Leggett & Platt

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Leggett & Platt
Traded as NYSELEG
S&P 500 Component
Industry Residential Bedding and Furniture
Automotive Seating
Industrial Materials
Founded 1883
Headquarters Carthage, Missouri, USA
Key people
David S. Haffner, Board Chair & CEO
Revenue Increase$3.8 billion USD (2013)
Increase$332 million USD (2013)
Increase$98 million USD (2013)
Number of employees
19,000 (2014)
Slogan Enhancing people's lives for over 130 years.
Website leggett.com

Leggett & Platt (L&P), based in Carthage, Missouri, is a diversified manufacturer (and member of the S&P 500 Index) that designs and produces engineered components and products used in homes, offices, automobiles, and airplanes. The firm was founded in 1883, and consists of 18 business units, 19,000 employee-partners, and 130 manufacturing facilities located in 18 countries.[citation needed]

Company segments[edit]

Residential furnishings[edit]

Leggett & Platt's inventive heritage and leadership in the residential furnishings industry spans over 130 years. Today, they are the leading worldwide supplier of a wide range of components (many of which are proprietary) that manufacturers of bedding and upholstered furniture use to make their finished products. Leggett & Platt also produces and distributes carpet cushion for residential and commercial applications. In addition, they are a major distributor of geo components used in ground stabilization, drainage protection, erosion control, and weed control.[1]

Commercial products[edit]

Leggett & Platt is the world's leading independent manufacturer of proprietary chair controls, bases, and other components for work furniture. In addition, they produce select lines of private-label finished furniture. They are also a leading supplier of adjustable beds and fashion bed products, which are sold primarily to bedding retailers and major bedding producers.[2]

Industrial materials[edit]

Leggett & Platt is the leading U.S. producer of drawn steel wire. The company's three wire mills produce virtually all of the wire consumed by their other domestic business, as well as supplying a diverse group of external customers. Much of the steel rod used to produce this wire is manufactured in Leggett & Platt's own rod mill. They also produce and distribute wire products for various industrial applications. In addition, they are a leading producer of welded steel tubing for automotive seating and other industries.[3]

Specialized products[edit]

Leggett & Platt is the world's foremost designer and manufacturer of automotive seating support and lumbar systems, many of which are proprietary. They are also a major supplier of titanium, nickel, and stainless steel tubing to the aerospace industry. Their machinery operations are global leaders in design and production of quilting and sewing equipment for the bedding industry. In addition, Leggett & Platt is a major supplier of service van interiors and computer docking stations used in commercial vehicles.

Leggett Management[edit]

As of December 2014, senior corporate executives included:

  • David S. Haffner, Board Chair & CEO
  • Karl G. Glassman, President & COO
  • Matthew C. Flanigan, EVP & CFO
  • David M. DeSonier, SVP Strategy and Investor Relations

Board of directors[edit]

Director Joined In Position Company
Robert E. Brunner 2009 Retired Executive VP Illinois Tool Works, Inc.
Robert G. Culp III 2013 Chairman Culp, Inc.
R. Ted Enloe, III 1969 Managing General Partner Balquita Partners, Ltd.
Richard T. Fisher 1972 Sr. Managing Director Oppenheimer & Co.
Matthew C. Flanigan 2010 EVP & CFO Leggett & Platt
Karl G. Glassman 2002 President & COO Leggett & Platt
David S. Haffner 1995 Board Chair & CEO Leggett & Platt
Joseph W. McClanathan 2005 Retired President & CEO Energizer Household Products Division of Energizer Holdings
Judy C. Odom 2002 Retired Chairman & CEO Software Spectrum, Inc.
Phoebe A. Wood 2005 Principal CompaniesWood
Montel Fernandez 2014 Retired Managing Director SI Ventures

Company history[edit]

J.P. Leggett
C.B. Platt

In 1883 in Carthage, Missouri, J.P. Leggett developed a new type of bedspring consisting of single cone spring wire coils, formed and interlaced, then mounted on a wood slat base. The bedspring could then be used as a base for the then-popular cotton, feather or horsehair mattresses. Needing expertise in manufacturing and production, he recruited his soon-to-be brother-in-law, C.B. Platt, whose father owned and operated Platt Plow Works, into the partnership. Together, they produced the components of their Leggett & Platt bedspring, which was patented in 1885.

Bedspring vs. Innerspring
At the time of their invention, bedsprings referred to cone-shaped wire coiled springs, attached to a wooden slat foundation, used to support then-popular mattresses. These mattresses were typically made of horse hair, corn husks, cotton, feathers, or another soft material. Early bedsprings functioned similarly to today's box springs in their support of a mattress. However, box springs are rather rigid in structure, while bedsprings provide a more flexible surface.
Innersprings, by contrast, refer to the core system of wire springs that, along with various types of foam and other padding materials, comprise the insides of today's mattress. The mattress is usually coupled with a box spring to create a sleep set. Innersprings can be coiled springs laced together, continuous coil springs, or individually encased springs, that support a person sleeping on the mattress.

The Carthage market for their new product was very limited. To expand the market to a wider region, Mr. Platt and George Leggett, brother of J. P. Leggett, would load a horse-drawn wagon with bedsprings and travel to surrounding communities. Often, to conserve space, they would load the springs and slats separately into the wagon and assemble them in a store or on an adjacent sidewalk. The partnership prospered, and the business was incorporated in 1901.

The Platt Plow Works

The company built its first factory and offices in Carthage in 1895. The workforce at that time consisted of the two partners and five employees. Soon after completion of the Carthage plant, a second factory was built in Louisville, Kentucky. During the next 50 years, three more factories were built. Demand for the company’s improved bedsprings was rising, and a second plant was built in Carthage in 1925. The new, much larger plant was located next to a railroad to allow for expanded shipments of products and supplies. In 1942, an additional factory was built in Winchester, Kentucky, which was subsequently consolidated with the Louisville plant. For some time, Texas had proven to be a main market outlet, and in 1947, a major factory was built in Ennis, Texas. By 1947, Leggett & Platt consisted of 4 plants and 500 employees.

Although available in various models and continuously improved upon, bedsprings were practically the only product Leggett & Platt offered until 1933. However, in that year the company began to manufacture springs for innerspring mattresses, which were relatively new products in the industry and growing in popularity. Thereafter, the company slowly began to diversify its products within the bedding industry by producing rollaway beds and folding metal cots, along with bed frames and bed rails.

Innerspring mattress components

In 1960, Harry M. Cornell Jr., J.P. Leggett’s grandson, was elected President and CEO of the company, taking over for his father (who was Mr. Leggett’s son-in-law). The company’s total sales in 1960 were approximately $7 million from three states – Kentucky, Texas and Missouri. Determining the course and future of the company became management’s primary objective. Following an extensive evaluation of the company and its potential, Mr. Cornell and his management partners concluded that Leggett & Platt’s best opportunities for profitable growth lay in a strategy of specializing in manufacturing, marketing, and distributing a broad and growing line of components and related products, first nationally and eventually on a world-wide basis. Key drivers of future sales and earnings would include aggressive internal growth initiatives, coupled with an active and ongoing acquisition program.

J.P. Leggett's original bedspring and patent

Even greater success followed, and Leggett & Platt became known as “the components people.” Leggett & Platt stock was first traded over the counter in 1967. Twelve years later, on June 25, 1979, top management was present in New York City to witness the stock’s first day listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1985, Leggett & Platt grew into the Fortune 500 list of the largest U.S.-based manufacturing companies. In 1999, the company became part of the S&P 500 Index.

Today, Leggett & Platt's has 130 manufacturing facilities in 18 countries.


  • 1883: Joseph P. Leggett develops and patents the first successful spiral steel coil bedspring, then forms a business partnership with Cornelius B. Platt, a blacksmith who operates the C.D. Platt Plow Works plant in Carthage, Missouri.
  • 1885: Leggett receives a patent for improvements on the coiled bedspring. J.P. Leggett and C.B. Platt begin manufacturing coiled bedsprings at the Platt Plow Works plant.
  • 1895: The first factory and offices are built in Carthage, MO. The workforce consists of the 2 partners and 5 employees. Harry Platt, a brother of C.B. Platt, opens a franchise factory in Louisville, Kentucky.
  • 1901: The partnership of J.P. Leggett and C.B. Platt is incorporated under the name “Leggett & Platt Spring Bed & Manufacturing Company.”
  • 1933: Leggett & Platt begins to manufacture innerspring units at its Carthage plant.
  • 1942: Leggett & Platt survives World War II by working on defense contracts.
  • 1960: Harry M. Cornell, Jr., (grandson of J.P. Leggett) becomes president and CEO; he begins implementing a new corporate strategy to broaden the line of component products for the bedding and furniture industries, expand geographically, and offer compatible products directly to furniture stores.
  • 1967: Leggett & Platt’s IPO (initial public offering) of 50,000 shares of stock (at $10 per share) and $1 million of convertible subordinated debentures, occurs; the stock is listed over the counter.
  • 1971: Leggett & Platt stock is listed on the NASDAQ, and the company achieves more than $1 million in net earnings.
  • 1976: Leggett & Platt exceeds the $100 million sales mark for the first time.
  • 1977: Construction begins on a new corporate headquarters outside Carthage.
  • 1979: Leggett & Platt is listed on the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange), stock symbol "LEG"
  • 1983: Leggett celebrates 100 years of operation.
  • 1985: Leggett is first added to the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. manufacturing companies.
  • 1990: Revenues exceed $1 billion for the first time.
  • 1998: Leggett & Platt becomes part of the Fortune 500 list of largest U.S. companies, across all industries.
  • 1999: Leggett is included in the S&P 500.
  • 2007: New strategic direction announced in November.
  • 2008: Company divests nearly 20% of its revenue base, including its Aluminum Products segment.

Executive Leadership: Past & Present[edit]

Executive Years of Service
J.P. Leggett & C.B. Platt, Partnership 1883–1901
J.P. Leggett 1901–1921
C.B. Platt 1921–1929
J.P. Leggett, Jr. 1929–1933
F.B. Williams 1933–1938
George S. Beimdiek, Sr. 1938–1953
Harry M. Cornell, Sr. 1953–1960
Harry M. Cornell, Jr. 1960–1999
Felix E. Wright 1999–2006
David S. Haffner 2006–Present

LEG Stock[edit]

  • 1967 - Leggett & Platt IPO of 50,000 shares of stock at a price of $10 per share; the stock is traded over the counter
  • 1971 - Leggett's stock is listed on the NASDAQ
  • 1979 - Leggett is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, trading under symbol "LEG"

History of Stock Splits:

  • May 13, 1969: 5-for-3
  • Jan. 15, 1973: 3-for-2
  • Sept. 29, 1978: 3-for-2
  • Aug. 26, 1983: 2-for-1
  • Mar. 14, 1986: 3-for-2
  • Jun. 15, 1992: 2-for-1
  • Sept. 15, 1995: 2-for-1
  • Jun. 15, 1998: 2-for-1


External links[edit]