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Events

Date Title Category Image
03/14/1912 - 01/15/1914

A.W. Hompe Elected President

Two days prior to the official founding of the Metal Office Furniture Co.,  Alexander W. Hompe, president of The Macey Co., is elected president and chairman of the board.  He resigns in 1914, handing...

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Leadership Alexander W. Hompe, 1908
03/16/1912

MOFC Incorporated

The Metal Office Furniture Co. is incorporated after Peter M. Wege moves to Grand Rapids, Michigan.  With the help of 11 investors, Wege's dream of competing in "The Furniture City" amongst wood furniture...

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Company 1912-MOFC-Incorporated
1913

Clestra Hauserman Founded

Clestra Hauserman is founded by E. F. Hauserman in Cleveland, OH. This company is credited with creating the industry's first moveable partitions. Later, in the 1970s, Strafor Facom purchases Clestra Hauserman....

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Industry Clestra Hauserman Logo, c.2000
1914 - 1943

P.M. Wege Elected President

Peter Martin Wege is elected president of Metal Office Furniture Co. (MOFC) in 1914 when MOFC separates from Macey Furniture Company.  He takes the reigns from Alexander W. Hompe and will hold the position...

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Leadership Peter Martin Wege
1914

Bent Steel and Resistance Welding Demonstrated

P.M. Wege demonstrates the combination of bending steel at a right angle and resistance welding in both the Victor wastebasket and a series of file cabinets. The combination enables file cabinet drawers...

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Products 1914-Bent-Steel-and-Resistance-Welding-Demonstrated
1914

Victor Wastebasket Introduced

The introduction of the Victor, a steel wastebasket, is a win-win for all parties. This fireproof product quickly becomes a top seller for Metal Office Furniture Co. Due to the low manufacturing costs...

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Products Victor Ad, 1928
circa 1914

Liberty Bond Boxes Introduced

Metal Office Furniture Co. begins manufacturing Liberty Bond Boxes for Swift & Company to use as a premium.  After the Swift contract expires, we add the bond boxes to our regular production line,...

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Products Liberty Bond Box
1915

First Desk Sale

Our product line offerings in 1915 are safe deposit vault equipment, lockers, strong boxes, steel shelving, and wastebaskets.  However, this doesn't stop Metal Office Furniture Co. from submitting a bid...

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Products NA_022310_052
1917

Servidor Company Founded

The Servidor Company is incorporated. Later, Metal Office Furniture Co. will acquire Servidor and manufacture Servidors for hotel rooms, Receivadors for home deliveries, and Closidors for home closets. ...

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Industry Servidor Ventilation Diagram
1918

U-Channel Invention

Peter M. Wege discovers how to use U-channels to make sheet steel stronger, yet lighter, in weight.  Wege and Metal Office Furniture Company receive a patent for the a manufacturing process using U-channel...

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Products U-Channel Patent Drawing
11/11/1918

End of World War I

Germany signs the armistice, ending World War I on November 11, 1918.

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1919

Forges de Strasbourg Founded

The French company, Forges de Strasbourg, gets its start as a tool and steel structure manufacturer. Later the company creates a division, Strafor, devoted to the production of office furniture. Strafor...

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Industry Forges de Strasbourg Advertisement, c.1920
circa 1920

Commonwealth Top Customer

Metal Office Furniture Co.'s largest customer is the Commonwealth Edison Company of Chicago, which is the first large firm to standardize on our steel desk. Founded three years after Thomas Edison invented...

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Company 1920-Commonwealth-Top-Customer
1921

The Birth of the Brand

Turner Advertising in Chicago promotes the Steelcase® trademark to emphasize the durability of Metal Office Furniture Co. products and adds the tagline, “Found Where Business Succeeds”— an advertising...

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Company Steelcase Business Equipment Logo, 1921
circa 1921

First West Coast Sales Made

In the early 1920's David D. Hunting makes the first sales on the West Coast – file cabinets and a few miscellaneous items to various stationery stores and equipment dealers. In one instance, Hunting...

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Company 1912-First-West-Coast-Sales-Made
1922

Dealer Network Launched

Metal Office Furniture Co. is one of the first companies known to build an official dealer organization. Our first dealer is in St. Louis, Missouri. By 1968 we will have nearly 900 dealers in all 50 states...

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Industry Dealer Meeting in Grand Rapids, 1951
1924

Desk Strength and Durability

The 621 desk is designed to be fireproof and because of our manufacturing process, is able to support up to 6,000 pounds. Steel furniture is gaining acceptance, and this is Metal Office Furniture Co.’s...

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Products 1924-Desk-Strength-And-Durability-edit
1925

Architect-Designed Office Space

Dealer, E. A. Holscher hires an architect to produce more efficient layout at Missouri-Pacific Railroad offices, which reduces space utilized by 25 percent, and other orders follow.

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Industry 1925-Architect-Designed-Office-Space
1926

Plant #2 is Built

The new plant (pictured in the background) is built adjacent to Terrell's Equipment Co. (later called Plant #3), with whom we had formed a partnership.  This second plant provides over 97,000 square feet...

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Company Plant 2 Construction
1927

On Board with Lucky Lindy

Metal Office Furniture Co. makes and installs a custom-built desk aboard the Tri-motor plane that Charles Lindbergh uses for publicity tours around the United States after his transatlantic flight. The...

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Products Lindbergh Plane Interior with Desk
1928

Victor Desk Tray Introduced

The Victor desk tray, a new member to the Steelcase Business Equipment family, is introduced joining the Victor Wastebaskets and the Liberty Bond Boxes. Two sizes are available for purchase and the trays...

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Products Victor Desk Trays
11/26/1928

Entrance into the International Market

The Steelcase trademark makes its first appearance in Argentina, with brochures for 1200 Line file cabinets printed in Spanish. This marks our entry into the international market.

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Company Important Notice
10/29/1929

“Black Tuesday” Stock Market Crash

The Wall Street stock market crashes, leading the world into the Great Depression.

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1930

Acquisition of Doehler Metal Furniture Company

Metal Office Furniture Co. acquires Doehler Metal Furniture Co. This acquisition enables us to remain solvent during the Depression by manufacturing metal household and hospital furniture (our first foray...

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Company 1930-Aquisition-O-fDoehler-Metal-Furniture-Company
1932

“Century of Progress” Desk

The "Century of Progress" desk is designed for the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago. It introduces the island base.

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Products "Century of Progress" Desk
1932

Production of Vegetable Spray Units

As another means of surviving the Depression, Metal Office Furniture Co. produces Vegetable Spray Units under the Terrell name. These units are designed for grocery store displays, helping fruits and vegetables...

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Products Terrell "Dew-Fresh" Vegetable Display Units Ad
circa 1932

Specialty Desk Introduced

The growing office industry creates new demands for worksurfaces.  Metal Office Furniture Co. introduces the Burroughs machine desk, designed specifically to accommodate the Burroughs adding machine....

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Products 1932-SpecialtyDeskIntroduced
1933

Employment Levels Maintained Despite Depression

As Metal Office Furniture Co. sales reach their lowest point during the Depression, employees are divided into part-time groups and wages lowered to 25¢/ hour so that everyone continues to earn an income....

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Communities 1933-Tough-Times-Edit
1934

Suspension File Patent

Metal Office Furniture Co. patents suspension file cabinets and introduces double-wall drawers for added ease and durability.

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Products Strong Arm Artist Ad
12/23/1936

Terrell’s Equipment Stock Purchased

Terrell’s Equipment Co., which was founded in Grand Rapids in 1908, manufactured steel cabinets, lockers and shelving. Metal Office Furniture Co. had obtained a controlling interest in Terrell in 1925,...

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Company 1936-Terrell'sEquipmentStockPurchased-edit
1937

Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Furniture for S.C. Johnson Wax Building

Metal Office Furniture Co. manufactures office furniture for the S.C. Johnson Wax Building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Racine, Wisconsin. As a result of a two-year design and production partnership...

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Products Johnson Wax Desk and Chair
1939

Industry’s First Roll-Edge Desk – 7000 Series

Our 7000 Series desk is one of the industry’s first designed with a rolled edge of linoleum and stainless steel binding strip to protect the linoleum against damage from the impact of chairs. Our 7025...

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Products 1939-Industry'sFirstRollEdgeDesk-edit
1939

Our First Chairs

Metal Office Furniture Co. begins chair production in a section of the Desk Plant (Plant #2). Since 1926, we had been sourcing chairs for customers; this is our first entry into the manufacture of our...

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Products 1939-Our-First-Chairs
1942

Naval Contracts Won

Metal Office Furniture Co. wins a $254,000 contract to make lightweight, sturdy steel furnishings for U.S. Naval cruiser class ships. As a result of the war, all manufacturing of steel furniture for commercial...

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Products Navy Lounge Chair
1943 - 1961

W.D. Idema Elected President & General Manager

Walter D. Idema, one of the original founders, is elected President and General Manager of Metal Office Furniture Co., succeeding Peter M. Wege after his retirement. Idema's previous history with the Company...

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Leadership 1943-W.D.Idema-Elected-President
1944

Retirement Benefits Offered

Metal Office Furniture Co. offers retirement benefits to employees. Only 250 such plans exist in the United States.

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Communities 1944-Retirement-Benefits-Offered
1945

First with Standard and Interchangeable Parts

Metal Office Furniture Co. is the first furniture maker with a complete standardization and interchangeability of parts, allowing for more than 200 different arrangements of desks and tables.

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Products Standardization of Parts
1946

Multiple 15 Desk Introduced

Metal Office Furniture Co. introduces a postwar desk that has been in design since 1942. “Multiple 15” is designed on 15-inch dimensions, allowing for better space planning in open offices. By 1960...

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Products Multiple 15 Ad
04/22/1947

“Honeymoon in New York” Shuts Down the Chair Plant

The Chair Plant (Plant #4) shuts down for 30 minutes to listen to newlyweds Jim and Rose Sarnicola on the “Honeymoon in New York” radio program. Jim is a welder in the Chair Plant and the couple won...

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Company "Romance Halts Production" advertisement
1948

Dealer Office Planning Assistance Pioneered

Hunting-Roberts Co., the California distributor of Steelcase furniture, pioneers office planning, establishing a new area of dealer assistance that is soon followed by the entire industry.

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Industry Hunting-Roberts Co. Logo, c.1956
1950

25 Year Club Organized

The “25 Year Club” is organized in 1950 and 56 employees join, three of whom were hired in 1912, the year we were founded.  This year, nearly one out of every 12 employees becomes a member.

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Company 1950-25-Year-Club-Organized-Retouched
1950

Largest Post-War Order

Mutual Life Insurance of New York places the largest post-war order to date. It includes: 1,650 desks; 3,200 chairs; 120 wardrobes; 3,300 letter trays; 1,700 wastebaskets; 420 tables; 100 bookcases; and...

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Company Mutual Life Insurance of New York
12/27/1951

Steelcase Foundation Formed

A form for a Trust Indenture is submitted for the establishment of a charitable foundation to be known as “The Metal Office Furniture Company Foundation.” Over time, the Company has donated a portion...

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Communities MOFC Foundation Trust Indenture
1952

Convertibles Introduced

Metal Office Furniture Co. introduces Convertibles. These products provide users with more storage space, wider knee-space and greater stability for electric typewriters and calculating machines, while...

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Products 1952-ConvertablesIntroduced-4
1953

Community Chest Record Set

All previous Metal Office Furniture Co. records were smashed when 87% of all employees donated to this year's Community Chest campaign, meeting 100%-plus of the goal.  The Community Chest name may have...

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Communities 1953-Community-Chest-Record-Set
1953

Sunshine Styling Color an Industry First

Metal Office Furniture Co. expands the palette for metal office furniture with Sunshine Styling. The new colors, inspired by David D. Hunting’s trip to Arizona, are Desert Sage, Blond Tan, Mist Green,...

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Products Sunshine Styling
1954

First to Add Typewriter Auxiliary Unit

Metal Office Furniture Co. is the first to replace the standard box drawer for the typewriter with an auxiliary table or shelf. The 41-ATT and 41-TS auxiliary units attach to pedestal desk, and are designed...

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Products Auxiliary Table Introduction Announcement
1954

Steelcase Canada Ltd. Founded

Fred A. Bell founds Steelcase Canada Ltd. in Don Mills, Ontario (a suburb of Toronto), the first operation located outside of the United States. The facility includes 15,000 square feet of showroom and...

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Company Canadian Steelcase Brochure
1954

PolyVision® Corporation Founded

PolyVision® Corporation is founded as Information Display Technology, Inc. in Suwanee, Georgia. The company changes its name to PolyVision Corporation in May 1995. In 2001, Steelcase will acquire PolyVision...

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Industry PolyVision® Corp. Logo, c.2001
12/01/1954

Company Name Change: Steelcase Inc.

The Company name officially becomes Steelcase Inc., differentiating it from competitors who use variations of “metal office furniture” in their names. This change allows us to capitalize on our successful...

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Company Division Ave. Factory with New Steelcase Inc. Name

1955

If you are a Steelcase Employee addition information is available at FactFile. For more information contact archives@steelcase.com.

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