Furniture Timeline

Royal Keyes was the first to make furniture in commercial quantities. He was born in Vermont, and moved to "The Rapids" to work in the logging camps.

1816 The First Craftsmen

Royal Keyes was the first to make furniture in commercial quantities. He was born in Vermont, and moved to “The Rapids” to work in the logging camps.
The Erie Canal opened in 1825. Before it opened, getting goods to Jamestown was difficult and expensive. The Canal greatly improved transportation and trade for settlers.

1825 The Erie Canal

The Erie Canal opened in 1825. Before it opened, getting goods to Jamestown was difficult and expensive. The Canal greatly improved transportation and trade for settlers.
In 1827, Jamestown was a village of 400 people. The main industry was lumbering, which contributed to the growth of the furniture industry over the next century.

1827 Jamestown: A Village

In 1827, Jamestown was a village of 400 people. The main industry was lumbering, which contributed to the growth of the furniture industry over the next century.
Changes in technology ended and era of chair production in Jamestown. Cunningham closed his business due to competition from larger factories.

1860 The End of an Era

Changes in technology ended and era of chair production in Jamestown. Cunningham closed his business due to competition from larger factories.
Railroads were expanding westward, and by 1863 a line was completed linking Jamestown to St. Louis, Missouri. Railroads brought new materials and new labor.

1863 Westward Expansion

Railroads were expanding westward, and by 1863 a line was completed linking Jamestown to St. Louis, Missouri. Railroads brought new materials and new labor.
The Cane Seat Chair Co. opened in 1870 and employed 105 workers, many of them women and children who worked at home weaving cane seats.

1870 Piece Workers

The Cane Seat Chair Co. opened in 1870 and employed 105 workers, many of them women and children who worked at home weaving cane seats.
The Jamestown Furniture Board of Trade was organized in 1886. The Board arbitrated conflicts between workers and owners.

1886 Board of Trade

The Jamestown Furniture Board of Trade was organized in 1886. The Board arbitrated conflicts between workers and owners.
In 1904, the Norquist Furniture Co. burned. Owner Andrew Nord died searching for workers. Fire destroyed many of the furniture factories in town.

1904 Fire! Fire!

In 1904, the Norquist Furniture Co. burned. Owner Andrew Nord died searching for workers. Fire destroyed many of the furniture factories in town.
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The Breed Company was the largest manufacturer supporting the growth of the town from 1823-1870. Many furniture men got their start at Breed.

1823 The Breed Company

The Breed Company was the largest manufacturer supporting the growth of the town from 1823-1870. Many furniture men got their start at Breed.
Phineas Palmiter operated the first chair factory in Jamestown. He produced flag

1827 Phineas Palmiter Jr.

Phineas Palmiter operated the first chair factory in Jamestown. He produced flag & wood-seat chairs, using water powered lathes and skilled handcrafting.
R.V. Cunningham took over Palmiter's business and started making cane-seat chairs that he sold downriver to the growing cities.

1838 Cunningham Chairs

R.V. Cunningham took over Palmiter’s business and started making cane-seat chairs that he sold downriver to the growing cities.
August 25, 1860, the first train arrived in Jamestown on the Atlantic

1860 The Iron Horse

August 25, 1860, the first train arrived in Jamestown on the Atlantic & Great Western Railroad. Trains connected Jamestown to the world; a new era of growth began.
By 1870, Swedish immigrants were arriving in large numbers. Many came from provinces in Southern Sweden where woodworking skills were widespread.

1869 Swede Hill

By 1870, Swedish immigrants were arriving in large numbers. Many came from provinces in Southern Sweden where woodworking skills were widespread.
Brothers Addison and Rufus founded Shearman Brothers in 1880, producing upholstered lounges, couches, and sofa beds. By 1919 they were the largest furniture company in town.

1880 High Grade Upholstery

Brothers Addison and Rufus founded Shearman Brothers in 1880, producing upholstered lounges, couches, and sofa beds. By 1919 they were the largest furniture company in town.
By 1900, Jamestown's industries employed 7,000 workers. Jamestown was the second-largest furniture producer in the U.S. Grand Rapids, MI, was the first.

1900 Furniture Capital

By 1900, Jamestown’s industries employed 7,000 workers. Jamestown was the second-largest furniture producer in the U.S. Grand Rapids, MI, was the first.
The Exposition Building opened in 1917. The building had nine floors of showrooms. Buyers traveled from afar to attend the yearly furniture shows in Jamestown.

1917 Furniture Exposition

The Exposition Building opened in 1917. The building had nine floors of showrooms. Buyers traveled from afar to attend the yearly furniture shows in Jamestown.