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charles f. tomlinson

Charles Fawcett Tomlinson (b.1871 d.1943) was a leading pioneer builder of the furniture industry. Beginning in 1904, at the age of 33, he became secretary-treasurer of Tomlinson Chair Manufacturing Company.

Armed with a degree in philosophy from the University of North Carolina and a law degree, Mr. Tomlinson, early in his business career, began to see the advantages of organizing the industry as a whole. In 1913, he helped organize the Southern Furniture Exposition Building and was elected its first president. He held this office until 1923 and was chairman of the Executive Committee until his death.

As president of the Southern Furniture Manufacturers Association during 1916-1923, an economically trying period, he called a meeting of 400 furniture industry representatives that formed the National Council of Furniture Manufacturers and was elected its first president.

Charles Tomlinson, and his brother, Sidney Halstead, saw their business grow from 25 workmen to over 700 employees occupying over 13 acres of floor space.

In 1916, they began designing matching dining and living room suites. In this innovation, they were among the first to sense the broadening of American tastes. They began working with period furniture in 18th century French, English, and American tradition. Their Williamsburg Gallery was a first to display furniture in room settings ... a method that affected the whole industry. The Tomlinson furniture factory complex is entered in the National Register of Historical Places, now called Market Square.