The roots for Kindel began in 1901 when Charles J. Kindel founded the Denver Bedding Company which allowed him to utilize his mattress stuffing machine invented in 1900. In 1904 he sold the company and purchased the Evansville Smith Bedding Company in St. Louis and renamed it the CJ Kindel Bedding Company. Kindel had numerous patents on convertible beds or davenport beds which firmly set his foundation in the furniture business. By 1911, with plants in New York, Toronto and Chicago, he decided to establish a wood working factory in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
By 1926, sons Tom and Chuck Kindel were both involved in the business now known as the Kindel Furniture Company. The mission of the company had turned to historical reproductions. By 1932, Kindel introduced a limited edition reproduction bed from Mount Vernon to commemorate the 200th birthday of George Washington. Through the 1940s the silhouette trademark of George Washington appeared in advertising and other sales materials.
During World War II, Kindel like other manufacturers dealt with shortages in materials and made adjustments to production. The use of metals was restricted so Kindel replaced solid brass pulls with wood, plastic, or steel sprayed with a brass finish. Chuck Kindel also led a group of furniture companies who sought to contribute to the war effort. Kindel Furniture Company produced wood glider plane parts during that period. The October 1947 price list stated, “When skilled craftsmen and materials become readily available, we will be able to substantially increase production.”
In 1952, Kindel began to introduce more cosmopolitan lines of furniture. During the 1950s new collections included: Directoire, French Provincial, Viennese Classical, Italian Provincial and Louis XVI. It was during this time that Kindel acquired a chair factory and introduced dining room furniture. Kindel had moved away from the historical lines of colonial furniture and began focusing on the desire for quality made furniture with a European influence.
Entering the 1960s, the Kindel family era was drawing to a close. The company was purchased by another renowned American business family, the Fisher family of Muncie, Indiana. John W. Fisher has served as the chairman of the Ball Corporation. He was Chairman of the Board at Kindel until his death in 2009. His son, James Fisher, leads Kindel today as Chairman of the Board.
As is true for so many storied, long-standing companies, Kindel navigated economic fluctuations, world wars, social changes, and a variety of lifestyle trends with energy and grace. Kindel has preserved a stalwart commitment to superior craftsmanship, hand-carving, bench-assembly, and hand-finishing that makes Kindel furniture truly distinctive. Kindel acquired licensing agreements with such prestigious institutions as The Winterthur Museum, The Irish Georgian Society, the US National Trust for Historic Preservation, Mount Vernon, and Dorothy Draper, Inc.
In August 2010, Kindel announced a merger with the Taylor Company of Grand Rapids. The Taylor Company is a manufacturer of wooden and veneered components known for advanced techniques in woodworking. The combination of Taylor’s computerized machining methods with Kindel’s high level of craftsmanship set the stage for Grand Rapids furniture production for many years to come.