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Events

Date Title Category Image
1955

Jewel Tea Desk: A First

Steelcase creates the Jewel Tea Desk in a collaboration with Harper Richards and A. Epstein & Sons for the new Jewel Tea Building. It's the first straight-line, contemporary metal desk to have wood...

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Products
1956

Flight Line Desks for the Office of the Future

Steelcase introduces the Flight Line of desks – square-cornered, contemporary-designed steel desks with one-inch square tubular legs exposed top to base. Flight Line reflects the Space Age zeitgeist...

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Products
1957

U of M Custom Library Furniture Produced

Steelcase produces the Company’s first official library furniture for the University of Michigan. The chair is custom steel-tubing, later evolving into the very popular 1200 Line of office chairs. This...

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Products
12/13/1957

Move to 36th Street

The demand for our office furniture led us to outgrow many of our aging facilities.  Land was purchased on 36th Street in Grand Rapids, MI in the mid 50's. The Shearing Plant is the first building to...

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Company
1958

1300 Line Desks Introduced

Steelcase introduces the 1300 Line of contemporary desks, credenzas, and cabinets. The 1300 Line is the first desk to offer either a stainless steel binding on the top edge or a Textolite self-edged top....

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Products
1958

Steelcase Sponsors Junior Achievement

Steelcase begins a long history of sponsoring the Junior Achievement program in Grand Rapids. Each year, Steelcase advisors "help prepare young people for the real world by showing them how to generate...

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Communities
1959

Vecta Contract Inc. Founded

Vecta Contract Inc. is founded in Grand Prairie, TX under the Tartan name. It is a result of Brunswick Corporation divesting its School Division and Burk-Action Division. Vecta focuses on architectural...

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Industry
03/1959

Electrical Connections in Desks Introduced

Steelcase introduces back panels for desks that include an apparatus board for electrical and telephone connections. Our Swingstallation back panel allows for easy access to the apparatus board.

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Products
04/1959

Growing Home Office Market

The Office at Home is a growing phenomenon and a potential market for Steelcase dealers.  Before the advent of the personal computer and fax machine, the home office was used mostly by heads of household...

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Industry
1960

2200 Line Desks Introduced

The 2200 Line is the industry’s first furniture with flush drawer pulls, tambour-door cabinets, and letter-/ legal-size modular cabinets with guaranteed drawer alignment. It is the only flush-type design...

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Products
09/01/1960

Original Factory Donated to The Salvation Army

Instead of selling the first Metal Office Furniture Co. factory, Steelcase gifts the 156,000 square foot building, assessed at $385,000, to The Salvation Army. The gift of the facility allows The Salvation...

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Communities
1961 - 1966

W.C. Davis Elected President

Wendell C. Davis is elected President of Steelcase Inc. (and appointed as a director). Davis comes from Cribben and Sexton Company in Chicago. While Davis came to Steelcase under a 5-year agreement, he...

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Leadership
1961

DesignTex® Founded

DesignTex® is founded by Harry Paley and Ralph Saltzman in New York City. In 1988, Steelcase will acquire the Company to offer a wider selection of upholstery materials.

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Industry
07/1961

Acrylic Paints Introduced

Steelcase begins to use acrylic paints on products, a first within the industry. A water-based paint, acrylic is more environmentally friendly than the oil-based paints previously used on our lines.

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Sustainability
09/13/1961

Datacase Introduced

At the 50-Year Anniversary Dealer Meeting, “Accent on Excellence,” a complete line of Datacase data processing auxiliaries is announced. This line is designed to accommodate the requirements of customers'...

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Products
1962

50th Anniversary Celebration

As Steelcase celebrates our 50th anniversary (pictured), we are expanding across North America with a new facility in La Mirada, California and an expansion to the plant in Don Mills, Ontario, Canada.

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Company
1963

Steelcase Coordinated Offices Introduced

A national advertising campaign introduces Steelcase Coordinated Offices (SCO). The message: Steelcase can meet all office furniture needs, including color coordination and installation.

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Products
1964

Attwood Corp. Acquired

Steelcase acquires Attwood Corp., a source of quality plating and plastic extrusions for our products. David D. Hunting, Jr., formerly treasurer of Steelcase, is appointed president.

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Company
1964

Steelcase Inc., California Founded

Steelcase Inc., California is officially organized. However, our products have been sold on the West Coast since 1920 by Hunting-Roberts Co. Edgar H. Hunting remains President and E.C. "Curly" Roberts,...

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Company
1966

“Operation Skydrop”

To demonstrate the durability of the 450 Series chair a skydiver is strapped to the chair. At 1,000 feet the skydiver disengages from the chair, which hits the ground at approximately 100 mph. The base...

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Products
1966 - 1988

R.C. Pew Elected President & CEO

Robert C. Pew (II) is elected President of Steelcase Inc.  In 1980, the title changes to "Chief Executive Officer." Pew's history with the company includes: manufacturing expediter (1952); superintendent...

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Leadership
10/03/1966

Broadsides Lateral Files Introduced

The 860 Series Broadsides Lateral Files are introduced. This is an industry first, beating out a competitor who claims to have been the first with lateral files in 1967. Soon Broadsides will be incorporated...

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Products
1968

World’s Largest Manufacturer

Steelcase is designated the world’s largest manufacturer of office furniture.

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Industry
1968

Mobiles Introduced

Steelcase introduces the Mobiles office suite – merging  Multiple 15, Sunshine Styling and Convertibles. Coupled with Movable Walls (panels that efficiently divide space for workers in an open office...

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Products
1969

First NeoCon

The National Exposition of Contract Furnishings (NeoCon) begins at Merchandise Mart in Chicago.

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Industry
1970

Steelcase Canada, Ltd. Expands

Steelcase Canada expands to almost 350,000 square feet of manufacturing space.  The newly expanded Markham facility in Ontario includes offices, showroom, and production facilities. The plant manufactures...

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Company
1971

Gardner Leaver Chair Introduced

The guest chair designed by Gardner Leaver is introduced at the third annual NeoCon. Also designed by Leaver, are matching tea and coffee tables.

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Products
1971

Fabric Cutting Technology Better for the Environment

A new fabric-cutting press is added, eliminating much of the hand-cutting for upholstery fabric.  This new technology helps speed production, offers greater uniformity and less waste.

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Sustainability
05/1971

Word Processing Center Opens

The Steelcase Steno Pool is replaced by the Word Processing Center, an innovative trend in business systems. Electric typewriters are replaced with IBM Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriters, allowing error...

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Company
06/1972

Designs in Wood Introduced

With the purchase of Hardwood Designs in California and plans to build a wood furniture plant in North Carolina, Steelcase prepares to introduce Designs in Wood.

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Company
1973

Series 9000® Introduced

Steelcase introduces Series 9000®, soon to become the world’s leading systems furniture line and garnering multiple awards. With the explosion of the "white collar" worker and computerized offices,...

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Products
06/15/1973 - 11/30/1973

Sears Tower Installation

Steelcase executes the largest single shipment in the industry: 43,565 pieces of furniture in 400 truck loads for 7,000 Sears & Roebuck employees in over 44 floors of Chicago's Sears Tower. The Sears...

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Company
06/19/1974

430 Chair Introduced

The Series 430 office chair, called "The chair that loves people," is introduced at NeoCon. It sets a new standard in office seating design through the use of comfort contouring, driven by the increasing...

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Products
08/05/1974

Steelcase/ Strafor S.A. Joint Venture Formed

Steelcase, in a 50% joint venture agreement with Strafor-Facom (a division of Forges de Strasbourg), forms Steelcase/ Strafor S.A. This new arrangement allows for the manufacture of Steelcase chairs in...

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Company
1975

Paperflo® Introduced

Paperflo®, the industry’s first modular paper-handling system for use with systems furniture, is introduced. A key attribute is keeping work accessible. Timothy, a cartoon tiger, is one of many successful...

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Products
1976

Lighting Evaluation Laboratory Opens

The first Lighting Evaluation Laboratory is established by Steelcase in Grand Rapids to find ways to cut office energy costs.

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Sustainability
1976

Top Companies Standardize on Steelcase

Over 80 percent of the top 100 FORTUNE rated banks, insurance companies and corporations include Steelcase products in their standardization programs.

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Industry
1977

President Ford Speaks at United Way Luncheon

At this momentous occasion, organized by Steelcase's own Frank Merlotti, President Gerald R. Ford is the guest speaker at the annual United Way kickoff luncheon. Our commitment to the United Way annual...

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Communities
1977

Middle East Dealer Organization Established

Steelcase is the first major U.S. office furniture manufacturer to establish an extensive dealer distribution organization in the Middle East, covering Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Jordan.

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Industry
1977

Begin Testing Speech Privacy

The Acoustics Lab opens in Grand Rapids – making Steelcase the first to test speech privacy in simulated open office conditions.

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Industry
1978 - 1989

Opinion Surveys on Office Environments Conducted

Steelcase is first in the industry to commission opinion surveys on office environment issues. From 1978-1989, we commission five surveys to better understand and provide for the needs of the contemporary...

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Industry
1978

First Lou Harris Study Published

“The Steelcase National Study of Office Environments: Do They Work?“ summarizes the results of a first-ever Louis Harris & Associates Inc. study commissioned by Steelcase on the effects of the...

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Industry
1978

Spectrum Logo Introduced

The Steelcase spectrum logo is introduced. The rainbow of letters in clean, modern styling represents elegance and the wide range of colors offered in Steelcase furniture. The motor fleet Steelcase logo...

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Company
06/1978

Acquisition of Vecta®

The Steelcase Grand Prairie, Texas, plant opens when we acquired Vecta Contract Inc. (Vecta®), a manufacturer of architectural furnishings (e.g. lobbies, lounges, conference rooms for universities,...

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Company
1979

Tech Center Opens

The Technical Center opens on the 36th Street complex, part of a two-year expansion plan in Grand Rapids, North Carolina, California and Alabama. Approximately 8,000 people are trained here in the first...

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Company
1980

Pohlschröder Joint Venture Formed in Germany

We begin a joint venture with Pohlschröder GmbH KG in Dortmund, West Germany. Pohlschröder began manufacturing metal safes in 1855, and now focuses primarily on office furniture, while also manufacturing...

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Company
circa 1980

Beginning of the Information Age

The 1980's mark the end of the Industrial Age and the beginning of the Information Age, a shift with major implications for office furniture makers.

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1982

Support Services Offered for Designers

The Steelcase Environmental Support Services (ESS) department is established and software is developed to help position us as The Office Environment Company.  The ESS Survey Analysis collects and analyzes...

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Industry
1983

44th Street Corporate Headquarters Opens

Steelcase's new Corporate Headquarters opens in Grand Rapids and is lauded as "a textbook example of how to organize human resources in the optimum work environment."  Located at 901 44th Street SE, the...

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Company
1983

National Environmental Award

Our engineers pioneer a high solids paint process that earns the Company a National Environmental Industry Award for Excellence in Air Pollution Control, jointly from the President's Council on Environmental...

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Sustainability

1955

Available in the Archives

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

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