From One ‘Factory Man’ To Another

Factory Man
“John D. Bassett III, center, with part of the company team that took on China.” Photo: David Hungate

The New York Times wrote a beautiful article on Factory Man, a new book on the Bassett legacy and the dedication John D. Bassett III has to American made furniture.

Beth Macy wrote a book each one of us in the American furniture manufacturing industry would love to see be written. Especially those in American furniture brands steeped in family tradition like ours. And she did it. Factory Man is a great story of the Bassett Furniture legacy, and one Bassett in particular, John D. Bassett III, who has been determined, like so many of us, to keep furniture made here – in America. The book is called Factory Man, and rightfully so. Mimi Swartz, executive editor at Texas Monthly wrote a great article about it for The New York Times. Excerpts of that article are found below…

It is impossible to read Beth Macy’s “Factory Man” without casting the inevitable movie version to come. Picture an updated “Norma Rae” in which the hero isn’t an oppressed factory worker but a desperate factory owner battling scheming relatives, callous Wall Street bankers and ruthless Chinese competitors — all to save his workers’ jobs and his family’s bricks-and-mortar legacy, a furniture business in a speck of a town in south central Virginia…

The first half of the book is given over to Bassett history in great detail. John D. Bassett Sr. founded the business in 1902, but the family was illustrious long before then. Mr. J.D., as his employees knew him, was a descendant of a Revolutionary War captain to whom King George III had deeded 791 acres of Virginia farmland in 1773. But the imaginative, ambitious Bassett and his equally driven wife — that would be Miss Pokey — set up a small store and inn, and eventually made themselves indispensable in the town that soon carried the family name. Then, in a move that would serve both as the key to their success and as ironic portent, the couple cased a Michigan furniture factory and figured that they could outdo the Grand Rapids craftsmen instead of shipping them all their good Virginia walnut, oak, hickory and more. Bassett workers became experts at copying and mass-producing furniture; even if the product wasn’t especially finely made, it was good enough to satisfy a swelling middle class. Continue reading…


American Made Furniture Today

There’s a few of us still making truly American made furniture. Instead of looking at it as competitors it’s more like counterparts in a great revival of American craftsmanship.

American Made Furniture: Manchester WoodWhen you take a look around our neighborhood it’s easy to find craftspeople. It’s a storied tradition here in the Slate Valley region nestled on the Vermont-New York border. From the mines to the barns, mills, and factories, you’ll find people still making products today. American made furniture is what a few of us still bring to the table of American crafts. From nearby Dorset, Vermont we have Dorset Custom Furniture. In the frozen tundra of up-upstate New York near Syracuse we have Harden Furniture, and in the far rolling hills of Northern Vermont you have Lyndon Furniture. Each of us has a story; and our stories are just a few of the one’s told by the many people who keep the American made furniture legacy alive (more include Gat Creek, Vaughan-Bassett, Canal Dover, Copeland, etc.) Surrounded by fellow craftspeople, we furniture makers find a love and dedication to the crafts of enriching your home with beautifully authentic solid wood furniture.

It’s something you may know we take great pride in at Manchester Wood. After all, American made furniture is in our name. Take a moment, click the above links, check out the artisans to the mass manufacturer and you’ll discover a piece of America is still alive in crafting much like our ancestors did. This was the American made furniture of yesterday, and it’s American made furniture of today too.

Read our story here. Do you have a story to tell around crafting anything in America? Either yourself or family member? Share with us now in the comment section below!


Shoppers look for ‘Made in USA’ via Winston-Salem Journal

Made in USA FurnitureRichard Carver of Winston-Salem Journal reports ‘Made in USA’ furniture resonates with the consumer in a “feel good attribute.”

Our neighbors Telescope Casual Furniture and others were interviewed in recent coverage at High Point Market on Made in USA furniture and what they’ve found the shopper is looking for from them despite foreign opposition.

Here are excerpts from Carver’s recent article:

The Made in the USA campaign in the home furnishings industry was dealt a blow last week when Stanley Furniture Industries Inc. announced plans to close its last domestic plant, cutting 400 jobs in Robbinsville… But exhibitors, buyers and industry officials at the spring High Point Market stressed Tuesday that consumers still want American-made products. The market, which is closed to the public, ends Thursday. Continue reading…