Our History

Reclaiming the Largest Post and Beam Building in the World

A World Class Project

In the spring and summer of 1994, The Joinery Company successfully negotiated with Brandenburg Industrial Service Company of Chicago, the purchase of all timbers and planking from one of the world’s most famous post and beam buildings–the Sears & Roebuck Catalog building in Chicago, Illinois.

sears-building

The Sears & Roebuck complex was begun by Richard W. Sears in 1905 and completed in 1906. With 5 million square feet of floor space, spanning two city blocks, it served as workspace for more than 9,000 employees in 1906. At that time, it was the world’s largest commercial building and a fitting home for what would later become the “World’s Largest Store”. In 1906, its employees filled orders for nearly 5 million customers. At its height, there were 22,000 employees working there. One can only imagine the number of customers that Sears served during that period. During the early part of the twentieth century, the Sears, Roebuck & Company facility was reputed to be the largest post and beam building ever built anywhere in the world.

sears-building-square

It took Brandenburg less than a year, with fewer than 50 employees, to deconstruct what had taken thousands of workers more than a year to build. Brandenburg did an outstanding job deconstructing the complex and preparing the reclaimed materials for shipment to The Joinery Company’s factory in North Carolina. Indeed, it was the careful handling and expert deconstruction techniques used by Brandenburg that was responsible for such a high percentage of materials being reclaimed from the complex. When the last truckload of Antique Heart Pine had been processed, over eight million board feet of timbers and planks had been reclaimed and meticulously recycled by The Joinery Company into wide plank flooring, millwork, cabinets, and fine furniture. And, under The Joinery Company’s brand, “The Beauty of Recycling”, these unique products were delivered to famous addresses across America and abroad. The incredible quality of the Antique Heart Pine reclaimed from the Sears, Roebuck and Company complex exemplified the finest Longleaf Pine that America’s Virgin Forests had to offer.

The Joinery Company’s reclamation and recycling of the Sears & Roebuck Catalogue building was the largest project of its kind in the twentieth century. This beautiful wood, as well as the building itself, were uniquely American in every way and will long be remembered in The Reclaimed Wood Industry as the standard by which both reclamation and Antique Heart Pine are measured.