loading background
view

Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

Furniture City History.org


Imperial Furniture Co.

mouse over to zoom

Imperial Furniture Co.

1903 - 1954

Grand Rapids, Michigan

SEE ALSO Grand Rapids Chair Co.; Bergsma Brothers

COMPANY HISTORY

1903: Founded by F. Stuart Foote.

1904: First dividend of 5% common stock declared.

1936: $80,000 showroom and dining hall built adjacent to factory.

1940s: Company builds airplane wings for the government.

1954: Company sold to Bergsma Brothers Co. after Foote dies.

PERSONNEL

F. Stuart Foote began at the Grand Rapids Chair Co., which his father, E.H. Foote, owned. There he learned about many aspects of the furniture business. In 1903, after ten years at the Grand Rapids Chair Co., he raised the money to found Imperial Furniture Co., with the help of Daniel McCoy, who was the president of Kent State Bank. McCoy was the first president of the company but Foote would soon take over and continue to be president for fifty years.

PRODUCTS

Imperial’s primary product was tables, with the addition of bookcases to its line later in its history. Foote laid claim to inventing the “coffee table” after he helped his wife prepare for a party by lowering the legs on a table. Imperial made dining room tables to go along with buffets made by the Grand Rapids Chair Co. Imperial was the first factory to bring out Duncan Phyfe reproductions. They worked mostly in mahogany but also had pieces of cherry. In the 1940’s, they made wood airplane wings for the government. Imperial was the first company to concentrate large-scale efforts on occasional furniture.

MARKS AND LABELS

Through most of its history, Imperial’s trademark was a triangular shield with a crown on top. On the shield is written “Imperial, Grand Rapids, Michigan”. The crown and the lettering vary only slightly by date.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The source, with permission of the author, is Grand Rapids Furniture: The Story of America’s Furniture City by Christian G. Carron, published by the Grand Rapids Public Museum. 1998. 

Full Details

TitleImperial Furniture Co.
AddressGrand Rapids, MI
Year Opened1903
Year Closed1954
Locationlocation on map


site by GRCMC