Munks and Roberts Furniture - Rex Manufacturing, Connersville Indiana
In 1869 Herman Munk and William Newkirk formed a partnership and began manufacturing furniture under the name of the Valley Furniture Company. Five years later, in 1874, the name of the firm was changed to the Munk and Roberts Furniture Company after Newkirk sold his interest in the business to James E. Roberts.
The Munk and Roberts Furniture Company erected a four-story building at Western and 15th Streets in 1873, and in 1833 another buiIding , a five-story brick structure, was completed south of the original structure. Apparently the factory was built on the site to make use of water power from the Whitewater Canal , as did the Connersville Furniture Company situated approximately 375 feet away on the east side of the canal.
The factory which had housed the Hunk and Roberts Company passed into the hands of the Rex Buggy Company soon after Rex was incorporated on 11 November 1898. Among the incorporators of the Rex Company were James E. Roberts and Herman Munk, the two partners in the furniture company venture.
Between 1898 and 1916 the Rex Buggy Company produced buggies and carriages. As the automobile usurped the place of the carriage on the American road, the company phased out its carriage operation and began manufacturing automobile tops and bodies. In 1916 "Buggy" was dropped from the company name, and thereafter the firm was known as the Rex Manufacturing Company.
As automobile manufactures began producing fully enclosed auto bodies in the mid-1920's "the market for tops and enclosures died out." In 1927 the company changed its production orientation once again and began production of refrigerator cabinets. The company was reorganized as the Rex Manufacturing Company Incorporated in 1930. and continued production of refrigerator cabinets until the plant was put on a wartime footing in 1942.
In 1947 Rex Manufacturing Company Inc. became a subsidiary of Philco, and on 11 December 1961 the Ford Company bought the Rex Company.