1 The History of Seating America Presented in partnership with the Grand Rapids Public Museum
2 2011 Welcome, and thank you for taking a moment to experience a virtual tour of American Seating s 125 year history. As part of our anniversary celebration, we ve created this informative exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, right here in our home town. The display features American Seating s versatile history in markets where our products have made a significant impact on the everyday lives of people; from all manners of portable seating, through opulent theater environments, to our foundation and evolution in educational venues. We also highlight our legacy in famous sports stadiums and ball parks, and of course, our dominance in transportation seating. Our company timeline is rich with history. Our past includes master wood carvers who filled places of worship with their artistry, to manufacturing and supplying vital materials for our soldiers in WWII. It was our seat that Rosa Parks refused to relinquish. Our innovations and solutions, such as our benchmark mobility-aid securement systems, have set industry standards. But American Seating is not only rich with history, we re filled with excitement about our future as we begin our next 125 years with numerous projects, including the renovation of the Superdome. We invite you to explore our heritage, The History of Seating America. When you ve finished, we hope that you ll join us for a visit at our Grand Rapids headquarters.
3 If you ve ever ridden in a bus, sat in a desk, enjoyed a performance or been to a ballpark, chances are you ve sat in a seat made by American Seating. Chances are, your parents, grandparents and maybe great-grandparents have too. The American Seating story begins in 1886 and weaves through the Gilded Age and the Great Depression, through world wars and the civil rights movement, through urbanism, industrialism, environmentalism, and everything in between.
4 And no matter what era we ve lived through or area we ve been to, our focus has been to make seating for everyday people, for just about every public setting imaginable: schools, colleges, offices, courtrooms, convention centers, ballparks, stadiums, arenas, theaters, churches, buses and trains. Our products are made in America by members of UAW Local 135. Welcome to our walk through history: the first 125 years!
5 American Seating began manufacturing folding, portable seating for churches and other multi-use spaces more than 100 years ago. During World War II, we produced 5 million chairs for the U.S. Military. Over the years, both wood and steel folding chairs made by American Seating have sat millions at venues across the country.
7 Acton Stack Chair Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort Atlantic City, New Jersey 1990 In 1974, American Seating, with the help of renowned designer Hugh Acton, created the Acton Stack Chair. This stacking chair was developed to provide comfortable, ergonomic, stylish seating that could be stacked and stored quickly and easily. The unique Z-shape design is the core of its versatility and durability. The Acton expanded into an entire line of seating options, broadening its appeal and use. It now has stack, caster-base, stool, tablet-arm and beam-mounted applications.
8 Steel Folding Chair with Wood Seat No s The new and improved Folding Fifties line of folding chairs presented a trio of strong, handy chairs for cafeterias, gymnasiums, auditoriums, assembly halls, waiting rooms, libraries, dormitories, offices and many other spaces. Designed for even greater comfort than their predecessors, the famous Forties, the new line of chairs had wider, deeper, shaped seats and wider, deeper formed back panels. They were light and easy to carry. No sliding or binding parts meant no snagging, pinching or soiling hazards. Envoy Chair Model The design and development of the Envoy chair resulted from in-depth ergonomics research. The classroom chair was created for relaxed student posture, attained by the formed seats, deep-curved backs and selfadjusting lower rails that fit each student for near perfect posture and comfort.
9 Classmate Plywood Chair 1950 s Additional seating options were created to accommodate various applications in the Education Market. This birch plywood chair had a deep, curved back that would pivot to adjust for changes in position. Bodi-Rest No s American Seating designed the Bodi -Rest as a lightweight stacking chair for a variety of classroom uses. One of the first stacking chairs created, the Bodi-Rest was developed with a new process of blow molding that captured a cushion of air inside of tough, resilient plastic.
10 Folding Chair Model No s Built mostly for churches, American Seating began manufacturing folding, portable seating to give customers affordable, storable choices for multiuse spaces. The wood folding chair was furnished as a single or connected in rows. The low-cost chair came with a slat seat or perforated veneer.
11 Acton, 2009 Chair Padded Folding Chair - Circa 1933 Envoy Chair, small child - circa 1946 WWII Folding Wood Chair - circa 1941
12 American Seating provides performing arts seating solutions worthy of a standing ovation. Products have ranged from ornate in the Gilded Age to sleek sophistication in modern times. In opera houses and concert halls, in movie theaters and community theaters, American Seating has been bringing the house down in comfort and style for more than a century.
13 McPherson Opera House McPherson, Kansas 2010
14 Top: Circa 1890 Before talking pictures, theater was filled with live performance, song and dance. This end was one of the original frilly wrought iron ends from the era. Top: Circa 1920 This custom standard was designed for the fabulous Fox Theaters, one of which still operates today in Atlanta. Center: Circa 1910 An evolution of the version shown above, this end was one of the first to be designed with a more bold appearance, still emphasizing wrought iron construction. Center: Circa 1928 This standard is known as the Saenger end and was designed as specified for the Saenger Family Theater Chain, located in the Southeastern U.S. and headquartered in New Orleans. Bottom: Circa 1933 This end was salvaged from the famous Apollo Theatre in Harlem, New York. RKO was a joint venture between Keith Orpheum and the RCA radio company, later owned by Howard Hughes. The Apollo first opened in 1913 as a burlesque theater, but later served as both a live performance as well as a movie palace. Center: Circa 1927 An update to the original floral design for ends, this version was created for the Norwood Theater in Massachusetts. Many independent houses throughout America also selected this design.
15 City Opera House Traverse City, Michigan 2006 Opening its doors in 1891, this northern Michigan opera house is the oldest of three historically intact Victorian-era opera houses in the state. The elegant 700-seat, state-of-the art historic venue has hosted everything from plays, concerts and operettas to gala balls, social functions, community festivals and celebrations. The Grand Old Lady, as she is lovingly known, has served as a community gathering space for more than a century.
16 Eisenhower Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Washington, D.C The Eisenhower Theater, on the north side of the Kennedy Center, seats about 1,163 and is named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who signed into law the National Cultural Center Act in This beautiful venue hosts plays, musicals, smaller-scale operas, ballet and contemporary dance performances. Opened in 1971, the theater was renovated in 2008.
17 McPherson Opera House McPherson, Kansas 2010 Built in 1888 and the first of its kind with electricity, the McPherson Opera House had no equal between Kansas City and Denver. On opening night, all 900 seats were sold, and the opera house quickly established itself as the region s cultural center. It was saved from destruction in 1986 by the McPherson Opera House Company. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, it is considered one of the best examples of opera house architecture in Kansas. The fully restored facility reopened in 2010.
18 Landmark Theater Richmond, Virginia 1927 Located west of downtown Richmond, the Landmark is nestled in the Virginia Commonwealth University campus where it hosts Broadway productions, concerts, comedians, lectures and school commencements. This beautiful 3,600- seat theater opened in Refurbished in the mid-1990s, it is still in use today.
19 Armstrong Auditorium Edmond, Oklahoma 2010 Modeled after the Ambassador Auditorium, and located on the Herbert W. Armstrong College campus, the brand-new 823-seat Armstrong Auditorium opened in 2010 to much fanfare. Some of the hall s treasures are from the original Ambassador Auditorium, including a Steinway concert grand piano and two Baccarat crystal candelabra. Other amenities include Swarovskitrimmed chandeliers from Austria, Persian onyx, marble from Spain and the finest-quality custom seats made by American Seating.
20 Radio City Music Hall New York, New York 1999 Despite the stock market crash of 1929, John D. Rockefeller made a $91 million investment in Midtown Manhattan that would leave a lasting impact on New York City s architectural and cultural landscape. He built Rockefeller Center, a complex of buildings that express the highest ideals of design and stand as symbols of optimism and hope. Radio City Music Hall was one of the center s first and most important buildings. Since opening in 1932, more than 300 million visitors from around the world have sat in its nearly 6,000 seats. In 1999, Radio City underwent its most extensive restoration project since its opening, returning to the ambiance of the 1930s while integrating today s technology.
21 Lobero Theater Santa Barbara, California 2002 The Lobero is California s oldest, continuously operating theater. Originally founded in 1873 and rebuilt in 1924, it is recognized as one of Santa Barbara s architectural jewels and is a state landmark. On August 4, 1924, today s Lobero opened its doors with a gala production of Beggar on Horseback. Santa Barbara celebrated the opening with the inaugural Fiesta, the predecessor of today s Fiesta and Old Spanish Days.
22 Paramount Theater Oakland, California 1973 In 1925, Paramount-Publix, one of the great studio-theater chains that dominated the industry, began a construction program resulting in some of the finest theaters produced in that era. It was one of only three theaters built by the Publix chain on the West Coast. It was not only the last Publix house but was also the last very large moving-picture theater built on the West Coast and is now the largest of the type still in existence.
23 Capitol Theatre New York, New York 1919 The Capitol Theatre movie palace was on Broadway just north of Times Square. Designed by Thomas W. Lamb, the Capitol seated 4,000 and opened October 24, It was one of the first of the large lavish movie theaters that dominated the film business for the next 40 years. The theater was acquired in 1924 by the entertainment magnate Marcus Loew and became the flagship of his deluxe Loew s Theatres chain.
24 Tabor Hall Opera Chair,1889 Wood on Cast Iron early desk (7M) Kiel Opera House Chair replica Bodiform Chair - circa 1953 Eisenhower Theater Chair, Kennedy Center 2008 Stellar Chair with TA
25 American Seating has a long history of putting students and educators at ease with seating solutions that support the body and stimulate the mind. Founded in 1886 as the Grand Rapids School Furniture Company, we ve made seats, desks and other educational products for one-room schoolhouses and university learning environments and everything in between.
26 McPherson Opera House McPherson, Kansas 2010
27 Universal School Furniture 1957 This photo is taken from an American Seating ad that described the product s physical beauty as well as postural advantages and structural features. The tag line read, If your school furniture were on display every day like this you d buy American Seating furniture every time! McPherson Opera House McPherson, Kansas 2010
28 American Envoy 1941 The American Envoy was a popular, lightweight but strong desk of the 1940s. The Envoy s deep-curved back rails improved posture and comfort in the classrooms of that time. It was available in three heights, 17 inches, 15 inches and 13 inches, to accommodate various student sizes. McPherson Opera House McPherson, Kansas 2010
29 Focus Acton Swing-Away Baylor College of Medicine Houston, Texas 2008 Originally built in 1978, the Michael E. DeBakey Center for Biomedical Education and Research is named after a world-renowned heart surgeon and one of the school s past presidents. Two of the college s busiest auditoriums for medical education were renovated in 2008 and 2009 with American Seating s fixed lecture room product. McPherson Opera House McPherson, Kansas 2010
30 Oxford Model 101 Combination Desk 1911 No. 120 Combination Desk 1920 s The American Tubular Steel Combination Desk made school furniture history. It was the first of its kind made from heavy-gauge rolled-strip steel that was formed into triangular tubing for strength. The hinges were noiseless and boltless for a non-wearing construction. These desks were second to none in economy, durability, rigidity and design.
31 Oxford Combination Combination Desk No. 120 Desk 1920s No s This early combination seat desk was manufactured of high-quality cast metal and came with a built-in inkwell. Sales of cast-iron desks fell off in the early 1930s as lightweight, tubular-steel models came into vogue.
32 Vanguard Tablet Arm Seating 1960s The student-desk combination is still in classrooms today. It has taken on many transformations in design, materials used and style. The Vanguard was part of the evolution from wood and cast iron to plastic and steel in the 1960s. This desk combo uses a tablet arm versus the chair-desk combination.
33 Oxford Model 470 Combination 1970s Desk No s American Seating developed a solution for college and university lecture rooms. Combining a table that is fixed to the floor with a chair that is fixed to the table and swivels allowed a crisp design. The swing-away seating was developed to give instructors and facility managers an easier way to keep their tables and chairs neat and straight.
34 Oxford American Universal Combination 1940s Desk No s The American Universal was developed in accordance with accepted principles of the coordinated classroom, which were guidelines for the ideal visual and postural environments being planned by leading school authorities. These guidelines emphasized the growth, development and body mechanics of the school child.
35 Acton Oxford 275 with Tablet Combination Arm Desk No s The Acton 275 was designed for classrooms, lecture halls, auditoriums, assembly areas and other educational and corporate training applications. The classic design has an ergonomically sculptured seat and back to provide comfort even after long hours of sitting.
36 Oxford Acton Tablet Arm Combination Desk No s Grand Valley State University Allendale, Michigan 2002 The Acton chair family was designed in 1974 and is one of the best selling chairs of all time. A tablet arm version was created to use in classrooms as a lightweight, easily movable seating solution.
37 Oxford Spirit Combination Desk No s Cornerstone University Grand Rapids, Michigan 2003 American Seating launched the Spirit auditorium chair in 2003, which was designed to be virtually maintenance-free, durable and cost effective. It fit a need for a new aesthetic with a curved plastic back instead of the typical square back.
38 Oxford Parley Tables Combination 2008 Desk No s As classrooms started to change from all fixed seating to the need for more flexible seating solutions, American Seating launched a contemporary table line that features power distribution and data routing, and is available in a stationary or mobile solution. Mobile tables can slide together to form any learning environment, then flip and nest out of the way when more space is needed.
39 Desk/Chair Combination, early 1900s Envoy Chair with Desk, circa 1946 Desk/Chair Combination, 1960s Focus Swing Away, Single
40 American Seating leads with solutions that offer durability and value for city-service bus, rail, motorcoach and demand-response transit providers. We re the company that helps millions of commuters and travelers get to their destinations every day with ease and comfort.
41 Vision 2009 In 2009, American Seating introduced its newest innovation, Vision, the next generation in stainless seating that provides vandal resistance, durability, comfort and style. North American transit agencies that quickly adopted the Vision seat include those in Rhode Island, California and Ottawa (Canada).
42 American Seating Transportation Manufacturing Grand Rapids, Michigan 1937 American Seating entered the transportation seating industry in Pictured: local transit buses parked on the grounds of the American Seating factory.
43 Insight The Rapid Grand Rapids, Michigan 2007 As the region s public transit authority, The Rapid provides a variety of public transportation services for the Grand Rapids metro area and beyond. It is organized and operates under Michigan Public Act 196 of The Rapid operates both fixed-route and demand-response services. American Seating introduced the InSight seat to The Rapid in 2007, which became one of the first transit authorities in the United States to purchase and install the bus seat.
44 D39777 Seat 1940s Turret Gunner The M4 and M7 Medium Tank Seats for Driver, Assistant Driver and Gunner were used in more types of vehicles than any other seat of the time. The flexible seat was readily adaptable to many different locations inside a vehicle.
45 Innovator 850 Los Angeles County Metro Rail Los Angeles, California 2007 The Metro Rail is the rapid-transit rail system serving Los Angeles County. Since opening in 1990, the network now comprises five lines, including two heavy-rail subway lines and three light-rail lines. Altogether, these lines total 79.1 miles (127.3 km) of rail, 70 stations and more than 350,000 weekday boardings. The Metro Rail showcases American Seating s Innovator 850, a stainless-steel seat that features a vandal-resistant solution for rail seating.
46 Premier Indian Trails Owosso, Michigan 2009 Indian Trails, which uses the Premier seat, operates one of the largest and newest fleets of deluxe motorcoaches in Michigan. American Seating introduced the Premier seat in 2009, providing the highest level of safety in belted motorcoach seating.
47 The company developed the first fiberglass transportation seat with quick-release, replaceable seat cushion inserts.
48 Tubular City Service Bus Seat 1221 Grand Rapids, Michigan 1931 American Seating manufactured all-tubular, steel-framed seats for transit buses. This type of seating offered both enhanced comfort and durability. It was the first seat of its kind to be fully upholstered but without exposed fasteners on the seat backs. Much history has taken place in American Seating seats. Most notable: On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery Alabama, the seat Rosa Parks refused to give up was the American Seating City Service Bus Seat 1221, introduced in Ms. Parks action became an important symbol of the modern civil rights movement.
49 Mobility Aid Securement The Rapid Grand Rapids, Michigan 2009 American Seating leads in the development of mobility aid securement systems. The company s latest innovation features the industry-leading A.R.M. and Dual Auto-Lok remote release systems, allowing both hands to be free to secure the mobility aid. The technology provides the easiest and quickest securement while reducing physical demands on the bus driver.
50 Vision Innovator 850 Premier Recliner Premier InSight
51 American Seating solutions are found in the oldest and most famous ballparks and stadiums in the world, and in the newest generation of multipurpose arenas. We make seats for every part of a sports facility, from the front row to the upper deck, from scout seating to suite seats.
52 Arenas, Auditoriums, Stadiums & Ballparks Arenas Berry Events Center Fresno Selland Arena HP Pavillion Keifer Lakefront Arena Neal H. Blaisdell Center Quicken Loans Arena Van Andel Arena Verizon Center NFL Teams Baltimore Ravens Buffalo Bills Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns Houston Texans Minnesota Vikings New Orleans Saints New York Giants New York Jets Oakland Raiders Pittsburgh Steelers San Francisco 49ers Major Leagues Baltimore Orioles Boston Red Sox Chicago Cubs Chicago White Sox Cleveland Indians DC Nationals Lansing Lugnuts McPherson Opera House Detroit Tigers McPherson, Florida Marlins Kansas Missoula 2010 Osprey Houston Astros Los Angeles Dodgers Milwaukee Brewers Oakland A s Philadelphia Phillies St. Louis Cardinals San Francisco Giants Texas Rangers Minor Leagues Altoona Curve Arizona Diamondbacks/Rockies Arizona Dodger/Whitesox Auburn Doubledays Augusta Green-Jackets Batavia Muckdogs Beloit Snappers Boise Hawks Birmingham Barons Carolina Mudcats Charlotte Knights City Island Stadium Clinton Lumber Kings Colorado Springs Sky Sox Daytona Cubs Durham Bulls Erie Sea Wolves Florence Freedom Frisco Rough Riders Great Falls White Sox Gulf Coast Orioles Hannibal Caveman Indianapolis Indians Iowa Cubs Jamestown Jammers Joliet Jackhammers Kane County Cougars Lake County Captains Lakeland Flying Tigers Louisville Bats Montgomery Biscuits Nashville Sounds Norfolk Tides Ogden Raptors Oklahoma Red Hawks Rochester Red Wings Rockford RiverHawks Salem Avalanche Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Salt Lake Bees Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees Southern Maryland Blue Crabs Spokane Indians Syracuse Chiefs Tacoma Rainiers Tennessee Smokies Traverse City Beach Bums Vancouver Canadians Visalia Rawhides West Michigan Whitecaps Winston-Salem Dash Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Yakima Bears York Revolution Performing Art Centers American Players Theater, Spring Green, WI Armstrong College PAC Benaroya Hall, Seattle, WA Boston Pops Tanglewood Center Blossom Music Center, Cleveland, OH Century II, Wichita, KS Corson Auditorium, Interlochen, MI Delacorte Theatre, Central Park, NY Emons Auditorium, Ball State Fairchild Auditorium, Michigan St. University Forest Roberts Theater, N. Michigan University Gammage, Arizona State University Greek Theatre, CA Indiana University Musical Art Center Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. Kresge Auditorium, Interlochen, MI McPherson Opera House, McPherson, KS Millenium Park, Chicago, IL New York Metropolitan Opera House Peabody (Kiel) Opera House Popejoy Hall, University of New Mexico Radio City Music Hall, NY Raymond Kravis Center, West Palm Beach, FL River Bend Music Center, Cincinnati, OH Robin Hood Dell East, Philadelphia, PA San Francisco Opera House Sante Fe Opera House, Sante Fe, NM Tilson Auditorium, Indiana State University of Connecticut, Jorgensen Center West Point Military Academy Eisenhower Theatre College and University Sports Baylor University Tennis Complex Bud Walton Arena, University of Arkansas Creighton Soccer Stadium FSU Baseball Howser Georgia Tech Bobby Dodd Stadium Georgia Russ Chandler Stadium Indiana University Memorial Stadium Lamar Cardinal Stadium Louisville Papa Johns Stadium LSU Tiger Stadium Miami Stadium Michigan Football Stadium NAU Lumberjack Stadium Nebraska Memorial Stadium Ohio State Football Stadium Purdue Ross-Ade Stadium Rice University Reckling Park Stadium Tennessee Lee Stadium Tennessee Lindsey Nelson Stadium Tennessee Tennis Stadium, Knoxville Tusculum College Baseball Stadium Tulane Baseball Park UH Baseball Stadium UNC Dean Smith Center UNM-The Pit UCLA Pauley Pavilion USC Dedeaux Field and LA Coliseum Utah Valley Stadium UT Disch-Falk Field Wake Forest Ballpark WVU Coliseum WVU Mountaineer Stadium TD Ameritrade Park (NCAA World Series)
53 Meadowlands Sports Complex East Rutherford, New Jersey 2010 (Home of the New York Giants and New York Jets) The Meadowlands was designed to be the home of both the New York Jets and New York Giants professional football teams and also serve as a location for all marquee events in the region internationally broadcast concerts, college football programs, world-class soccer and more. The sustainably designed stadium seats 82,500.
54 Van Andel Arena Grand Rapids, Michigan 1996 (Home of the Grand Rapids Griffins) The 12,000-plus capacity, $75 million arena in Michigan s fastest-growing market has made Grand Rapids an entertainment destination. Additionally, the arena has carved a niche as a first-class facility for tradeshows, exhibitions, seminars and conferences. It also serves as the home of the Grand Rapids Griffins hockey team. The arena was named in recognition of its largest benefactors, Jay and Betty Van Andel.
55 Comerica Park Detroit, Michigan 2000 (Home of the Detroit Tigers) Comerica Park replaced the historic Tiger Stadium in Located in downtown Detroit and next to Ford Field, the home of the Detroit Lions, Comerica Park is a major part of a downtown revitalization plan for the city. Comerica s seating capacity is 45,010.
56 Nationals Park Washington, D.C., 2008 (Home of the Washington Nationals) Nationals Park was the first major stadium in the U.S. accredited as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) structure, achieving Silver Status from the United States Green Building Council. The ballpark exterior is constructed of steel, glass and pre-cast concrete, reflecting the architecture of Washington. Views from the circulation ramps include the Capitol, the Washington Monument, the Navy Yard and the riverfront. The venue seats 41,546.
57 Fenway Park Boston, Massachusetts 2009 (Home of the Boston Red Sox) On April 20, 1912, Fenway Park, one of the most iconic ballparks in the world, opened its doors to the public. To many, Fenway is a shrine and homage to the Great American Pastime of baseball. American Seating has been a part of the Fenway fan experience since the ballpark first opened. In 2002, the Red Sox organization began a renovation of the entire park, scheduled for completion in spring 2012.
58 Rangers Ballpark in Arlington Arlington, Texas 1994 (Home of the Texas Rangers) On April 1, 1994, a new era dawned for the Texas Rangers with the opening of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. This beautiful baseball-only facility serves as the centerpiece of a 270-acre entertainment complex. The open-air park seats 49,170 and features Texas-style architecture.
59 Quicken Rangers Loans Ballpark Arena The in Arlington Q Cleveland, Arlington, Ohio Texas (Home of the Cleveland Cavaliers) (Home of the Texas Rangers) On Originally April 1, known 1994, as a Gund new era Arena, dawned The Q for officially the Texas opened Rangers in with October the 1994 opening with a of Billy Rangers Joel concert. Ballpark Home in Arlington. the Cavaliers This beautiful professional baseball-only basketball team, facility The serves Q also as hosts the centerpiece top-name of a concerts, 270-acre family entertainment and sporting complex. events, accommodating The open-air park 20,500 seats patrons. Progressive Field (formerly Jacobs Field and home to 49,170 and features Texas-style architecture. the Cleveland Indians professional baseball team) is next door; together, these two facilities comprise the Gateway Sports and Entertainment Complex. American Seating chairs replaced a competitor s seats in 2005.
60 Michigan Stadium The Big House Ann Arbor, Michigan 2010 (Home of the University of Michigan Wolverines) One of the country s most recognized college sports venues, Michigan Stadium has always been known for accommodating enormous crowds. First opened in 1927 with a capacity of more than 84,000, The Big House underwent a three-year renovation to provide wider seats and aisles and to add premium club and suite seating. Remodeling was completed in 2010 with a total fan capacity of 108,000.
61 Pizza Hut Park Frisco, Texas 2005 (Home of MLS Team FC Dallas) Pizza Hut Park is a multi-purpose facility designed for professional soccer, major concerts, community events and high school football. The park can host approximately 20,500 and is considered to be one of the top venues in the United States for both amateur and Major League Soccer.
62 Tiger s Chair - Tigers
63 Portable Seating Theater Education Transportation Sports Timeline 1930 PR Stunt Video Watch this 1930 PR stunt In 1930, pilot Muller landed this Heath plane on the roof of the American Seating headquarters in Grand Rapids to promote their just in time delivery services. Landing and take off were both perilous and successful. back to the beginning
64 American Seating has a long history of putting students and educators at ease with seating solutions that support the body and stimulate the mind. Founded in 1886 as the Grand Rapids School Furniture Company, we ve made seats, desks and other educational products for one-room schoolhouses and university learning environments and everything in between.
65 Our Early Years Beginning in 1887, much of the seating for churches involves intricate wood carving; the company becomes known for its master carvers and beautiful craftsmanship.
66 Our Early Years In this year, the Statue of Liberty arrives in New York Harbor, the first skyscraper (10 stories) is built in Chicago and during a Grand Rapids, Michigan, school board meeting, a light-bulb moment redefines educational environments for the century to follow. At this meeting, business and school board leaders Gaius W. Perkins, William T. Hess and Seymour W. Peregrine sit in the very seats that students use during the school day. Shifting constantly to get comfortable, they determine the seats that school children sit in are poorly designed and they resolve to do better. This is the beginning of American Seating. On May 8, the founders incorporate Grand Rapids School Furniture Company. Building on its immediate success in schools, the company expands into seating for churches and other public venues. Much of the seating for churches involves intricate wood carving; the company becomes known for its master carvers and beautiful craftsmanship Grand Rapids School Furniture Company buys seven acres on Broadway Avenue between Ninth and Tenth streets on Grand Rapids northwest side. The company constructs a 70,000-square-foot factory and moves in on August 1. Increasing its workforce to 350 employees, the company becomes the biggest manufacturer of its kind in the city. Earnings through 1905 total $1.2 million. The company purchases additional properties in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest The company changes its name to American Seating Company, and offices move from New York back to Grand Rapids On January 5, Perkins, Hess and Peregrine, with 50 employees, open a factory at the corner of Prescott and Ionia streets in Grand Rapids to manufacture school and office furniture. The first product is a cast-iron and maplewood student desk-and-chair unit. This unprecedented combination revolutionizes classroom seating The company officially enters the entertainment seating market by furnishing the Tabor Opera House in Leadville, Colorado, and the McPherson Opera House in McPherson, Kansas Grand Rapids School Furniture Company ranks as the top seating manufacturer in the world, producing more seats than any other manufacturer (81,000 to date). Early 1900s With the increased popularity of vaudeville and then motion pictures, theater seating becomes American Seating Company s primary product. The company is deluged with orders, and many orders are for 299 chairs per venue. The reason: Theaters with more than 299 chairs required a theater license and special fire permits The company designs and delivers the world s first tilt-back opera chair American Seating Company manufactures and installs seating at Forbes Field for the Pittsburgh Pirates the company s first foray into baseball seating Grand Rapids School Furniture Company changes its name to American School Furniture Company. The company acquires 18 of the largest seating and furniture manufacturing companies in the United States. These companies expand American School Furniture Company s holdings from the Midwest to the East Coast, with offices located in New York and Chicago Comiskey Park, home of the Chicago White Sox, opens with 32,000 American Seating Company seats. The ballpark adds more seats in 1927.
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