It looks great Meari! I'm glad that you kept it! I'm sure the rest will turn out just as beautiful!

Happy Trails,
Pam K. in TN :o)

Carol said...

What a treasure, Meari!! I am so glad it didn't end up in the estate sale because you have cleaned it up beautifully... That top is just such an amazing transformation with the Barkeeper's Friend treatments!. I will have to look for some of that myself...

Good luck with the rest of the cabinet :)

Anonymous said...

Meari -

Love the Victrola! I am sure that it will look great with some TLC!


Pam in IL said...

Judging from the way the top turned out, I think you'll have the piece looking great! How neat that you've found some info on the piece and so good that you didn't let it go in the auction.

Kay said...

Great piece of history! I think with how talented you are, you will be able to make this look wonderful!