Our History

 

1860's

 
 

1866-67

Lyman E. Woodward purchases a lumber-planing mill in the boomtown of Owosso, Michigan. He and his three brothers create Woodard Brothers, a company that manufactures wood furniture, window and door sashes, blinds and pine-box caskets.

1880's

 
 

1880

The thriving business has annual sales of $20,000 to $25,000. The company employs 30 men.
1885 Owosso Labor Day parade - Owosso Casket Company
 
 

1882-1885

The brothers create a second business, the Owosso Casket Company. They build a new factory to produce metal, hardwood and cloth-covered caskets.
 
 

1888

The three-year-old casket factory burns to the ground. Undeterred, the brothers quickly rebuild.

1890's

Owosso Casket Factory Ephemera
 
 

1890

Lyman buys out his brothers’ shares in Woodard Brothers and the Owosso Casket Company.
 
 

1890-1900

Lyman’s three sons and son-in-law join the businesses.
 
 

1898

Another devastating fire razes the planing mill and furniture factory, a huge setback for the company.

1900's

McKinley Lying in State in Buffalo City Hall. September 15, 1901
 
 

1901

The Owosso Casket Company incorporates. Two U. S. presidents, William McKinley and Benjamin Harrison, are buried in Owosso caskets.
Photographer: Undetermined. Source: Buffalo Times, September 22, 1901.
 
 

1902

Woodard Brothers opens a new planing mill and two new factories near the Owosso railway yard, to make shipping convenient.
Lyman Woodard - Owosso Casket Company
 
 

1904

Founder Lyman Woodard dies. His three sons and son-in-law take over the family businesses.

1910's

Damage to Woodard Furniture Factory from 1911 tornado
 
 

1911

A cyclone, resulting from a severe cold snap, hits the Woodard factories, causing severe damage.
Fred B Woodard and Lee L. Woodard
 
 

1912

The Woodard’s repair damage from the storm and make additions to the factory, which now covers two city blocks.
Fred Woodard and Lee L. Woodard
 
 

1918–1919

The Spanish Flu spreads around the world. Approximately 675,000 Americans die from the pandemic and the Owosso Casket Company produces 150 caskets a day to meet the demand.

1920's

 
 

1920

Owosso Casket Company becomes the largest casket-maker in the world.

1930's

Woodard Wrought Iron Chair #1
 
 

1934

The Great Depression and the depletion of Michigan hardwood and pine take their toll. The company switches to making metal outdoor furniture.
Lee L. Woodard and sons
 
 

1938

The second and third generations of the family, Lee Woodard and his sons, start Woodard and Sons, a company that produces metal furniture using proprietary designs Lee creates. As a designer Lee drew national recognition for his work and he pioneered the idea of using wrought iron in outdoor furniture. It was Lee and Sadie’s three sons, Joseph, Russell and Lyman II, who were responsible for making their furniture lines nationally and then internationally known.

1940's

 
 

1938–1942

The Owosso Casket Company and Woodard Furniture Company close.
Orleans Collection by Woodard Furniture
 
 

1940

Woodard and Sons introduces the Orleans collection, its bestselling and longest running design.
Lee L. Woodard during WWII
 
 

1942

The country enters WWII. Woodard and Sons converts their factory to a facility that manufactures component parts for trucks, tanks, and naval and aircraft equipment.
1944-45 Woodard Furniture Arbor Collection
 
 

1946

After the war, Woodard and Sons resumes production of outdoor metal furniture.

1950's

1956 Woodard Sculptura
 
 

1956

Introducing the iconic Sculptura chair, Woodard becomes the first manufacturer to construct a sculpted chair without using expensive molds.
 
 

1959

The company builds the Carolina Forge factory for wrought iron in Salisbury, North Carolina, where labor is plentiful.

1960's

 
 

1960

Woodard manufactures 100,000 pieces of furniture each year, generating $2.5 million in revenue.
Woodard Furniture Mayfield Collection ad - 1962
 
 

1962

The company introduces the Mayfield collection. First Lady Jackie Kennedy purchases furniture from the collection.
 
 

1967

Woodard opens Woodard Crafts, a plant in Maxton, North Carolina, that handles production of extruded aluminum.

1970's

Woodard Furniture - Arnold Palmer Collection - 1978
 
 

1978

The company launches the Arnold Palmer collection, the first contemporary casual furniture design made of wrought iron.

1980's

Woodard Furniture Margarita Collection by Designer Herbert Saiger
 
 

1980

Woodard, now the leading manufacturer of wrought iron casual furniture, introduces the Margarita contemporary collection.

1990's

 
 

1994

The Sculptura chair is added to the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s permanent collection.
 
 

1995

The company’s owners build an updated factory and offices covering 7.5 acres in Owosso. The new facility produces 3,000 pieces of furniture a week—175,000 pieces a year.

2000's

 
 

2001-2005

Woodard consolidates its manufacturing facilities, closing its two North Carolina plants and a plant in Ontario, California.
 
 

2008

Craftmade of Coppell, Texas purchases Woodard and consolidates its offices into its headquarters and reestablishes Woodard’s presence in the Chicago Merchandise Mart.
 
 

2009

Woodard adds "Custom Express," offering a two-week production lead time.

2010's

Litex Industries building - owner of Woodard Furniture
 
 

2011

In December, 2011, Litex, a Texas-based importer of ceiling fans and lighting fixtures acquired Craftmade and its subsidiary, Woodard.
Woodard Furniture Jax Collection
 
 

2011

The renowned Jax Collection receives the Design Excellence Award from the National Furniture Manufacturers Association.
Saddleback Collection - Whitecraft by Woodard
 
 

2013

Woodard acquires woven outdoor furniture specialist, Whitecaft.
2015 Sculptura
 
 

2015

In response to the resurgence of mid-century modern furnishings, Woodard revives the iconic Sculptura collection, available in 30 colors and finishes.
Woodard Furniture 150th Anniversary Celebration
 
 

2016

Woodard hosts a yearlong celebration of its 150th anniversary.

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