Part of the Grand Rapids Tradition of Office Furniture Making

D+M Metal is located in the Grand Rapids area of West Michigan which has been nationally known as a furniture making hub for over 140 years. We are proud to contribute to the tradition of making office furniture.

Furniture City History

Grand Rapids rather serendipitously became the center of furniture making in America. There were other cities in the United States and in Michigan that had ready access to forest resources and rivers, but this is where the right resources and the right people came together. The rapids that the city is named for transported logs and supplied power to sawmills in the city. Woodworking was a natural outcome of the lumber generated by those mills.

The Furniture City story begins with William Haldane who came to Michigan from Ohio and opened a cabinet shop in 1836 before the small settlement had even incorporated as a village.

By the 1850s, several companies were producing furniture on a greater scale, but Grand Rapids didn€™t get on the national and international map for furniture making until the 1870s. A number of companies, including Berkey and Gay, won awards at the Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, and suddenly people knew about how good furniture made in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was.

By the turn of the century 1900, over 40 furniture companies were in operation mass producing fine wood furniture, including Widdicomb Furniture Company, Baker Furniture Company, Williams-Kimp, and American Seating. Approximately half of the people in the city were then employed in some capacity related to furniture making, either in the factories directly or in sawmills, or paint and varnish companies. Many immigrants coming from Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Poland found work this way in their new home.

Today Grand Rapids is still a leading manufacturing center. Steelcase, Haworth, and Herman Miller manufacture office furniture that the entire world buys and uses to get business done.

Office Furniture Components

While once office furniture was largely made of wood, today it’s often made at least partially of metal. Steelcase began in 1912 as the Metal Office Furniture Company, in fact. George Nelson, the head of design at Herman Miller, invented the first modern ‘Workstation’ in 1947 and went on to develop the ‘Action Office 1‘ program that revolutionized the office furniture industry by simultaneously streamlining workflow and accommodating workers physical and psychological needs.

Many components of modern office furniture are made of metal and need to be fabricated before they can be used to assemble furniture. That is how we fit into the Grand Rapids furniture story. We work with companies in the office furniture industry and fabricate those parts. For example, we make housing for table bases that NuCraft Furniture uses to manufacture tables. We make tubing for chairs made by Grand Rapids Chair as well.

If you need parts for your office furniture project, D+M Metal Products can build products according to your specifications. We can also work with you to develop a product that isn’t completely thought out yet. If you have questions, contact us today. We would be happy to discuss how we can help solve your office furniture need.

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