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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

Drexel Furniture Company

by Wiley J. Williams, 2006Drexel Furniture Company, rebuilt two weeks after 1906 fire. Image courtesy of Burke County Public Library.

The Drexel Furniture Company was incorporated on 10 Nov. 1903 and began making fine furniture in a small factory near Morganton in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. In time, the company acquired other furniture plants, including the Table Rock Furniture Company in 1951 and the Heritage Furniture Company and Morganton Furniture Company in 1956. On 1 Dec. 1960 Drexel Furniture became Drexel Enterprises, Inc., and the following year it acquired the Southern Desk Company, manufacturer of a broad line of institutional furniture and equipment for laboratories, libraries, classrooms, dormitories, and churches.

In 1968 U.S. Plywood-Champion Papers bought Drexel Enterprises. As a subsidiary of Champion, the company became Drexel Heritage Furnishings, Inc. Champion sold Drexel Heritage to Dominick International Corporation, a private New York brokerage and investment banking firm, in August 1977. In 1986 Drexel Heritage became a wholly owned subsidiary of Masco Corporation, which, by buying several other leading North Carolina furniture makers, became by the late 1980s the largest U.S. furniture manufacturer.

Drexel for many years sold home and institutional furniture both domestically and abroad. Many of the best-known hotels in the world purchased Drexel furniture, and contracts with the U.S. State Department and the General Services Administration placed Drexel furniture in American embassies and government offices all over the world. In 2004 Drexel Heritage Furniture Industries, Inc., as part of Furniture Brands International, was based in High Point and had 1,300 employees working at several facilities in North Carolina. It remained one of the nation's leading residential furniture manufacturers, producing a variety of wooden and upholstered furniture under several brand names.

References:

Allen C. Irvine, Sixty Years of Progress in the Making of Fine Furniture: Drexel Enterprises, Inc., 1903-1963 [1963?].

Edward W. Phifer, Burke: The History of a North Carolina County, 1777-1920 (1977).

Additional Resources:

Drexel Heritage Furniture Industries, Inc.: http://www.drexelheritage.com/

Image Credit:

Drexel Furniture Company, rebuilt two weeks after 1906 fire. Image courtesy of Burke County Public Library. Available from http://pictureburke.bcpls.org/places_3.htm (accessed July 3, 2012).

 

Origin - location: 

Comments

Comment: 

I have a Drexel Heritage Furnishings Table Serial No 12763 (blue sticker on bottom) other numbers stamped on bottom 007-336-34 776 CAMEO BY HERITAGE. Where can I learn more about this specific table.

Comment: 

Hi Cheryl,

I suggest taking a look at the NC Museum of History for suggestions. They will not do appraisals, but they do have suggestions. https://www.ncmuseumofhistory.org/collections/appraisal.

Francesca Evans, Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

Your web address for Drexel Heritage does not work for me. Is there a better address?

Comment: 

Dear Marie,

Here is the updated Drexel Furniture website (https://www.drexel-furniture.com/Identity.html). It looks like "Heritage" is no longer in the name.

Francesca Evans, Government & Heritage Library

Comment: 

Hi I am inquiring about an usual Drexel piece of furniture I have found. It is either a secretarial or hatch cabnet. It has symbols on it on the front outside. The front two doors open out with a shelf that come out forward. There are two symbols inside. On each side are two brass candle stick holders. Several slots and camparetments inside. Can you please tell what the symbols mean, the age of this wonderful piece of craftsmanship., and any approximate idea of its value.
Thank you very much m,
Julie Nelson

Comment: 

Hi Julie,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and for taking time to share your question. NCpedia is the online encyclopedia of North Carolina and we do not have product information. You may want to contact Drexel directly at: www.drexelheritage.com. You may also want to contact an antiques dealer in your area.  The North Carolina History Museum may have additional information. 
 
Carla Morris, Government and Heritage Library

Comment: 

I HAVE A DREXEL BEDROOM SET MANUFACTURED APRIL 2002 07325 PREFACE BY DREXEL IN KINGSIZE SET. I WOULD LIKE TO DOWN SIZE MY HEADBOARD TO A QUEEN SIZE. ANY INFORMATION ON WHERE I CAN PURCHASE THAT MODEL SIZE.?

Comment: 

Hello Shirley,

Thanks for contacting the Government and Heritage Library!  You may want to contact the company directly at www.drexelheritage.com.

Good luck in locating an additional piece of furniture.

Best,

Carla Morris, Government and Heritage Library

Comment: 

I have 6piece china cabinet the numbers are 978-920 by Drex 873 can you give me a little history on this item ,. Thanks Don Burris

Comment: 

Dear Donald,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and for taking time to share your question. NCpedia is the online encyclopedia of North Carolina and we do not have product information. You may want to contact Drexel directly at: www.drexelheritage.com. You may also want to contact an antiques dealer in your area. I hope this helps.

Best wishes,

Elizabeth Hayden, Government and Heritage Library

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