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Drexel Furniture Company

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006Drexel Furniture Company, rebuilt two weeks after 1906 fire. Image courtesy of Burke County Public Library.

The Drexel Furniture Company was incorporated on 10 Nov. 1903 and began making fine furniture in a small factory near Morganton in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. In time, the company acquired other furniture plants, including the Table Rock Furniture Company in 1951 and the Heritage Furniture Company and Morganton Furniture Company in 1956. On 1 Dec. 1960 Drexel Furniture became Drexel Enterprises, Inc., and the following year it acquired the Southern Desk Company, manufacturer of a broad line of institutional furniture and equipment for laboratories, libraries, classrooms, dormitories, and churches.

In 1968 U.S. Plywood-Champion Papers bought Drexel Enterprises. As a subsidiary of Champion, the company became Drexel Heritage Furnishings, Inc. Champion sold Drexel Heritage to Dominick International Corporation, a private New York brokerage and investment banking firm, in August 1977. In 1986 Drexel Heritage became a wholly owned subsidiary of Masco Corporation, which, by buying several other leading North Carolina furniture makers, became by the late 1980s the largest U.S. furniture manufacturer.

Drexel for many years sold home and institutional furniture both domestically and abroad. Many of the best-known hotels in the world purchased Drexel furniture, and contracts with the U.S. State Department and the General Services Administration placed Drexel furniture in American embassies and government offices all over the world. In 2004 Drexel Heritage Furniture Industries, Inc., as part of Furniture Brands International, was based in High Point and had 1,300 employees working at several facilities in North Carolina. It remained one of the nation's leading residential furniture manufacturers, producing a variety of wooden and upholstered furniture under several brand names.

References:

Allen C. Irvine, Sixty Years of Progress in the Making of Fine Furniture: Drexel Enterprises, Inc., 1903-1963 [1963?].

Edward W. Phifer, Burke: The History of a North Carolina County, 1777-1920 (1977).

Additional Resources:

Drexel Heritage Furniture Industries, Inc.: http://www.drexelheritage.com/

Image Credit:

Drexel Furniture Company, rebuilt two weeks after 1906 fire. Image courtesy of Burke County Public Library. Available from http://pictureburke.bcpls.org/places_3.htm (accessed July 3, 2012).

 

Origin - location: 

Comments

Comment: 

I have a hutch w/ light (drexel 351-282) that my wife has had for years. She's been wanting to know how old it really is but we can find no answers anywhere. Can you tell us or can you direct us to where we can find it?

Comment: 

Hi James,

Thanks for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share your question.

Unfortunately, NCpedia doesn't have any information on specific pieces made by Drexel.  You may want to contact the company or consult an antiques dealer.  Here's a link to the company website: http://www.drexelheritage.com/

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

I bought a drexel bow front buffet with the number 41074 and New Hampshire Court printed on the back . I would like to know a little more about the time it was made.

Comment: 

Hi Kathy,

Thanks for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share this.

Our best suggestion is to consult an antiques dealer to see if you can gather more information.  You may also want to check back here on the comments from time to time to see if others have posted a response.

Good luck and best wishes!

Kelly Agan, NC Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

How do I clean Drexel Wallace Nutting Cherry circa 1950? In good
shape - usual smudges, etc. Seems to be a shiny lacquer finish.
Any help appreciated!!!

Comment: 

Cleaning of furniture is best done by using a good quality furniture paste wax. Briwax is a good brand also Johnson's floor paste wax. They contain No nondrying oilslike silicone oil or mineral oil.

Comment: 

Hi,
I have four dining chairs I need some info on. The label reads; "made by heritage furniture company, morganton of North Carolina xxxx of Drexel enterprises inc"
Any info on age/ value would be a great help. I want to sell them but do not want to suffer a great loss due to sentimentality. Can also send pics if you provide email address. Thanks.

Comment: 

I have a table I bought used and the bottom says
4-4-3 table by Drexel 6-62.
Is this the same as Drexel Furniture. I live my table it has two flaps that are about 2 ft long tjat flip open with butter fly legs to extend the table on each side

Comment: 

Thanks for using NCpedia!

Unfortunately, we do not have any information about specific Drexel products. You may wish to contact the company or a used furniture dealer. Their website is at http://www.drexelheritage.com/.

Good luck in your research!

Michelle Underhill, NC Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

I recently purchased a 1960s profile dining table. Perfect condition! Is there anyway of getting a replacement leaf?

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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