Brand History

image: company logos from 1920 to today.

For over a century, Gunlocke has manufactured great furniture for large and small companies, government agencies and even U.S. Presidents.



The Beginning

Image: Earliest existing photograph of factory exterior.

1902: William H. Gunlocke and four other wood furniture experts acquire a vacant factory in Wayland, New York. They establish the W. H. Gunlocke Chair Company, which initially specializes in seating for homes, libraries and lounges.


Early Growth

Image: Photo of the factory floor.

1911: The rapidly growing company expands its range of products to include office seating.

1912: Gunlocke introduced steambending in the company’s manufacturing process.


First National Contract

Image: A sell sheet featuring some of the latest Gunlocke Products..

1920:  Gunlocke was awarded its first National Contract with Western Electric. Due to this contract, demand for Gunlocke’s office seating was so strong that the company discontinues its household furniture to concentrate on manufacturing for the corporate market.


Despite the Depression

Image: 1930s advertisement featuring "Distinctly Modern Office Furniture."

Despite the Depression, Gunlocke continues to grow. President Franklin D. Roosevelt enhances the company’s prestige by choosing Gunlocke furniture for the White House.

1937: Following the death of his father, Howard Gunlocke became president and established the use of direct sales people and showrooms. Howard also used the first traveling showroom, which he had set up in the back of a trailer truck.  


Manufacturing Advances

Image: photo of Bank of England chairs in production.

During the war years, most of Gunlocke’s output is for government and military facilities.

Assembly-line manufacturing techniques are implemented to produce high quality seating in unprecedented quantities.


First Showroom

Image: 1950s chair sales truck.

In the booming postwar period, Gunlocke establishes a factory showroom for the southwest states in Dallas, Texas.   


JFK Chair.jpg

Image: JFK in the Oval Office, seating on the Washington, "The President's Chair."

1960: Gunlocke invested in a Whittier, California operation to serve nine western states.

1962: President John F. Kennedy makes crucial Cuban Missile Crisis decisions – from his Gunlocke chair in the Oval Office.

1969: The Gunlocke family sold the company to Sperry and Hutchinson (S&H) Company. Under S&H, the W.H. Gunlocke Chair Company was renamed The Gunlocke Company


Wayland Expansion

Image: Newspaper clipping of the Case plant construction.

Gunlocke expands its Wayland, NY headquarters to 665,000 square feet and begins manufacturing casegoods.

Many families in the Wayland area have now worked for Gunlocke for two or three generations.  


Technology Advances

Image: A sell sheet featuring awarding winning guest seating.

Gunlocke’s award-winning Courthouse Chair combines technologically advanced manufacturing methods with exacting craftsmanship.

1981: Gunlocke returned to private management with the purchase of the company by its four top executives:

  • Kenneth M. Book,
  • Clarence L. Burkey,
    vice president of finance;
  • Don G. Keith,
    vice president of marketing;
  • Robert D. Wilcox,
    vice president of sales.

1989: Muscatine, Iowa-based HON Industries [later known as HNI Corporation] acquires Gunlocke.  


ClearTech® Technology

Image: ClearTech repelling water.

State-of-the-art machinery applies Gunlocke’s exceptionally durable ClearTech finish to all worksurfaces.

With the latest high-tech equipment and more than 800 skilled employees – known within the company as members – Gunlocke continues to produce superior wood furniture at competitive prices.


Centenial Anniversary

Image: Company photo of massed members forming the numbers in “100” representing 100 years of Gunlocke.

2002: Gunlocke celebrates its 100th anniversary. More recent highlights include the 2006 introduction of Menu, the casegoods collection that provides meaningful choices in size, layout, aesthetics and price. Watch for the launch of other innovative Gunlocke product lines in the near future.