Thursday, March 4, 2010
The icebox pictured was made ca 1905 by the O.D. Royer Mfg. Company and is rare because it was made with see-through sides for the commercial market of stores and shops. While the available information suggests that the Royer Manufacturing company moved from Downing, Wisconsin to Minneapolis, Minnesota, before 1900, the brass handles on the box doors are stamped with a patent date of Mar. 26, 1901. Thus the estimated 1905 date of manufacture. It measures 24-5/8" x 24-5/8" x 62-3/4" high.
Oscar David Royer was born 13 December 1866 probably in Waverly, Franklin county, Iowa, and died 2 February 1949 in Pasadena (Altadena), Los Angeles county, California. He married Elma Etta Hall, daughter of Amos and Amelia Hall, 13 June 1890. "O.D."as he was known, was a sales representative for Specialty Display Case Co. in Kendalleville, Indiana, and then owned a factory in Downing, Wisconsin. Later he established the Royer Refrigerator Co. in Minneapolis, Minnesota, before moving his family to California where he owned a wholesale candy distributing firm.
The iceboxes that he made displayed chocolates and cheeses and other items needing refrigeration. The see-through sides have double panes of glass about 1" apart. The top ice compartment is insulated in the method of the day, probably with flax straw, and includes a beveled mirror on the side opposite the doors. The door side was probably positioned toward the store clerk for the clerk’s access, while the mirror side faced the customer.
This icebox’s journey from Wisconsin to Boone county is unknown, except for the fact that it was acquired by Mr. & Mrs. Johnson after having for a time been in a restaurant at the Lake of the Ozarks area. Thus, while not a “Boone county artifact,” the wonderful piece is a perfect addition to the Easley General Store in the historical society’s Village at Boone Junction.