"During the last half of the 19th century, furniture manufacturing became an important industry in Michigan, especially in the Grand Rapids area. Since then, more than 800 furniture makers were located on the west side of the state. With its huge concentration of furniture makers, Grand Rapids earned its reputation as "The Furniture Capital" by manufacturing huge quantities of furniture of all styles. While Grand Rapids was the best-known city in the country for its furniture, large quantities were also built in other Michigan cities including Detroit, Grand Ledge and Holland. In the late 1890s, over 7,000 people were employed in furniture factories across the state.
Most of the furniture manufactured during this period was traditional styling. However, during the early part of the 20th century, some companies expanded their lines to include tines by contemporary designers. Among the some of the best-known companies that designed Art Deco or Modern furniture at some point in their history is Baker Furniture, Grand Rapids Chair, Imperial Furniture, Johnson Brothers, Johnson-Handley-Johnson, Charles Limbert Co., Michigan Chair, Sligh Furniture, Stickey Furniture and Widdicomb Furniture.
In 1908, the three Johnson brothers founded Johnson Furniture Company and in the same year hired English designer, Tom Handley. In 1922, the four men started Johnson-Handley-Johnson as a companion company. Both companies produced significant lines of modern furniture by such designers as David Robertson Smith, Eliel Saarinen and Paul Frankel. In 1983, the company merged with Rose Manufacturing Company to form RoseJohnson Inc., which is now the La-Z-Boy Contract Group." [by Ron Ortiz: The Modern , Spring/Summer, Vol. 18, 1]
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