by Patricia Phillips Marshall, 2006
Additional research by Michael H. Lewis
Part 1: Overview
Furniture has been an important product of North Carolina artisans and manufacturers since the early colonial era . The massive success of the industry in the state led to North Carolina's acquiring the nickname "Furniture Capital of the World " during the 1980s, when the state produced approximately one-half of the furniture sold in the United States. While furniture remained a key segment of North Carolina's economy in the early years of the twenty-first century, with more than 600 furniture manufacturers in the state producing in excess of $6 billion in furniture and furnishings and employing nearly 70,000 people, economic and international trade changes in the 1990s and early 2000s resulted in a significant downsizing  of the industry.
"Lenoir Chair Company, Lenoir, NC (Caldwell County); final assembly and sanding, c.1943, photo by Patrick." Photograph no. ConDev3171B. From North Carolina Conservation and Development Department, Travel and Tourism Division photo files, North Carolina State Archives , Raleigh, NC, USA.
Keep reading > Part ii: Colonial era to the Civil War  
1 January 2006 | Marshall, Patricia Phillips