Where does our wood come from? Here, we list a number of projects with an extensive New York history behind them. Reclaimed wood, also referred to as antique wood is what Manhattan Forest Products, Inc. uses to make our floors. Reclaimed wood is historic timber cut by hand and used in architecture that shaped American and European history in New York.
There are two types of reclaimed woods that we use for flooring, and other products:
- Deconstructed building materials
Recycling antique materials gives us the opportunity to come full circle in the building process. Much of the antique American oak flooring comes from barns and houses in the Appalachian region. In the early part of the 19th century, barns were typically built by hand using various trees on their property containing white and red oak, hemlock, pine, and other woods. Those trees were hand hewn with an axe or an iron adze. In addition to that, some of the wood used in our products was rescued from old factories, historic buildings and breweries in Brooklyn, and New York City.
- Bog or Swamp Oak
This wood began its journey down the Hudson River in New York on the way to a sawmill. Some logs never made it, eventually getting tangled in swamps and bogs, and then became saturated with water and sank. Much of this wood is 500 to 600 years old, or older. Most of the bog oak does not suffer from iron or metal embedded in it like reclaimed material from building structures. We also carry domestic Swamp Oak that we have recovered from Swamps and Bogs in the Southeast.
- Coney Island Boardwalk: From the late 1800's Coney Island was a leading resort and a site of amusement parks. Over 100 movies have been made on the Coney Island Boardwalk including, American Gangster, Street's of Gold, The Pick Up Artist, and Brighton Beach Memoirs just to name a few. Since that time, Coney Island has seen many renovations and we are fortunate enough to have a piece of New York history by reclaiming the boardwalk wood. Now you can too!
- Marsellus Casket Company: Since 1889 Marsellus Casket Co. made quality wood caskets for politicians, celebrities including President John F. Kennedy and his widow Jacqueline Onassis, President Richard Nixon, President Harry Truman, Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, Composer Leonard Bernstein, and Baseball legend Mickey Mantle just to name a few. Unfortunately, a fire made the building uninhabitable in 2010. However, most of the wood was reclaimed and then made into hand crafted, finished wood flooring.
- New York Water Towers: The New York City skyline is legendary for its skyscrapers, architecture and the water towers on nearly every building over six stories tall. The water towers started to appear in New York City in the 1800’s as a way to bring water to upper floors in taller buildings. The Cedar and Redwood tanks were built and installed by barrel makers during that time. Each tank was held together with only steel straps with no adhesive to keep the contents pure. Each tank has a life span of approximately 40 years. These timeless structures are a signature of New York just like Central Park.
- The Revere Sugar Factory: The American Molasses Co. built the Revere Sugar Refinery in 1910 and it operated until 1985. The historic building is a familiar site to the artists and photographers that live and work in Red Hook Brooklyn. A redevelopment project slated the building for demolition. Fortunately, we were able to reclaim the beautiful wood from the factory.
- The Sheffield Dairy: Architect Frank Rooke designed the Sheffield Dairy Building built in 1911. The large Dairy plant was supported by an enormous stable, which used 1,163 horses to deliver milk in Manhattan. This plant was purchased by Columbia University in 1949 as an expansion of their engineering school. Antique heart pine recovered from the Sheffield Dairy was already growing when the settlers landed in New York in the 1600's.