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Original chairs from 1906 still in the Old Faithful Inn today.

Our History

In the early 1800's, as the pioneers crossed the Appalachian Mountains, among the many discoveries they made was the hickory sapling. This small diameter tree grew throughout the Midwest in groups of twenty to thirty, surrounded by much larger trees.

As the saplings struggled towards the sunlight above, they grew straight and tall - yet the diameter did not exceed two to three inches - even after twenty to thirty years of growth. If you're pioneer without furniture, you soon realize that this amazing hardwood sapling made for ideal chair and table frames.

 

You could soak it in boiling water and bend it to make hoops. You could weave it's inner bark to make seats and backs, and you could see new trees sprout from the same stump - over and over again. And so it became material of choice for our ancestor's homes.

In southern Indiana, a newly transplanted North Carolinian, Billy Richardson, began to make hickory chairs and sell them on Saturdays on the town square in Martinsville. Legend has it that he and his father had made the original Andrew Jackson hoop chairs for the President's home, The Hermitage.

Others in the Martinsville area studied Richardson's products and banded together in 1892 in an abandoned church, producing hickory sapling furniture as a full-time business. They chose "Old Hickory" as the company name, the same nickname as the late President Jackson.

When the company incorporated in 1898, a full line of products was available. Shipping across the country to homes and resorts - the company also began furnishing nearly all of the new national park lodges, including the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park. The dining chairs in the main hall are the very same chairs shipped and installed in 1906.

Today's Old Hickory combines designs from the company's history along with more contemporary applications for home. Yet the process of handcrafting each piece remains very much the same. Attention to detail, the careful matching of parts, the difficult assembly with mortise and tenon, and the meticulous hand weaving process, make Old Hickory Furniture's products unique, comfortable, and very durable. After one hundred years, old-fashioned care continues at Old Hickory Furniture Company, the home of America's genuine, original furniture.

 

Old Hickory furniture company the leader in arts and crafts furniture for over a hundred years.

2014 Old Hickory. All rights reserved.
403 S. Noble St. .:. Shelbyville, IN 46176 .:. Tel: 317.392.6740 .:. 800.232.BARK .:. Fax: 317.398.2275