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.
The thriving business has annual sales of $20,000 to $25,000. The company employs 30 men.
The brothers create a second business, the Owosso Casket Company. They build a new factory to produce metal, hardwood and cloth-covered caskets.
The three-year-old casket factory burns to the ground. Undeterred, the brothers quickly rebuild.
Lyman buys out his brothers’ shares in Woodard Brothers and the Owosso Casket Company.
Lyman’s three sons and son-in-law join the businesses.
Another devastating fire razes the planing mill and furniture factory, a huge setback for the company.
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.
Woodard Brothers opens a new planing mill and two new factories near the Owosso railway yard, to make shipping convenient.
Founder Lyman Woodard dies. His three sons and son-in-law take over the family businesses.
A cyclone, resulting from a severe cold snap, hits the Woodard factories, causing severe damage.
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
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.
Owosso Casket Company becomes the largest casket-maker in the world.
The Great Depression and the depletion of Michigan hardwood and pine take their toll. The company switches to making metal outdoor furniture.
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.
The Owosso Casket Company and Woodard Furniture Company close.
Woodard and Sons introduces the Orleans collection, its bestselling and longest running design.
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.
After the war, Woodard and Sons resumes production of outdoor metal furniture.
Introducing the iconic Sculptura chair, Woodard becomes the first manufacturer to construct a sculpted chair without using expensive molds.
The company builds the Carolina Forge factory for wrought iron in Salisbury, North Carolina, where labor is plentiful.
Woodard manufactures 100,000 pieces of furniture each year, generating $2.5 million in revenue.
The company introduces the Mayfield collection. First Lady Jackie Kennedy purchases furniture from the collection.
Woodard opens Woodard Crafts, a plant in Maxton, North Carolina, that handles production of extruded aluminum.
The company launches the Arnold Palmer collection, the first contemporary casual furniture design made of wrought iron.
Woodard, now the leading manufacturer of wrought iron casual furniture, introduces the Margarita contemporary collection.
The Sculptura chair is added to the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum’s permanent collection.
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.
Woodard consolidates its manufacturing facilities, closing its two North Carolina plants and a plant in Ontario, California.
Craftmade of Coppell, Texas purchases Woodard and consolidates its offices into its headquarters and reestablishes Woodard’s presence in the Chicago Merchandise Mart.
Woodard adds "Custom Express," offering a two-week production lead time.
In December, 2011, Litex, a Texas-based importer of ceiling fans and lighting fixtures acquired Craftmade and its subsidiary, Woodard.
The renowned Jax Collection receives the Design Excellence Award from the National Furniture Manufacturers Association.