thomas b. stanley, sr.
Thomas B. Stanley, Sr. (b.1890 d.1970) was a bookkeeper, banker, manufacturer, congressman, and governor of Virginia during his prolific 80 years. He founded Stanley Furniture Company in 1924, building a 150,000 square-foot plant in Henry County.
He founded Ferrum Veneer in 1934 and Stanley Land and Lumber Company in 1944. In the 1960s, he purchased Sandhill Furniture Company and four upholstery plants. Over the next four decades as plants, shipping, storage, and office buildings were added, production doubled and redoubled.
Mr. Stanley helped to revolutionize the furniture industry as the first manufacturer to make high-quality furniture at a price the average American family could afford. This was made possible by his pioneering efforts in the area of factory automation such as the process for the Stanley "Waterfall" design, which used air bags to press a curve into the wood, and an embossing process that imprinted the grain of mahogany and other expensive woods onto poplar.
When he started his company, Mr. Stanley founded Stanleytown, VA., and built affordable homes for his employees. During the Depression, he refused to lay off anyone and lowered rents. His employee scholarship program sent promising young people to college regardless of color. Governor Stanley served on the board of directors of the Southern Furniture Manufacturers Association.