- Francois Boch, iron caster and cannon maker, began
manufacturing ceramic tableware (plates, cups, tureens)
in town of Audun-le-Tiche in Duchy of Lorraine;
Jean-Francois Boch et Freres established in
Septfontaines, Luxembourg; adopted early-industrial
production methods; 1770
- introduced Brindille pattern (still made);
Nicolas Villeroy established earthenware factory in
Vaudrevange on River Saar; made tableware using
copper-plating; developed new process for printing
complicated decorations on porcelain;
Boch, Villeroy merged; 1843
- established first jointly-owned factory, Cristallerie
- introduced compression moulding manufacturing
- took over factory in Merzig, largest manufacturer of
floor tiles in world; 1899
- began large-scale production of ceramic sanitary ware
with easy-care properties (bathtubs, sinks, WCs);
introduced slip-casting process (made bathroom equipment
- first large-scale shipment of tableware to Japan;
restructured into three divisions: sanitary ware, tiles,
- acquired 50% of Ucosan B. V. (Dutch), extended product
line to plastic bathtubs, shower trays;
acquired majority interest in Alfoldi Porcelangyar,
largest Hungarian manufacturer of ceramic sanitary ware,
second largest manufacturer of tiles;
acquired majority interest in Mondial S.A., leading
Romanian manufacturer of ceramic sanitary ware, tiles;
1998 - 8th
generation in management, unbroken succession; focus
changed from production-oriented ceramics company to
European lifestyle brand;
1999 - acquired full control of Ucosan,
formed core of new fourth division, wellness;
2002 - two
divisions combined (Bathroom and Kitchen, Tiles);
2004 - sold
four foreign tile factories, concentrated tile
operations to improve performance.
- Josiah Wedgwood, grandfather of Charles Darwin, opened first
factory in Burslem, one of six towns of Stoke-on-Trent,
Staffordshire, central England; first business in England to
make bone china; profits paid for Charles Darwin's scientific
research; June 13, 1769
- opened new factory near Hanley, called Etruria (incorrectly
believed that Greek vases originally Etrusacan), with business
partner Thomas Bentley, Liverpool merchant who sold Wedgwood
ceramics; 1790 -
John, Josiah II and Thomas (sons), Thomas Byerley (nephew) made
into partners (John, Tom left in 1793);
1901 - Wedgwood provided bone china
dinner service ordered by US President Theodore Roosevelt for
White House; 1930s
- fifth Josiah Wedgwood built new, modern factory at Barlaston
in Stoke-on-Trent; 1940s
- production started; 1986
- acquired by Waterford; formed Waterford Wedgwood PLC;
January 5, 2009 -
entered administration (bankruptcy).
- William and George Penrose, developers, exporters, established
Waterford Crystal; opened factory in Waterford, southeast
Ireland; 1850s -
business failed; 1947
- brand revived by Czech immigrant Miroslav Havel;
1986 - acquired
Wedgwood; formed Waterford Wedgwood PLC;
1990s - listed on stock exchange,
expanded overseas; 2005
- acquired Stoke-on-Trent ceramics maker Royal Doulton;
January 5, 2009 -
Waterford Wedgwood PLC filed for bankruptcy protection after
attempts to restructure struggling business or find buyer
failed; part of burgeoning list of British companies to succumb
to global economic slowdown and credit squeeze; Woolworths,
queen's tailor Hardy Amies, tea and coffee merchant Whittard of
Chelsea, Royal Worcester, Spode have filed for bankruptcy
protection in recent months.
1769 - Edward Bevan received an English patent
for Venetian blinds; August 21,
1841 - John Hampson, of New Orleans, LA,
received a U.S. patent for "Venetian Blinds".
- John Doulton made £100 investment; launched partnership with
Martha Jones, John Watts (Jones, Watts and Doulton) at stoneware
factory in Lambeth, South London; produced practical, decorative
stoneware from small pottery (inkwells to ginger beer bottles);
1835 - Henry
Doulton (son) joined business; expanded to chemical, industrial
ceramics (artistic pottery, ornamental, commemorative, tableware
products); 1871 -
students of the Lambeth School of Art began decorating Doulton's
salt-glazed brown stoneware; 1875
- relocated it to Stoke-on-Trent;
1877 - purchased major shareholding in factory
of Pinder, Bourne and Co at Nile Street in Burslem,
Staffordshire (handled tableware, ornaments, earthenwares);
1884 - produced
bone china; 1901 -
King Edward VII permitted company's Burslem factory to prefix
its name with "Royal", company was awarded Royal Warrant for
quality of its tableware; added crown to British lion logo, name
changed to Royal Doulton; 1913
- launched highly collectable HN Series of Pretty Lady
figurines; 1920s -
became synonymous with finest English china across world;
1934 - Sister Mary
Barbara Vernon, daughter of factory manager, drew first
Bunnykins character as nurseryware (Collection still continues
today); 1960 -
introduced English Translucent China (ETC), better known as Fine
China; 1966 -
received Queen's award for Technical Achievement for
contribution to china manufacturing (first china manufacturer to
be honoured with this award); 1968
- merged with Minton; 1971
- merged with AEP, gained Royal Albert brand; formed Doulton
Home (Royal Doulton, Royal Albert, Minton);
2005 - acquired by Waterford Wedgwood
Babbitt joined with Taunton jeweler William Crossman, formed
Babbitt & Crossman to produce Britannia tableware (Babbitt had
run pewter shop in Taunton, MA; had discovered how to emulate
Britannia metal, white metal alloy made from tin, antimony,
copper, used by British in making of flatware and hollowware
sold in United States & Britain);
1827 - renamed Babbitt, Crossman & Company;
1829 - renamed
Crossman West & Leonard; 1830
- renamed Taunton Britannia Manufacturing Company;
1834 - business
failed; acquired by Henry G. Reed and Charles E. Barton
(friends, fellow craftsmen, former employees);
1837 - renamed
Leonard, Reed & Barton; 1840
- renamed Reed & Barton; 1850s
- became involved in silver, pioneer in the practice of
- Barton died, Reed managed business;
1868 - introduced first patented
flatware pattern, "Roman Medallion"; 1889 - manufactured
sterling; 1900 -
committed entire factory building to sterling production;
1901 - William B.H.
Dowse (Reed's son-in-law) took over; 1908 - introduced signature
flatware pattern, "Francis I" (company's most enduring design);
1923 - Sinclair Weeks, Sr. (Dowse's son-in-law)
became president; 1940s
- switched from making silver tableware for civilians to
producing flatware and hollowware for armed forces, surgical
instruments for Army Medical Corps (made out of stainless
steel); October 11, 1949
- registered "Reed & Barton" trademark first used 1840
(silverware-namely, plated and sterling hollowware and
flatware); 1971 -
Sinclair Weeks, Jr. became president (named chief executive
officer in 1976); acquired the Sheffield Silver Company (founded
1908); 1980 -
silver bullion traded above $48/ounce (from $5/ounce in 1979),
then crashed; led to pricing confusion for retailers;
March 1982 - sued
five competitors in federal court, charged "false advertising
concerning the price of their products" (halted practice of deep
discounting); Saudi government purchased 3,318 piece sterling
service (single largest order in company's history);
specialized in silverplated hollowware, flat- ware, sterling
flatware, stainless flatware, giftware; shifted towards product
developer, distributor, marketer from maunufacturer;
1990s - stopped
manufacture of stainless steel products in Taunton, MA,
outsourced to Asia; late 1980s
- introduced line of stainless and plastic-handled flatware to
mass-market flatware market;
September 1987 - Albert D. Krebel, president and
CEO of Farberware Corp., named president;
1990s - manufactured, distributed
architecturally designed serveware products; entered into
licensing agreements (Ralph Lauren Home Collections, Waterford,
Royal Doulton); 1993
- became the exclusive U.S. distributor of Val Saint Lambert
Crystal's high-end tabletop lines;
1996 - sales of stainless steel flatware
outpaced sterling silver flatware for first time; selected by
The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games to manufacture the
gold, silver, bronze medals for 1996 Olympic Games; one of
country’s foremost marketers of fine tableware and giftware; one
of nation's oldest privately-held silversmiths.
1748 - Francois
Boch, iron caster and cannon maker, began manufacturing ceramic
tableware (plates, cups, tureens) in town of Audun-le-Tiche in
Duchy of Lorraine; 1767
- Jean-Francois Boch et Freres established in Septfontaines,
Luxembourg; adopted early-industrial production methods;
1770 - introduced
Brindille pattern (still made);
1791 - Nicolas Villeroy established earthenware
factory in Vaudrevange on River Saar; made tableware using
copper-plating; developed new process for printing complicated
decorations on porcelain; 1836
- Boch, Villeroy merged; 1843
- established first jointly-owned factory, Cristallerie
- introduced compression moulding manufacturing technique;
1879 - took over
factory in Merzig, largest manufacturer of floor tiles in world;
1899 - began
large-scale production of ceramic sanitary ware with easy-care
properties (bathtubs, sinks, WCs); introduced slip-casting
process (made bathroom equipment affordable);
1971 - first
large-scale shipment of tableware to Japan;
1982 - restructured into three
divisions: sanitary ware, tiles, tableware/crystal;
1989 - acquired 50%
of Ucosan B. V. (Dutch), extended product line to plastic
bathtubs, shower trays; 1992
- acquired majority interest in Alfoldi Porcelangyar, largest
Hungarian manufacturer of ceramic sanitary ware, second largest
manufacturer of tiles; 1996
- acquired majority interest in Mondial S.A., leading Romanian
manufacturer of ceramic sanitary ware, tiles;
1998 - 8th
generation in management, unbroken succession; focus changed
from production-oriented ceramics company to European lifestyle
brand; 1999 -
acquired full control of Ucosan, formed core of new fourth
division, wellness; 2002
- two divisions combined (Bathroom and Kitchen, Tiles);
2004 - sold four
foreign tile factories, concentrated tile operations to improve
1830 - Michael
Thonet experimented with bending steamed wood to create
battens that had been cut and laminated; invented Boppard
laminated wood chair; 1843-1846
- worked for Carl Leistler, parquet flooring company;
1849 - established
furniture-making workshop, made bentwood furniture;
1853 - registered
as "Gebrüder Thonet" (Thonet Bros.), managed by five sons;
1859 - launched
Thonet Bros. "Sessel Nr. 14" (renowned worldwide as "Viennese
Coffeehouse Chair"); 1930
- had sold 50 million, world's bestselling chair.
- Jabez Gorham, in partnership with Henry L. Webster,
established Gorham silver in Providence, RI; main product was
'spoons of coin silver'; dominated American silver from late
19th century to 20th century; crafted monuments, presentation
pieces for foreign dignitaries and heads of state;
May 15, 1906 -
Gorham Mfg. Co. registered "Gorham Silver Polish" trademark
first used January 1, 1870 (silver polish in liquid, powder, or
paste form); June 26, 1906
- registered "Gorham" trademark first used January 1, 1831
(electroplated hollow-ware, electroplated or silverplated
tableware, and electroplated or silverplated flat ware); largest
single order - 740-piece service ordered by Colonel Henry Jewett
Furber, president of Universal Life Insurance Company of New
April 20, 1837 - Erastus B. Bigelow, of West
Boylston, MA, received a patent for a "Power-Loom for Weaving
Coach-Lace and Other Similar Fabrics".
June 30, 1838
- Philos Blake, Eli Whitney Blake, John A. Blake, of New Haven,
CT, received a patent for a "Caster" ("Mode of Constructing
Casters and Applying Them to Bedstands").
May 22, 1841
- Henry P. Kennedy, cabinet maker and upholsterer from
Philadelphia, PA, received a patent for a "Reclining Chair"
("new and improved action of the seat and back of a recumbent or
library chair, by means of the introduction of a spiral wire
spring into the seat").
August 21, 1841
- John Hampson, of New Orleans, LA, received a patent for a
"Blind Stop" ("a new and useful Improvement in the Ordinary
Movable-Slat Venetian Shutter or Blind...so as to make the slats
fit tight endwise...to stay in any position in which they may be
place"); first U.S. installation of Venetian blinds supposedly
was in 1761 in St. Peter's Church, Third and Pine streets,
- George S. Stearns, Seth C. Foster established mattress company
outside Cincinnati, OH;
March 26, 1974
- Stearns & Foster Co. registered "Stearns & Foster" trademark
first used in 1846 (mattresses);
December 1983 - acquired
by Sealy Inc.
February 20, 1846
- John Drummond, of New York, NY, received a patent for a
"Candle Mold"; molds for the manufacture of candles.
January 27, 1857
- James Harrison, Jr., of New York, NY, received a patent for a
"Machine for Making Coiled Springs" ("...double conical coiled
springs-such as commonly used for upholstery"); June 28,
1859 - received second patent for a "Machine for Making
Conical Coiled Springs" (for upholstery and other purposes);
December 15, 1857 - John Sawin, Daniel J. Goodspeed
and John H. Minott, of Gardner, MA, received a patentfor a
"Chair" ("an improved child's exercising chair...with its seat
supported by a spring or springs so as to be capable of being
freely rotated..."); 1871 - Heinrich Westphal
credited with inventing innerspring mattress.
1861 - Fred Long,
cabinetmaker, and Peter Kroehler began furniture and undertaking
business at corner of Washington Street and Jackson Avenue in
Naperville, IL; 1911
- acquired by Oliver Beidelman (Long's nephew);
1966 - acqiuired by
Owen "Dutch" Beidelman (son); 2000
- acquired by granddaughter and husband.
May 31, 1864 -
Frederick Walton of London, England, received British a
patent for "Improvements in the Manufacture of Floor Cloths and
Coverings and Similar Fabrics and in Pavements"; linoleum (Latin
words for linen and oil); made with a burlap base coated with a
cement made from linseed oil, gum, resin and color pigments;
previously, oil cloth had been used to cover floors;
1873 - linoleum was first manufactured in the U.S.
September 8, 1868
- William H. H. Hinds, of Groton, MA, received a patent for an
"Candlestick" ("new and Improved Adjustable Candlestick").
November 23, 1869
- William and John W. Murkland, of Lowell, MA, received a patent
for a "Power Loom" (an "Improvement in Power-Loom for Weaving
Ingrain Carpet"); design reduced number of cams and levers
involved in operating the loom; less power was required to
maintain the motion of the machine; reduced maintenance and
1870 - Zalmon G. Simmons built factory
in Kenosha, WI (9 employees; manufactured wooden
insulators, cheese boxes; 1876 - mass-produced
woven wire mattresses; 1889
- introduced spiral coil springs for woven mattresses (price of
woven wire mattress from $12 to 95 cents);
October 22, 1901 - James
Marshall, of Toronto, ON, Simmons employee) received a patented
for a "Mattress" ("...in which the filling is composed of a
plurality of coil-springs each contained in a pocket of suitable
flexible material, a sufficient number of the pockets being
located side by side to fill the mattress..."); made manually,
intense time, labor, expensive, found on luxury liners (Titanic); 1912
- introduced Wall-A-Bed® bedding product, predecessor to
Murphy bed (Simmons produced for Murphy
- started first national advertising campaign
(double-spread ad in Saturday Evening Post);
1918 - introduced
cotton felt mattresses; 1925
- John Franklin Gail, Simmons's top engineer, designed machine to coil wire, insert it into fabric sleeves quickly,
independently; formed basis of Simmons® Beautyrest® mattress;
commissioned one of first definitive sleep studies; January
12, 1926 - Simmons Company registered "Beautyrest"
trademark first used June 10, 1925 (mattresses); November
29, 1927 - Simmons Company registered "Simmons
Company 1/3 Your Life Is Spent In Bed" trademark first used July
1, 1901 (bedsteads,, bed springs, cribs, cots, berths, bunks,
couches, day beds, davenport beds, costumers, folding chairs,
box springs, mattresses, etc.); 1957
- created National Technological Center (NTC) in Munster, IN;
1958 - first
mattress company to introduce king, queen size mattresses;
1986 - acquired in
leveraged buyout by Wesray Capital;
1989 - acquired by employees;
1991 - majority
interest acquired by Merrill Lynch Partners;
March 25, 1996 -
acquired by Investcorp SA, management for $250 million (1995
sales of $490 million); October
1998 - 71% interest acquired by Fenway Partners
for approximately $500 million;
December 22, 2003 - acquired by Thomas Lee
Partners and senior management in deal valued at $1.1 billion; 2000
- 75th anniversary of Beautyrest® line; June,
2000 -donated more than century's worth of
archival materials to Smithsonian Institution; 2002
- introduced the first new mattress size in 42 years,
Olympic® Queen mattress; 2009
- 18 manufacturing plants in U.S., Puerto Rico, 23 international
licensees, sub-licensees; September
25, 2009 -second-largest mattress maker, by
revenue; filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as part of
$760 million restructuring plan, acquisition by private-equity
fund Ares Management LLC and Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.
Zalmon G. Simmons
February 22, 1870
- Black American inventor Thomas Elkins, of Albany, NY, received
patent for an "An Improved Dining and Ironing-Table and
Quilting-Frame"; January 9, 1872 - received
patent for a "Chamber Commode" ("a bureau, mirror, book-rack,
washstand, table, easy-chair, and earth-closet or
January 16, 1877
- Alexander Smith and Halcyon Skinner, of Yonkers, NY, received
a patent for an "Improvement in Looms"; carpet power loom to
weave Axminster carpets.
- Daniel Haynes, cotton gin builder and operator of Sealy, TX,
responded to request from neighbor. built cotton-filled
mattress; received more and more requests from neighbors,
relatives; March 5, 1889 - Haynes received a
patent for a "Method of Making Mattresses" ("new and useful
improvements in the art of manufacturing mattresses or the bats
therefor...to so construct the bat that it will not lump or wad
into knots or bellows from use"); 1906 - patents
and know-how acquired by Texas Company that took the name of
Sealy; Earl Edwards, advertising executive, advertised Sealy in
The Saturday Evening Post and Ladies Home Journal; 1920
- 28 licensed plants;1930s - eight strongest
licensees, including The Ohio Mattress Company, pooled
resources, retired debt of licensing Company, created what was
to become known as Sealy, Inc.; December 17, 1946
- Sealy, Incorporated registered "Sealy" trademark first used
January 1, 1889 (mattresses and sofa beds, [studio couches, and
upholstered chairs]); 1950 - introduced Sealy
Posturepedic brand mattress; 1956 - first company
to display, advertise king sized bedding; December 1983
- acquired Stearns & Foster Company (founded 1846 by George S.
Stearns, Seth C. Foster); 1990 - Ohio Mattress
Company, taken private in leveraged buyout in April 1989,
changed name to Sealy Corporation; November 1991 -
94% of stock owned by First Boston Corporation; February
1993 - acquired by investment group led by Zell Chilmark
Fund L.P.; December 1997 - 90% of equity acquired
by Sealy management, Bain Capital; April 2004 -
92% of company acquired by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR),
Sealy management; April 7, 2006 - went public.
January 25, 1881
- Michael Brassill, of Hartford, CT, received a patent for
- Joseph P. (J.P.) Leggett, inventor with several patents,
Cornelius B. (C. B.) Platt, future brother-in-law, formed
business partnership in Carthage, MO, county seat in southwest
Missouri; produced L&P bedspring;
May 26, 1885 - Leggett, of Carrollton, MO,
received a patent for a "Bed-Spring"("...spaces between springs
are in a great measure filled up, and the tick or mattress is
prevented from falling through between the springs which support
it...the manner in which the separate springs are coupled
together and combined distributes the weight of any person
resting on the mattress over the adjacent springs in addition to
those directly underneath and keeps various parts of the
mattress at the same level. When several persons occupy the same
bed, they will lie at substantially the same level instead of
pressing down the springs immediately underneath them to various
heights corresponding with their respective weights");
operated from (C.D. Platt Plow
Works, owned by Platt's father; sole manufacturer of
coiled bedsprings, launched U.S. bedspring industry;
1901 - incorporated
Leggett & Platt Spring Bed & Manufacturing Co.;
1929 - J.P.
Leggett, Jr. took over; 1960
- Harry M. Cornell, Jr. (Leggett's grandson) appointed president
(joined company in 1950, became manager of Ennis, TX plant in
1953; three production plants, $7 million in annual sales);
October 15, 1999 -
added to the S&P 500; 2007
- fifth decade of public ownership;
2008 - 21 business units, 24,000
employee-partners, more than 250 facilities located in over 20
Joseph P. (J.P.) Leggett
- Leggett & Platt
Cornelius B. (C. B.) Platt - Leggett
January 15, 1889
- Black American inventor, Daniel Johnson, of Kansas City, KS,
received patent for a "Rotary Dining Table"; entire table with
attached chairs was supported on one central rotating shaft -
made seated persons part of a human "Lazy Susan" type of
June 11, 1889
- Black American inventors John E. Purdy and James R. Sadgwar,
of Washington, DC, received a patent for a Folding Chair"
("cheap, strong and durable chair which is capable of being
folded into small compass, so as to be easily portable. The
invention consists in the peculiar manner of jointing or hinging
the frame and in details of construction").
- Jeremiah T. Murphy founded Murphy Phoenix Company; 1905
- acquired recipe for vegetable oil soap (popular in Germany),
made the first Murphy® Oil, paste scooped out of large barrels;
1910 - packed into one- and five-pound cans of
paste, sold in hardware, department stores; 1986 -
national distribution achieved; July 7, 1987 -
registered "Murphy Oil Soap" trademark first used January 1,
1985 (household cleaner pure vegetable oil soap); 1991
- leading wood cleaner in United States; acquired by
1890 - Martin
Sandberg, cabinet maker, founded Acme Furniture Manufacturing
Corp.in Minnesota; 1900
- moved to California; main products were wooden crates, woven
baskets to haul groceries and supplies;
1918 - focused on bedroom furniture
(usually more of it than anything else in typical family home);
name changed to Sandberg Furniture Manufacturing Co., Inc.;
manufactured cabinets, bedroom furniture, beds, dressers,
chests, armoires, nightstands, vanities; one of California's
oldest makers of home furnishings;
1985 - Southern California furniture industry
was $1.3-billion/year business, employed more than 60,000
- 233 U.S. furniture companies (40 from California) moved
factories to Tijuana, other Mexican border cities;
2000-2010 - 58.2%
decline in furniture manufacturing employment in Southern
California (33,200 jobs to about 13,900; manufacturing sector's
second-worst workforce contraction, after the computer industry,
which declined by 65.6%); employment at Sandberg Furniture fell
to about 150 employees from about 450 several years ago.
- Fernand Roche manufactured furniture at Établissements Roche,
in heart of Faubourg Saint-Antoine, Paris’s furniture district;
1930s - Chouchan family (Russian immigrants)
opened shop on the Boulevard Sébastopol at "Au Beau Bois,"
(later known as Bobois); 1950 - Jacques Roche
(son) purchased Alexandre Dumas theatre on rue de Lyon in Paris,
turned it into two stores; Philippe and François Roche (sons)
developed strategy of company; used to distribute furniture from
very best French contemporary workshops (Minvielle, Steiner and
Airbourne), promote famous designers (Pierre Paulin, Marc
Berthier); 1960 - Roches, Patrick and Jean-Claude
Chouchan formed partnership, published first catalogue,
developed national distribution network; 1961 -
launched first nationwide advertising campaign on in Elle
magazine; March 8, 1977 - Diffusion Ameublement
Nordique Societe Anonyme registered ROCHE-BOBOIS trademark
(furniture); 2007 - network of over 240 stores in
nearly 30 countries in Europe, North America, Middle East, Asia;
fourth generation has joined family business.
1899 - Edward
and Leonard McRoskey ,of St. Louis and Chicago, brought mattress
making equipment to California to sell to manufacturers; became
manufacturers; April 12, 1927 - Edward McRoskey
Mattress Co. registered "Airflex Quality Mattresses at Factory
Prices Edward McRoskey" trademark first used October 27, 1925
(mattresses, bed springs, pillows, and couches); 1930s
- Leonard and Robert McCroskey (Leonard's sons) joined company;
October 23, 1934 - Edward L. McRoskey received two
patents for a "Mattress Tufting Machine"; 2007 -
Robin McRoskey Azevedo (granddaughter, Robert's daughter)
February 21, 1899
- Ernest P. Ray, of Washington, DC, received patent for a
"Chair-Supporting Device" ("detached and portable supporting
devices for tilted chairs"); for use on lawns, verandas,
- Thomas Lee (Westport, NY) designed "Westport Plank Chair" for
his family as alternative to uncomfortable Victorian chairs;
used wide, knot-free boards; had single, sloped back-board at an
angle to inclined seat and legs, wide arms;
July 18, 1905 - Harry C. Busnell, of
Westport, NY, received a patent, without Lee's knowledge, for a
"Chair" ("...of the bungalow type adapted for use on porches,
lawns, at camps, and also available to be converted into an
invalid's chair...strong, durable chair adapted to withstand
rough usage and exposure to the weather"); plank chairs made
from hemlock; sold to camps in Adirondacks, to health facilities
for use by tuberculosis patients who spent time sitting in
chairs as part of "fresh air" cure; named "Adirondack
January 1, 1904
- Baron Ichizaemon Morimura founded Nippon Toki Gomei Kaisha in
the village of Noritake, near Nagoya, Japan to control
manufacture fine china dinnerware (had established Morimura-kumi
in 1876 to ship china, other gift items to America, distributed
through wholesale, retail store in New York);
1918 - name changed
to Noritake Company Limited; 1939
- marketed grinding wheels (first manufactured in-house for
polishing china) for industrial uses (greater 2010 worldwide
sales than Noritake china); industrial ceramics, electronic
components, roller hearth kilns to make china production more
effcient, became important segments of company's international
business; world's premier manufacturer of tabletop products.
- Richard B. Levitz opened Levitz Home Furnishings furniture
showroom in Lebanon, PA; 1914 - Levitz Mercantile
had largest delivery fleet in area; 1936 - Ralph
and Leon Levitz (sons) opened second showroom in Pottstown, PA;
1963 - introduced "warehouse/showroom" concept in
Allentown, PA store (large selection, low cost, immediate
availability); renamed Levitz Furniture Company; 1968
- went public; September 5, 1997 - filed for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (squeezed by 'gallery concept'
competitors, heavy debt load, sales of $967 million);
February 2001 - emerged from bankruptcy; October
2005 - filed for bankruptcy protection for second time;
December 2005 - assets acquired by affiliate of
Prentice Capital Management, LP (hedge-fund manager Michael
Zimmerman) for $70 million; 2007 - over 70
showrooms in U.S.
-Efraim Ljung, Swedish furniture producer, founded Dux
Industrier AB to produce first innerspring mattresses in Sweden;
1986 - Claes Ljung,
third generation, developed DUXIANA® retail chain (more than 115
DUXIANA retail specialty stores in Europe, Australia, Asia, U.S.).
February 11, 1928
- Ed Shoemaker, Edward Knabusch (cousin) invented La-Z-Boy
reclining chair with piece of plywood, yardstick (comfortable
wood slat porch chair); Spring 1929 - introduced
upholstered chairs for year-round market; December 21,
1954 - registered "La-Z-Boy" trademark first used
January 1929 (chairs and ottomans).
- Theodore Baumritter and Nathan S. Ancell (brother-in-law)
founded Baumritter & Company, seller of housewares; 1936
- acquired early-American furniture factory in Beecher Falls,
VT; 1939 - 28-piece "early American" furniture"
line debuted at Chicago Housewares Show; changed name to Ethan
Allen Interiors; 1962, - pioneered gallery concept
of showing furniture in coordinated room-like settings, as
people actually live; 1969 - went public as Ethan
Allen Inc.; 1980 - acquired by Invesco for $150
million; 1989 - taken private in management
buyout by group formed by Farooq Kathwari, Chairman and CEO;
started dramatic revitalization of company, brand; 1993
- went public again; 2007 - nine plants in U.S.,
more than 3,000 design consultants work in international network
of 307 Ethan Allen design centers.
Ancell - co-founder Ethan
- Maurice Villency established furniture business in New York;
third generation of family management; largest home contemporary
furniture retailer in United States.
May 23, 1933
- Max Wasserberg, of Brooklyn, NY, received a patent for a
"Beach and Lawn Chair" ("of the collapsible type...to reduce the
length of the chair when folded together so as to permit the
placement of one or more of said chairs within a motor vehicle
rearwardly of the front seat to permit the transportation of
such chairs in motor vehicles to the seashore or bathing beaches
or to other places for use").
- Clarence Shaw
bought Star Dye Company, small business that dyed tufted scatter
rugs; started Shaw Industries.
1948 - Edith
Heath founded Heath Ceramics, American potter, in Sausalito, CA,
to produce ceramic products that resist trends, be loved and
functional over lifetime and to make process, people, values of
products tangible to buyers; used proprietary clay body
development (one firing at lower temperature than customarily
used to reach same levels of durability); Gump’s of San
Francisco bought her tile and dinnerware for sale at its store,
following one-woman show at San Francisco's Palace of the Legion
of Honor; 2003 - acquired by Robin Petravic,
November 17, 1953 - Serta Associates, Inc.,
registered "Serta" trademark first used August 10, 1938
- Heath Ceramics (http://cms.heathceramics.com/uploads/pics/heritage-edith-217x248.jpg)
(American Furniture Warehouse), Jake Jabs
(2000). An American Tiger: An Autobiography. (Denver, CO:
J. Jabs, 181 p.). Jabs, Jake; Businessmen--United
States--Biography; Businessmen--North Carolina--Biography; House
furnishings industry and trade--North Carolina.
(American Olean Tile Company), Frederic Bell
Notes on a 50-Year Revolution: A Profile on the Company Whose
Innovations Brought Ceramic Tile into the 20th Century.
(Lansdale, PA: American Olean Tile Co., 109 p.). American Olean
(Bigelow-Sanford), John S. Ewing and Nancy P.
Broadlooms and Businessmen; a History of the Bigelow-Sanford
Carpet Company. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Press, 439 p.). Bigelow-Sanford Carpet Company.
(W. R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company), Brad
The Case Cutlery Dynasty: Tested XX. (Paducah, KY:
Collector Books, 320 p.). Case family--History; W.R. Case & Sons
Cutlery Company--History; Cutlery trade--United States--History;
(W. R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company), Shirley
Boser and John Sullivan; foreword by John R. Osborne, Jr.
W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company. (Charleston, SC:
Arcadia, 128 p.). Case Archivist, Historian; Director of
Marketing; Great-Great-Grandson of Company’s Namesake. W.R. Case
& Sons Cutlery Company--History; W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery
Company--Pictorial works; Cutlery trade--United States--History;
Cutlery trade--United States--Pictorial works.
1905 - John Russell "Russ" Case
brought fledgling W. R. Case & Sons Company to Bradford,
dominated knife industry for next century; most collected knives
(Charles Early & Marriott (Witney) Ltd.),
Alfred Plummer. Richard E. Early (1969).
The Blanket Makers, 1669-1969; A History of Charles Early &
Marriott (Witney) Ltd. (London, UK: Routledge & Kegan
Paul, 205 p.). Charles Early & Marriott (Witney) Ltd.
(Gillow & Co.), Susan E. Stuart (2008).
Gillows of Lancaster and London 1730-1840: Cabinetmakers and
International Merchants: A Furniture and Business History.
(Woodbridge, UK, Antique Collectors' Club, Ltd., 800
p.). Founder Member of the Regional Furniture Study Group, Hon.
Research Fellow at the Centre of North-west Regional Studies
(Lancaster University). Gillow & Co.; furniture making--United
Kingdom--history. Definitive monograph on Gillows furniture and
(Gold Seal Company), Larry Woiwode (2000).
Aristocrat of the West: The Story of Harold Schafer.
(Fargo, ND: Institute for Regional Studies, North Dakota State
University, 390 p.). Schafer, Harold Lyle, 1912- ; Gold Seal
Company--History; Businessmen--North Dakota--Biography;
(Heath Ceramics), Amos Klausner; introduction,
Catherine Bailey & Robin Petravic; contributions, Yves Behar ...
[et al.] (2006).
Heath Ceramics: The Complexity of Simplicity. (San
Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 189 p.). Director of the San
Francisco Chapter of the AIGA. Heath, Edith, 1911-2005; Heath
Ceramics; Ceramic tableware --California --Sausalito --History
--20th century. Signature
tableware, tiles still made according to artisanal tradition
conceived by Edith Heath in mid-1940s in Sausalito, CA; one of
few remaining mid-century American potteries; history, legacy,
craft, woman who created them.
(Henredon Furniture Industries), Michael K. Dugan (2009).
The Furniture Wars: How America Lost a 50 Billion Dollar
Industry. (Seattle, WA: BookSurge Publishing, 468
p.). Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Henredon
Furniture Industries, Inc., Chair of the Business School at
Lenoir-Rhyne University. Furniture
industry and trade -- United States -- history.
Impact of globalization on American
furniture business - from making 'world class' products to
shutting down plants in 5 years; tens of thousands of jobs,
billions of dollars at stake; 50 years of furniture industry; why industry lost to foreign competition.
(IKEA), Bertil Torekull (1999).
Leading by Design: The IKEA Story. (New York, NY:
HarperBusiness, 244 p.). Swedish journalist. IKEA Group.
(IKEA), Elen Lewis (2005).
Great Ikea!: A Brand for All the People. (London, UK:
Cyan Communications, 192 p.). IKEA Group; Ingvar Kamprad; brand
name products. History of
company, its success; aspects of branding techniques; how, why achieved loyal fan base.
(Ikea), Johan Stenebo (2010).
The Truth about Ikea: The Secret Behind the World's Fifth
Richest Man and the Success of the Flatpack Giant.
(London, UK: Gibson Square, 256 p.). IKEA Director for two
decades. Ikea (Firm); Furniture industry and trade -- Sweden.
World's largest flatpack furniture retailer with 700 million
visitors/year; Kamprad's inspirational leadership (company
built in his image from provincial store in Sweden); Kamprad's
Nazi links, IKEA's low wage bill, exceptional profits, complex
Stasi-like business culture with spies, resourceful ways of
using media, companies to cover
(Interface), Ray C. Anderson (1998).
Mid-Course Correction: Toward a Sustainable Enterprise :The
Interface Model. (Atlanta, GA: Peregrinzill Press, 204
p.). Chairman, CEO (Interface, Inc.). Interface, Inc.;
Sustainable development--United States--Case studies; Social
responsibility of business--United States--Case studies;
Industrial management--Environmental aspects--United
(International Silver Company), Earl Chapin
Century of Silver, 1847-1947; Connecticut Yankees and a Noble
Metal. (New York, NY: R. M. McBride, 388 p.).
International Silver Company; Silverwork--New England.
(Jacques & Hay), Ruth Cathcart (1986).
Jacques & Hay: 19th Century Toronto Furniture Makers.
(Erin, ON: Boston Mills Press, 96 p.). Jacques & Hay; Furniture
industry and trade -- Ontario -- Toronto -- History; Furniture,
Victorian -- Ontario -- Toronto -- History; Furniture -- Ontario
-- Toronto; Furniture design -- Ontario -- Toronto.
(Krug Bros. & Co.), Howard Krug (2001).
A Century of Excellence: Krug Bros. & Co. Furniture
Manufacturers. (Toronto, ON: Natural Heritage/Natural
History, 184 p.). Krug Bros. & Co. -- History; Furniture
industry and trade -- Ontario -- Chesley -- History.
(La-Z-Boy), Jeffrey L. Rodengen, Richard F.
The Legend of La-Z-Boy, Inc. (Fort Lauderdale, FL:
Write Stuff Enterprises, 168 p.). La-Z-Boy, Inc.; Furniture
industry and trade--United States.
(Leggett & Platt), Jeffrey L. Rodengen (2008).
The Legend of Leggett & Platt. (Fort Lauderdale, FL:
Write Stuff Enterprises, Inc., 200 p.). Leggett, Joseph P.
(J.P.); Platt, Cornelius B. (C. B.); Leggett & Platt, Inc.; home
(Levitz Furniture), Wight Martindale (1972).
We Do It Every Day; the Story Behind the Success of Levitz
Furniture (New York, NY: Fairchild Publications, 150
p.). Levitz Furniture (Firm).
(Mercers’ Company of Coventry), Ronald M.
Berger (1993). The
Most Necessary Luxuries: The Mercer’s Company of Coventry,
1550-1680. (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State
University Press, 317 p.). Mercers’ Company of
Coventry--History; Textile industry--England--Coventry--History;
House furnishings industry and
(England)--Commerce--History; Coventry (England)--Economic
conditions; Coventry (England)--Social conditions.
(Mirror), Sabine Melchior-Bonnet; translated
by Katharine H. Jewett ; with a preface by Jean Delumeau (2000).
The Mirror: A History. (New York, NY: Routledge, 308
p.). Researcher at College de France (Paris). Mirrors--History.
(Mirror), Mark Pendergrast (2003).
Mirror Mirror: A History of the Human Love Affair with
Reflection. (New York, NY: Basic Books, 352 p.).
Mirrors--History; Reflection (Optics); Reflecting telescopes.
(Michael Nairn and Company, ltd.), Augustus
Nairns of Kirkcaldy; A Short History of the Company (1874-1956).
(Cambridge, UK: Heffer, 158 p.). Nairn (Michael) and Company,
ltd. Manufacturers of floorcloth.
(Pacific Coast Feather), Chris Roush and Petyr
A Good Night's Sleep: The Pacific Coast Feather Story.
(Seattle, WA: Documentary Media, 136 p.). Pacific Coast Feather
--History; Bedding industry --Northwest, Pacific --History.
generations of Hanauer family ownership, family and non-family
(Reed & Barton), George S. Gibb (1976).
The Whitesmiths of Taunton: A History of Reed & Barton,
1824-1943. (New York, NY: Arno Press, 419 p. [Reprint of
1943 ed.]). Reed & Barton; Silverwork--Massachusetts--Taunton.
(Reed & Barton), Renee Garrelick (1998).
Sterling Seasons: The Reed & Barton Story. (Taunton, MA:
Reed & Barton Corp., 168 p.). Reed & Barton--History;
(Revere Copper and Brass), Issac F. Marsosson
Copper Heritage; The Story of Revere Copper and Brass
Incorporated. (New York, NY: Dodd, Mead, 254 p.). Revere
Copper and Brass Incorporated.
(Richardson Industries - dates to 1848 and
Joseph Richardson's saw milling operation
in Sheboygan Falls, WI), Jay Pridmore (1998).
The Richardson Story: A Family Enterprise at 150 Years
(Lyme, CT: Greenwich Publishing Group, Inc., 112 p.). Richardson
Industries--History; Furniture industry and
trade--Wisconsin--History; House furnishings industry and
(Shaw Industries), Randall L. Patton (2002).
Shaw Industries : A History. (Athens, GA: University of
Georgia Press, 217 p.). Associate Professor of History (Kennesaw
State University). Shaw Industries History; Rug and carpet
industry Georgia History.
(Thonet), Christopher Wilk (1980).
Thonet: 150 Years of Furniture (Woodbury, NY: Barron's,
143 p.). Thonet, Michael, 1796-1871; Gebrüder Thonet; Furniture
industry and trade--Austria--Vienna--Biography; Vienna
(Wedgwood), Anthony Burton (1976).
Josiah Wedgwood: a Biography. (London, UK: A. Deutsch,
239 p.). Wedgwood, Josiah, 1730-1795;
(Wedgwood), Sharon Gater and David Vincent
The Factory in a Garden: Wedgwood from Etruria to Barlaston: The
Transitional Years. (Keele, UK: Keele Life Histories
Centre, University of Keele, 80 p.). Wedgwood & Company; Pottery
Production History Staffordshire (England).
(Wedgwood), Robin Reilly (1992).
Josiah Wedgwood 1730-1795. (London, UK: Macmillan, 412
p.). Wedgwood, Josiah, 1730-1795; Potters--England--Biography;
Pottery, English--18th century; Wedgwood ware.
(Wedgwood), Brian Dolan (2004).
Wedgwood: The First Tycoon. (New York, NY: Viking, 396
p.). Wedgwood, Josiah, 1730-1795; Potters--Great
Britain--Biography; Industrialists--Great Britain--Biography.
(White Furniture Company), Bill Bamberger,
Cathy N. Davidson (1998).
Closing: The Life and Death of an American Factory (New
York, NY: Norton, 223 p.). White Furniture Company; Furniture
industry and trade--United States; Downsizing of
organizations--United States--Case studies; Plant
(James Williamson & Son Ltd. ), Philip J.
Lord Linoleum: Lord Ashton, Lancaster and the Rise of the
British Oilcloth and Linoleum Industry. (Staffordshire,
UK: Keele University Press, 288 p.). Ashton, James Williamson,
Baron of, 1842-1930; Linoleum industry--Great Britain--History;
Oilcloth industry--Great Britain--History; Businesspeople--Great
Britain--Biography; Lancashire (England)--History.
Williamson, Jr.: Lord Ashton
Regina Lee Blaszczyk (2000).
Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to
Corning (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press,
380 p.). Assistant Professor of History and American Studies
(Boston University). Ceramic tableware industry--United
States--History; Ceramic tableware industry--Great
Britain--History; Glassware industry--United States--History;
Glassware industry--Great Britain--History; Consumers'
preferences--United States--History; Consumers'
preferences--Great Britain--History. Those
who attempted to create demand, shape taste to single national
style usually failed; companies that honored consumer
sovereignty instead of trying to elevate it, overpower it
generally came out ahead; how, in what sense consumers
have exercised degree of sovereignty over businesses
offering them choices.
Arthur H. Cole and Harold F. Williamson
(1941). The American Carpet Manufacture; a History and an
Analysis. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 281 p.).
John E. Crowley (2001).
The Invention of Comfort: Sensibilities & Design in Early
Modern Britain & Early America. (Baltimore, MD: Johns
Hopkins University Press, 361 p.). George Munro Professor of
History (Dalhousie University). Households--United
States--History; Households--Great Britain--History; House
furnishings--United States--History; House furnishings--Great
Britain--History; United States--Social life and customs; Great
Britain--Social life and customs.
Sharon Darling (1984).
Chicago Furniture: Art, Craft & Industry, 1833-1983.
(New York, NY: Chicago Historical Society in association with
W.W. Norton, 416 p.).
Clive Edwards (2005).
Turning Houses into Homes: A History of the Retailing and
Consumption of Domestic Furnishings. (Burlington, VT:
Ashgate, 294 p.). Research Director and Senior Lecturer in
History of Art & Design (Loughborough University School of Art &
Design). House furnishings industry and trade--History.
Ed. David Hussey and Margaret Ponsonby (2008).
Buying for the Home: Shopping for the Domestic from the
Seventeenth Century to the Present. (Burlington, VT:
Ashgate Pub. Company, 250 p.). Senior Lecturer in History
(University of Wolverhampton), Senior Lecturer in History
(University of Wolverhampton)). Home economics --History;
England --Social life and customs; United States --Social life
and customs. How
strategies of retailers were arbitrated by, negotiated through
actions, desires of homemaker as consumer; four key themes: 1)
retail arenas and the everyday; 2) identity and lifestyle; 3)
fashioning domestic space; 4) cultural practice; how
middle-class homemakers view, imagine, occupy domestic spaces in
early-modern, modern, post-modern society.
Pat Kirkham, Rodney Mace, Julia Porter (1987).
Furnishing the World: The East London Furniture Trade, 1830-1980
(London, UK: Journeyman, 136 p.). Furniture industry and
trade--England--London--History; London (England)--History.
Randall L. Patton and David B. Parker (1999).
Carpet Capital: The Rise of a New South Industry.
(Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 341 p.). Rug and
William Stevens (1968).
Anvil of Adversity: Biography of a Furniture Pioneer.
(New York, NY: Popular Library, 211 p.). Broyhill, James Edgar,
1892- ; Businessmen--United States--Biography; Furniture
industry and trade--United States--Biography.
Martha Van Hoesen Taber (1955). A History
of the Cutlery Industry in the Connecticut Valley.
(Northampton, MA: Dept. of History, Smith College, 138 p.).
Cutlery--Connecticut River Valley.
Kenneth Joel Zogry; edited by Philip Zea;
foreword by Wendell Garrett; principal photographer by Ken
The Best the Country Affords: Vermont Furniture, 1765-1850.
(Bennington, VT Bennington Museum, 172 p.). Curator at the
Bennington Museum. Furniture --Vermont --History --18th century
--Exhibitions; Furniture --Vermont --History --19th century
--Exhibitions; Furniture, Colonial --Vermont --Exhibitions. This
catalogue accompanies the exhibition, 'The Best the Country
Affords', held at the Bennington Museum, Bennington, Vt., May
6-July 30, 1995 and the Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, Vt. on
August 13 to October 23, 1995.
Business History Links
Hall of Fame Foundation
February 22, 1988
- group of nine executives founded organization to to preserve
the heritage of the furniture industry and to honor its leaders.
As an international, industry-wide organization, our mission is
to research, collect and preserve our cultural, economic and
This "portal for design lovers" and collectors provides images
and information about 20th-21st century household objects and
their designers and manufacturers. Searchable, or browsable by
designer, producer, or by object period (back to 1920),
function, or material. Also includes information about exhibits,
a discussion forum, advertisements, and links to related sites.
Subjects: Designers; House furnishings; Design.