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Furniture City History.org


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Kindel Furniture Co.

1924 - 1978

Grand Rapids, Michigan

SEE ALSO Valley City Furniture Company; Foote-Reynolds Company (Listed below)

COMPANY HISTORY

1899: Kindel Bedding Company is founded in Denver, Colorado.

1904: Company moves to St. Louis, Missouri.

1912: Company moves to Grand Rapids, Michigan and is renamed Kindel Bed Company.

1915: Company is purchased by Kroehler Manufacturing Company of Chicago.

1924: Charles Kindel buys company back; renames it Kindel Furniture Company.

1926: Company purchases Foote-Reynolds Company.

1959: Kindel purchases old Valley City Furniture Company plant.

1964: John W. Fisher of Muncie, Indiana (married to Janice Ball Fisher) purchased the company from the Kindel family. The Fisher family continues to own the major share of the company today [2012].

1978: Robert Fogarty became a partner and minority shareholder.

The following historical information has been updated with permission from Kindel Furniture Company.

1998: Kindel is awarded a “Woman in the Workplace” award for the high percentage of women in manufacturing leadership roles.

1999: Kindel establishes a relationship with the Greenbrier Hotel and participates in renovations of pub areas and rooms.

2000: Kindel introduces the Varney & Sons Collection

2006: Kindel is awarded the Mount Vernon License

2007: Kindel presents a 23 foot custom conference table to Mount Vernon for historic meeting between President Bush and French President Sarkozy.

Varney & Sons Collection becomes the Dorothy Draper Collection.

2010: Kindel merges with The Taylor Company and moves to 4047 Eastern Ave. SE in Grand Rapids.

2011: In May of 2011 fire destroyed the old building on Garden St., which was empty as the move to the new building had been completed in January. 

2011: Kindel attends the Architectural Digest Home Show in a new sales and marketing strategy for 2011.

PERSONNEL

The Kindel Bedding Company was founded by Charles J. Kindel, Sr. From 1913 to 1915, he served as president of the National Association of Upholstered Furniture Manufacturers. When Charles J. Kindel, Sr. died in 1962, Charles M. Kindel, Jr. and Thomas G. Kindel assumed control of the company. With the sale in 1964 to John W. Fisher, Charles M. and Thomas continued as president and vice-president, with Robert Fogarty as the minority stockholder. Wendell Davis was named president in 1966; he was replaced in 1974 by David Shuart. Robert Fogarty became a partner in the company in 1978.

PRODUCTS

When the company moved to St. Louis in 1904, it was listed as a manufacturer of convertible davenport beds, which were protected by patent. The patent’s primary improvement over other folding beds was that it allowed for conversion of a piece of furniture into a bed without the need to move it away from the wall. In 1911, the company made three convertible parlor beds: the “Senior davenport,” the “Junior divanette,” and the “Sophomore easy chair.” Throughout the 1910s, the company still manufactured davenport sofas that converted into beds in various period reproduction styles including Sheraton, Adam, William and Mary, and Jacobean. It also made a Mission-style oak divanette with leather upholstery.

In 1924, the product line had expanded slightly to include “fine Colonial reproductions” of beds and davenports. But by 1932, the line had grown to include whole suites of bedroom, as well as dining room furniture. From the 1930s until the early 1980s, the company produced traditional residential pieces in French Provincial and various English, Oriental, and Italian styles.

In 1982, Kindel became a manufacturer of authentic reproductions when it was awarded the exclusive license to reproduce furniture from the extensive collections of the prestigious Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Museum. These pieces are “line for line” copies of the 18th-century American originals, made from the same woods, including mahogany, satinwood, sycamore, cherry, and solid poplar cores. A few pieces in the Winterthur Collection were adaptations, primarily when the original was too large to be reproduced for use in modern homes. Pieces in which the original design was used for another form were described as “variations.” Pieces were chosen for reproduction based upon recommendations of both museum curators and Kindel representatives.

Kindel also became the exclusive licensee reproducing the collections of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and in 1984, for the Irish Georgian Society. Special hardware for some of Kindel’s museum pieces is created by Keeler Brass Company of Grand Rapids. Pieces from these collections continue to be produced in low quantity production and sell for as much as $15,000 to $20,000 per piece.

MARKS AND LABELS

In the 1910s and 1920s, the name “Kindel” or “Kindel Beds” was used in a bold, Gothic script type style, surrounded by a rectangle with chamfered corners. By the 1930s, the trademark was an oval frame surrounding a silhouette bust of George Washington. From the 1950s into the 1980s, the name “KINDEL” was printed in upper-case letters over “Grand Rapids” in script, surrounded by an oval. Under Fogarty, Kindel adopted a carved scallop design over the name “KINDEL” as its trademark.

 

 

Foote-Reynolds Company

1919 – 1926

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Manufacturer of four-post beds and day beds in Colonial Revival style. Purchased by Kindel Furniture Co. in 1926.

 

Valley City Furniture Company

1942 – 1957

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Manufacturer of occasional tables. In 1959 the Valley City plant was purchased by Kindel Furniture Co. Name was used by Valley City Plating Co. between 1977 and circa 1988.

Successor to Valley City Desk Co.

 

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. 

Transcriber: Rebecca Smith-Hoffman

 

Full Details

TitleKindel Furniture Co.
AddressGrand Rapids, MI
Year Opened1924
Year Closed1978
Also Known AsKindel Bed Co., Kindel Folding Bed Co.


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