A Look at Our Past
In the 1800's as pioneers traveled West across America, they discovered the useful and remarkable hickory tree. 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. The hardwood saplings were used for many different things (e.g. wagon wheel spokes, tool handles and furniture). The hickory saplings could be bent to fit the contours of the body, so the furniture was incredibly comfortable and strong. The inner bark strips could be woven together in a herringbone pattern to make soft yet durable chair seats and backs.
In the 1890s Billy Richardson started selling hickory chairs and rockers on Saturdays on the town square in Martinsville, Indiana. Legend has it that Richardson and his father had made hickory chairs and rockers for the President Andrew Jackson's home, The Hermitage many years earlier.
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 the name "Old Hickory" for the new company, the same nickname as the late President Jackson. When the company incorporated in 1899, a full line of products was available for shipping across the country to homes and resorts. Old Hickory furniture became so poplar that it was going to the new National Park Lodges in the West as well as Great Camps and resorts in the Adirondack Park. The most famous installation was the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park. The original dining chairs that were shipped in 1904 are still in use today over 110 years later.
Today 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 assembly with mortise and tenon, and the meticulous hand weaving process, make Old Hickory Furniture's products unique, stylish, comfortable, and extremely durable. After one hundred years, old-fashioned care continues at Old Hickory Furniture Company, the home of America's genuine, original furniture.