david wolcott kendall
David Kendall (b.1851 d. 1910), the Dean of American Furniture Designers, had both a direct and indirect impact on the history of American furniture in design, manufacturability, and marketability. He initiated the education of young, much needed professionals for the industry. Kendall also had a role in manufacturing and in the establishment of Phoenix Furniture Co. in Grand Rapids.
His McKinley chair is said to be the genesis of modern Arts and Crafts Furniture. He is also credited with inventing the Morris chair and for developing the first revolving and reclining office chair.
Kendall became the most widely-copied designer in the United States for 25 years. His development of wood stains and finishes was prompted in part by the scarcity of walnut. They included Antique Oak, Sixteenth Century Early English, Cremona Malachite, and Jacobean finishes. His creations became industry standards.
Grand Rapids' Kendall College of Art and Design, founded in his honor, was established in 1928. The college continues to answer the continuing need for industry design professionals. Over 90% of the members of the American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD) are Kendall College graduates.
David Kendall established his credentials as "The Dean of American Designers" a century ago. His research, inventions, manufacturing, and marketing skills directly contributed to the development, growth, strength, and economic health of the American furniture industry.