HOMEBack to Plate 4

Edward W. Miller, a master cabinetmaker, made these inlaid wood trays and turned bowl. He gave the bowl to his sister Amelia, the most elaborate tray to his niece Marjory, and three trays made in 1958 to his grandnieces Kathlyn and myself and our mother, Twila Johnson. Sandra Schaefer inherited the serving tray below from her mother, Marjory (Johnson) Knowles.

Photo © Sandra Knowles Schaefer
Inlaid tray made for E.W. Miller's niece, Marjory Johnson Knowles.

Photo © Sandra Knowles Schaefer
Edge detail in early inlaid wood tray shown above, date unknown.

I happened to sit down at the computer to try to make a dent in my e-mails and clicked on your article about Uncle Edward's inlaid wood hobby. I'm wondering if I possibly have one of his pieces! I'm attaching a photo of a tray that I remember always hanging somewhere in the house as I was growing up. I don't remember any history of it, other than it was made by an uncle somewhere in the family.

I, too, would love to know what happened to the tables described in the article. Would you have any idea if he signed his work or somehow identified it?

Sandra (Knowles) Schaefer
Coarsegold, CA

I was so pleased to see the picture of the [above] tray. I think it must have been an early one because it is much more elaborate than any we (Hugh, Grace and I) had.

I'll try to tell you a little about Father's woodworking. Except for the sofa, he built all the furniture in our house in Ontario, including a beautiful walnut bedroom set and walnut dining table and chairs. Each of us children received some of these pieces when Father died. I have Mother's secretary, an occasional table and a plant stand.

In addition, Father made furniture for each of us when we married. He made my maple coffee table and end tables as well as a cedar chest and double chest of drawers. He did the same for Grace. My son Bill now has the cedar chests and the double chests. He also has a desk that Father made for Lonny [Ruth's late husband].

You asked about the inlaid tables. I have a dark mahogany card table much like the one in your picture. I also have an inlaid coffee table. One of the library tables went to Dr. Emmons, our family doctor, to pay our medical bills, and Grace had the other one for many years. When she died, it went to Lon, my oldest son. Some of the other inlaid furniture that she had went to Hugh's son and daughter.

I was so pleased to see that article [about the inlaid wood tables] because I don't have a copy. I did find another one in Mother's scrapbook, one that has Special to The Christian Science Monitor under the title. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a date either. Because it says "Two years ago, when contracts decreased," I would put it in the early 1930s.

I know Father would be pleased about your interest in his work. Two of his pieces that I especially treasure are a little turned bowl and a covered stamp box. He told me that he turned them from an oak log that came from his grandfather's log cabin. This must have been from his Grandfather Neller, so I assume it was a log cabin in the Austin area. Do you think that is correct? I haven't done as much research on that branch of the family as I should. Were they farming in that area? Can you tell me any more about them?

Ruth Miller Collings
Escondido, CA

Photo © Mitzi Johnson Swenson
Tray made for Twila Johnson, 1958, features walnut heartwood.

Photo © Jerrianne Lowther
Tray made for Kathlyn Johnson Anderson, 1958, pinwheel design.

Photo © Jerrianne Lowther
Tray made for Jerrianne Johnson Lowther, 1958, complex design.

Photo © Richard Johnson
Turned dish, inset rings, made for Amelia Miller Johnson, date unknown.

Photo © Richard Johnson
Turned dish, inset rings, made for Amelia Miller Johnson, date unknown.

More pieces made for Frederic & Eileen Miller or their son, David B. Ring.

HomeBack to Plate 4