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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 recently bought 4 pieces of antique Drexel furnitue (hutch, buffet & 2 dressers). There is no Drexel "stamp" on any pieces. How can I be sure it's really Drexel?

Comment: 

I have a bedroom set of French Provencial from the 40's and two pulls on the chest of drawers are broken. Do you know who to contact to replace them. Years ago I did this but have misplaced the contact information. Thank you. E Jones

Comment: 

Thank you for your comment about Drexel Furniture! Here is a link to the Drexel Heritage Furniture Customer Service contact page: http://www.drexelheritage.com/About-Drexel-Heritage/Contact-Us.aspx. If you have further questions, please contact Reference Services at the Government & Heritage Library. Their direct email address is slnc.reference@ncdcr.gov; more information about Reference Services can be found at http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/contact.html. Good luck in your research!

Emily Horton, Government & Hertiage Library, State Library of North Carolina

Comment: 

I have a chest of drawers with matching mirror bought in 1959. I would like to sell it but do not know where to begin. Can you give me a starting point or do you know anyone who is interested.

Comment: 

Thanks for posting a comment. Unfortunately, we don't have the information you are looking for in NCpedia, but you may want to try contacting a local antiques dealer. References Services at the Government and Heritage Library may also be able to point you to some resources that would be helpful in your research. Their email address is slnc.reference@ncdcr.gov. Additional contact information for them may be found at http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/contact.html. Good luck!

Mike Childs, Government and Heritage Library, State Library of North Carolina.

Comment: 

I have an old federal chair made by Drexel. Do they usually retail for a lot?

Comment: 

Thanks for posting a comment in NCpedia. Unfortunately, we don't have the information you are looking for in NCpedia, but you may want to try contacting a local antiques dealer. References Services at the Government and Heritage Library may also be able to point you to some resources that would be helpful in your research. Their email address is slnc.reference@ncdcr.gov. Additional contact information for them may be found at http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/contact.html. Good luck!

 

Emily Horton, Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

Comment: 

i have a double bowed glass solid mahagony corner china cabinet i believe is from the 1940's the number on it is 5416...it does not have a key hole , it has two metal fixtures to open the doors with ...i cannot find anything on this or the value of it, can you please help me, thank you.

Comment: 

Thank you for posting your question, Deborah.

There may be some antique furniture dealers in your area that may be able to help you. If you need help locating an antiques dealer near you to help you appraise the item, you may wish to contact Reference Services at the Government & Heritage Library. Their email address is slnc.reference@ncdcr.gov. Additional contact information for them may be found at http://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/contact.html. Your local public library may also be able to direct you to resources in your area.

Good luck in your research!

Michelle Underhill, Government & Heritage Library

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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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