A Salute to Woodard
Owned and operated out of Owosso, Michigan, Woodard Furniture has remained one of the most respected names in outdoor furniture manufacturing for a century and a half. Decade after decade, they’ve managed to outlast the trends and helped shape the direction of their industry.
2016 marks the company’s 150th anniversary, and as a salute to the brand, this post explores Woodard’s journey from a small family-owned business to a leading force in the casual furniture market.
Masters of Their Craft
Pictured above: The Jax Collection, winner of National Furniture Manufacturers Association’s Design Excellence Award.
Aside from their ability to balance a consumer-friendly price point with a luxurious outdoor experience, Woodard is perhaps most renowned for their design expertise with high-performing materials.
With a history of first-rate wrought iron furniture construction that dates back to the 1930s, it’s hardly surprising that Woodard previously billed themselves as “the style authority in wrought iron.” To this day, they continue to produce top-quality wrought iron lines such as the award-winning Jax furniture and the popular Briarwood Collection. However, their catalogue has grown to include an ever-increasing number aluminum and wicker collections. Below, we’ll delve into these changes and other Woodard highlights.
A Woodard Timeline
Pictured above: A revamped take on the classic Sculptura style.
Woodard has continued to grow and evolve on a corporate level through the decades, and their ingenuity as designers and craftsmen has simply never slowed down. In this timeline, we’ve spotlighted some of the manufacturer’s creative high points from the last 150 years.
WOODARD THROUGH THE YEARS:
- 1866: Lyman Woodard purchases a lumber mill in Owosso and founds the company with his three brothers.
- 1934: Owing to low availability of local lumber, Woodard develops their first wrought iron chair.
- 1956: Woodard introduces the Sculptura Chair, a classic example of mid-century Modern design. The chair is now part of Smithsonian Design Museum’s permanent collection.
- 1980s: Woodard moves into the aluminum market. Today, signature Cast Aluminum offerings remain integral to their catalogue.
- 1990s: Woven collections enter the picture. Innovative new manufactured wicker lines continued to be introduced each year.
- 2011: The Jax Collection receives the Design Excellence Award from the National Furniture Manufacturers Association
- 2016: 150th Anniversary. A mix of modern, traditional and casual collections are added.
2017 and Beyond
For many companies, a 150th anniversary might present an opportunity to pause and reflect on past achievements. Woodard, on the other hand, is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, they’ve just shared a wide range of new 2017 offerings, and one of their latest collections in particular features a bold, forward-thinking design that caught our eye. The Uptown Collection, pictured above, sports a contemporary, city-inspired frame style with industrial accents, plus boxy full cushions to keep you enveloped in comfort. With more designs like Uptown and the upgraded Sculptura Collection sure to come, the future is looking bright for Woodard.