People Dedicated to A Legacy of Traditional Furniture
The Carolinas, home of Traditional Furniture, were two of the 13 original American colonies. In Northern cities like New York, Philadelphia, Newport, Boston and Baltimore, some early furniture makers expanded production to a proto-industrial scale. But not in the Carolinas where production and distribution remained local and modest. People imported their furniture from the North, made their own, or patronized local craftsmen (mostly immigrants from England, Scotland and Germany) who kept their operations at the smallest scale.
Furniture manufacturing has been a major player in the region’s economy since the seventeenth century, when English artisans began to settle across the Carolinas and produce furniture on a small scale. Early industrial entrepreneurs and developers focused on the Piedmont region of Appalachia because of its abundant wood supply, access to transportation, and cheap labor availability.
Traditional College Chairs Created in the Beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains
Among the first Europeans to settle Guilford County were Quakers and German immigrants. High Point was located at the highest point of the 1856 N. Carolina Railroad between Charlotte and Goldsboro where it intersected the 1852 Great Western Plank Road. Its central location and transportation allowed for the delivery of raw materials like cotton and lumber and processed goods in and out of the city and contributed to its early growth.
In the mid-19th century, the centers of American furniture production were moving away from the Northeast, to Midwestern centers like Cincinnati and Chicago, and particularly Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The Carolinas are known as “The Furniture Capital of the World”, but it has only held this distinction for the last 90 years. New York, Chicago and Grand Rapids were the dominant cities at the turn of the century. As late as the 1890’s, North Carolina’s furniture production had barely started. In the 1890 census only 6 furniture plants were counted in the state.
The northern furniture manufacturing centers lost their dominance as the 19th century ended. The 28 furniture plants of Boston in 1875 had dwindled to 6 by 1900. The vast hardwood forests of the Blue Ridge Mountains were logical areas for the furniture industry to prosper.
The end of World War II brought the greatest demand for furniture that the country had ever experienced. Home building increased by 300% and new furniture was needed throughout the nation. This fantastic demand for furniture was primarily answered by the manufacturers of North Carolina Furniture. Affinity Classics is fortunate to build our College Chairs in “The Furniture Capital of the World”!