Furniture History

High Point and Furniture

It is difficult to think of one without thinking of the other. Furniture and its related industries fuel our economy, and the city dances to the rhythms of its markets. Beginning with the earliest days of industrial manufacture in the South following the Civil War, High Point (so named because it was the highest point on the North Carolina Railroad when it was established in 1859) has played a vital role in the history of furniture in North Carolina, and indeed the entire region, country, and now the world. After the turn of the 20th century, the furniture industry in North Carolina grew rapidly. High Point became the center of furniture manufacturing and marketing in the South, and eventually in the entire country.

Following World War II, an estimated 60% of all furniture made in America was produced within a 150-mile radius of High Point, and the city’s week-long semi-annual furniture markets have become the major international wholesale markets for the industry. The journey from a few small family-owned furniture factories, using abundant local timber supplies and hardworking labor from abandoned tobacco farms, to a major manufacturing and distribution center is a local story with national impact. It is a story that has touched every American.

Links:
Bienstock Furniture Library
High Point Market

High Point’s Furniture Companies
Joe Exum Brown is a tireless researcher with an abiding interest in the industry and history of High Point. In this file, we present an extensive list he compiled of furniture companies that are documented to have operated in High Point and nearby since the furniture industry began here in the late 1880s. In his introduction to the list he tells about the sources he consulted. He concluded his research on this topic in 2003 by checking the then current telephone directory for each company he believed to be active. Although there have been changes since 2003, no one has updated Brown’s list.

Note that this list is presented to you as Joe Brown finished it, without corrections of spellings or listings. If you have information to add or change, please contact the High Point Museum through our contact page