Wolverine Chair and Furniture Company

Wolverine Chair & Furniture Company

Wolverine Chair & Furniture Company (left) where the first commercial use of hydroelectric power in the world began. In the distance (left center) is Powers & Walker Burial Case & Casket Company factory and showroom. The furthest structure seen is Star Mills purchased by Voigt & Herpolsheimer in 1882.

The Wolverine Chair and Furniture Company, located on Water (Front) street, near the west end of Pearl street bridge, was organized March 10, 1880. At the present time (1881) this company are engaged wholly in the manufacture of fine cane seat chairs and frames for upholstering. The company has just entered upon the second year of its existence, having been organized in March, 1880, as a stock company. Their facilities for manufacturing are excellent, being located in a large and commodious building, 50 x 150 feet on the ground, and three stories and basement high, propelled by water power, equipped with a complete outfit of new machinery of the most approved kind, and employing none but skilled workmen.

They are manufacturing a supply of goods in their line, which find ready sale in all parts of the country. The officers of the company are: William Henry Powers, President; Gen. Byron Root Pierce, Vice President; Dr. Charles W. Prindle, Secretary, and Joseph Hunt Walker, Treasurer. Board of Directors: William H. Powers, Byron R. Pierce, Dr. Charles W. Prindle, Joseph H. Walker, Amasa B. Watson, William Thompson Powers and Daniel Heath Powers. The company will soon increase its capital stock as their rapidly growing business now demands it. This is destined to be one of the largest manufacturing concerns in the city of Grand Rapids. It commenced business on the proper basis, by commencing small and building up legitimately as its increasing men, who have the entire confidence of the community, they must surely succeed in making the business all they desire.

© 1881, History of Kent County, Chapman’s, Furniture, page 915

W. H. & E. K. Powers Door, Sash, Blind ©1874 Dillenback & Leavitt, Daily Eagle Steam Printing House.

W. H. & E. K. Powers Door, Sash, Blind ©1874 Dillenback & Leavitt, Daily Eagle Steam Printing House.

The building was built in the 1870s and for the firm W. H. & E. K. Powers manufacturers of Door, Sash, Blinds, Window and Door Frames, Moldings, Flooring and Beveled Siding. William Henry Powers and his uncle Ebenezer Kendall Powers (former confectioner and baker) went into the lumber business at the northeast corner of Pearl and Water (Front) Streets. The lumberyard and office building was west across Water (Front) Street where the Grand Rapids Brush Company building will be constructed in the 1880s.

They also manufactured Bristol’s patented Water (Hydraulic) Elevator. I would love to know more about this. Could this have to do with the Otis hydraulic tower tests in Bristol, Connecticut in 1872?

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