loading background

Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

Grand Rapids Chair Co. - Baxter, 1891

The Grand Rapids Chair Company was incorporated in October, 1872, by Henry Fralick, President; C. C. Comstock, Vice President, and F. W. Worden, Secretary and Treasurer; with a capital stock of $300,000.

Buildings were erected in that and the following year. The main factory is a four-story brick structure; the engine room and boiler house are also of brick, and the factory storehouse and offices are four stories.

The sawmill is a two-story frame, sheathed with iron. The dry-kilns have a capacity for about 184,000 feet of lumber. The premises occupied are extensive, covering nearly twelve acres of land, through which tracks run from every lumber pile to the dry kilns, and thence to each section of the factory. Up to 1882 the company manufactured chairs exclusively. Now, in addition to fine chairs, they turn out chamber sets, tables, bookcases, sideboards and chiffoniers of medium grades in a variety of woods, mostly maple, birch, cherry and walnut.

The annual output is about $325,000, giving employment to some 40 girls and 250 men, at a monthly cost of about $10,000. Three traveling men selling to the jobbing and retail trade have made the name of the establishment known in nearly every State in the Union.

Officers (1889): President, C. C. Comstock; Vice President, R. W. Butterfield; Secretary and Treasurer, E. H. Foote; Superintendent, John Mowat. Directors: Charles C. Comstock, R. W. Butterfield, Julius Houseman, Julius Berkey, E. H. Foote, John Mowat, Cyrus E. Perkins.

The property investment as inventoried in July, 1888, amounted to $362,789. The sawmill cuts about 4,000,000 feet of lumber per year, all of which is consumed in the factory.

The enterprise had but poor success until 1882 when, to chair making, furniture was added, the stock in the company not being all taken till then. It has since prospered, and though no dividends were made until 1888, it is considered one of the soundest manufacturing establishments of the city.

Source: History of the City of Grand Rapids by Albert Baxter. 1891. 

Like Us on Facebook
site by GRCMC