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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.

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Furniture Industry

by Patricia Phillips Marshall, 2006
Additional research by Michael H. Lewis

Part i: Overview; Part ii: Colonial era to the Civil War; Part iii: Industrial age; Part iv: Modern furniture industry; Part v: Companies; Part vi: References and resources

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Part 1: Overview

A person stands assembling a wooden chair in a building.

Furniture has been an important product of North Carolina artisans and manufacturers since the early colonial era. The massive success of the industry in the state led to North Carolina's acquiring the nickname "Furniture Capital of the World" during the 1980s, when the state produced approximately one-half of the furniture sold in the United States. While furniture remained a key segment of North Carolina's economy in the early years of the twenty-first century, with more than 600 furniture manufacturers in the state producing in excess of $6 billion in furniture and furnishings and employing nearly 70,000 people, economic and international trade changes in the 1990s and early 2000s resulted in a significant downsizing of the industry.

References and additional resources






Keep reading - Part ii: Colonial era to the Civil War 


Image Credit

"Lenoir Chair Company, Lenoir, NC (Caldwell County); final assembly and sanding, c.1943, photo by Patrick." Photograph no. ConDev3171B. From North Carolina Conservation and Development Department, Travel and Tourism Division photo files, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC, USA.