Drexel Drexel Heritage began on November 10, 1903 when five enterprising men from Morganton, North Carolina started a small furniture factory. Built on a tract of land where the wagon track crossed the railroad, it became known as Drexel. Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, the area had an abundance of virgin timber including chestnut, oak, poplar, maple and walnut. Within three years, the 26,600-square-foot plant had 30 employees and average production was 50 pieces of furniture per week. The first product of their labor was a solid-oak, three-piece suite including a bureau, washstand and bed. It cost $14.50 wholesale. Today, the company`s combined manufacturing and distribution facilities total 2.3 million square feet. During the 1930s, as a result of the Depression, Drexel Heritage recognized the need to move away from commodity furniture toward designing home furnishings to appeal to its customers. A 13-person sales force was established and the first furniture designers were brought on board. In 1937, Drexel became the first furniture manufacturer to advertise in national magazines. Throughout World War II, all Drexel plants remained open. Wartime production included 50,000 government desks, 15 million tent stakes and millions of square feet of marine plywood for boats. About 4,000 bedroom suites were made for government housing at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The piece that prompted the most company pride was a custom desk created for General Douglas Macarthur. In 1956, Drexel acquired the successful Heritage Furniture Company from High Point, North Carolina, which was founded in 1932 by Elliott Wood. The two companies operated as separate divisions until 1974, when Drexel Enterprises and Heritage Furniture Company became Drexel Heritage.
John O. Van Koert John O. Van Koert, a prominent New York designer who helped promote the fascination with Danish modern furnishings in the 1950`s. Mr. Van Koert designed silverware and furniture that helped to introduce modernist shapes. Born in Manitoba, Canada, he later moved to Milwaukee, where he studied at the University of Wisconsin to be a painter and sculptor and taught design in the art department. After World War II, he settled in New York as a jewelry designer for Harry Winston and branched out into industrial design. His flatware designs in silver for Towle were well known in the 50`s. One of them, ``Contour,`` a sleek Miro-like design, was chosen to represent modernism in ``Knife, Fork and Spoon,`` a 1951 traveling exhibition on the history of eating implements organized by the Walter Art Center of Minneapolis. In 1954, he was exhibition director of ``Design in Scandinavia,`` a show that traveled for three years, to venues including the Brooklyn Museum of Art; it helped introduce Scandinavian modern design to Americans. Mr. Van Koert`s furniture designs for Drexel, a North Carolina manufacturer, were presented in model rooms in department stores like Abraham & Straus, Macy`s and Bloomingdale`s. A 1956 installation of walnut furniture with rounded edges, silver-finished hardware and chartreuse upholstery was shown against purple, silver and electric-blue walls.
Danish Drexel "Profile" Line Dining Set 1950`s Sophisticated dining set by Drexel`s profile line
Table: wood extension mechanism table
Chairs: (four side chairs and two arm chairs) wood frames with suede royal blue upholstery