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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

Former Grand Rapids Designer, E. E. Dryden, Now in California

The close of the furniture season marked the departure from the ranks of the Grand Rapids designers one of its best known and most skillful members, E.E. Dryden, who will move to San Francisco to design for D. N. and E. Walter & Co., one of the largest furniture houses on the Pacific coast.

Mr. Dryden has been designing for Grand Rapids firms for the last twenty-two years, coming to the Phoenix Furniture Company before the Grand Rapids product had been raised to its present preeminence. He designed successively for the Widdicomb Mantel Co., Stickley Bros., where he designed the beginning of the famous Mission goods; the Century Furniture Company’s “gold medal line;” Barber Bros., Paine Company, and the Imperial Table Company as well as others.

During this period he achieved fame for his ability, which was no easy task in this community of master craftsmen. The Grand Rapids Herald, in 1905, spoke of Dryden as one of the three most prominent furniture designers, and so great was his skill that he received a personal award of merit at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and was given a silver medal by the St. Louis Exposition.

His work in San Francisco will be the designing of the entire interior finishing and furnishing of houses in one period or style, a development of modern architectural and furniture methods applied to the finest homes of today. Dryden is particularly fitted for this work; his early training as an architect in the Franklin Institute of Technology being followed up in an architect’s office in Pittsburg, whence he came to study furniture design.

Later, Dryden would become the man who has been called the father of the Renaissance of Reed Furniture, and would influence reed furniture manufacturers everywhere.

Excerpted from the Evening Press, January 30, 1907, page 4, and

 The Furniture Record, September 1920, page 158

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