Ford and Johnson Chair Company
The Ford & Johnson Company was founded by John Sherlock Ford and Henry W. Johnson in Columbus, Ohio in 1867 as a chair manufacturing company. In 1868 the company relocated their factory to Michigan City, Indiana. In 1872 the company moved their headquarters to Chicago where they opened a showroom at 302 Wabash Avenue. They became known as J. S. Ford, Johnson & Company.
Ford Johnson established themselves as a high quality manufacturer of Mission Style furniture that was sold across the United States. Ford Johnson was best known for their chairs and settees. They created their own unique designs as well as creating generic versions of admired designs of Gustav Stickley and others.
In July 1908 The Ford & Johnson Company was to receive a $100,000 contract to provide furniture for the United States Senate office building in Washington DC. Ford Johnson had designed chairs, desks, tables and a luxurious 10 foot wide settee to be built from solid mahogany for each Senator's office. However, the contract was awarded to GW Cobb/S. Karpen Brothers at the last minute due to an unusual guarantee and lower bid. S. Karpen Brothers bid just under $62,000 for 2,100 pieces of furniture and provided a guarantee bond which essentially stated that if the US government deemed the quality of the furniture was not equal to the samples provided they could have it made by another company at S. Karpen Brothers expense.
By this time, (1908), Ford Johnson had become one of the top furniture manufacturers in the United States with factories, warehouses and showrooms in Chicago, New York City, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Arkansas, and Connecticut. Their chairs were quite popular and sold well in furniture stores from Miami to Seattle. However, a steady 40 year rise lead to rapid five year fall. The company declared bankruptcy in 1913 and was sold to the Midland Chair & Seating Company. Within three years, (1916), the company and manufacturing facilities were sold off to S. Karpen Brothers for $88,549.
- Big Contract For Ford & Johnson Co. Frankfort Weekly News - July 11, 1908