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Century Furniture

Known for its durable vintage display cabinets, nightstands and dressers made of cherry, oak, walnut and more, Century Furniture of Hickory, North Carolina, began as an upholstered goods company in 1947 but added case goods and sophisticated mahogany dining-room furnishings shortly thereafter.

Launched by Harley Ferguson Shuford Sr., a Hickory native who was born to a family of textile mill owners, Century Furniture was intended to be “the best furniture company in the world.” With respect to speed and efficiency, the brand found its footing midway through production on a government contract that Shuford had secured in the early days to manufacture thousands of five-drawer chests. The effort was significant, but it was also a teachable moment as far as Shuford and his team’s learning the ropes of running a factory.

After hiring designer Raymond K. Sobota in 1950 and introducing the enormously popular Citation Collection in 1954, Century established its reputation as a leader in stylishly designed high-quality furniture. Sobota had furniture in his blood — after graduating from Kendall College of Art & Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he worked for his uncle Karl Schmidt, who was at the time a well-known furniture designer for Berkey and Gay and other makers in the Grand Rapids area, then known as America’s furniture capital. Sobota soon launched his own studio, designing furniture as a freelancer for various local manufacturers. Shuford found him by happenstance, journeying to Michigan’s second-largest city to offer a job to another designer who turned him down but recommended Sobota instead.

Century’s Citation line — a sizable collection for the brand that spanned furnishings for the bedroom, dining room and more — is revered in the world of vintage mid-century modern furniture collectors. The pieces sold very well during the 1950s, and the line is an oft-cited success story for Sobota, who would go on to win awards for his work and whose own catalogue of designs for the brand is massive.

In his 40-year career at Century, until he retired in 1995, he designed well over 100 furniture lines. Sobota’s nightstands, cabinets, side tables and more are characterized by his interest in Asian design, distinctly and brilliantly expressed in his Hollywood Regency–style Chin Hua line, which debuted during the 1970s. With its geometrically decorative brass drawer pulls and door handles as well as dining-chair seat-back carvings — all inspired by Asian motifs — this collection has rendered vintage pieces that saw Century’s craftsmen working with alluring ebonized walnut and more, some of the company’s most sought-after work today.

Also in the 1970s as well as in the 1980s, Manhattan interior designer Jay Spectre introduced an Art Deco–informed spirit at Century Furniture, creating oversize, inviting lounge chairs and bentwood benches that featured plush tufted leather cushions. Spectre’s Eclipse collection was at one point among the largest-selling lines for the brand.

Century licensed collections with celebrity interior designers such as Thomas O’Brien, Charlotte Moss and Bunny Williams among others. In 2013, when Alex Shuford III was named president of Century Furniture, the move marked the succession of the third generation to lead this company, which is today one of the world’s largest privately held manufacturers of high-end furniture.

Find Century Furniture lounge chairs and dining chairs as well as vintage mid-century modern credenzas, dressers and more on 1stDibs.

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Creator: Century Furniture
Dealer: Metro Retro Furniture MCM Furniture
Pair Chinese Chippendale Arm Chairs by Century Furniture
By Century Furniture
Located in Pasadena, TX
Set of 2 Chinese Chippendale dining chairs by Century Furniture Faux bamboo in an antiqued finish with neutral silk blend seat cushions. S...
Category

Mid-20th Century North American Chinese Chippendale Century Furniture

Materials

Wood

62" Chin Hua Dining Table by Raymond Sobota for Century Furniture
By Century Furniture
Located in Pasadena, TX
Chin Hua dining table by Raymond Sobota for Century Furniture Raymond Karl Sobota (1914-2010) Dining table designed by Raymond K. Sobota for th...
Category

Late 20th Century North American Chinoiserie Century Furniture

Materials

Burl

Pair of Century Furniture Chin Hua Nightstands
By Century Furniture
Located in Pasadena, TX
Pair of Century Furniture Chin Hua nightstands Pair of Century Furniture Chin Hua nightstands Pair of Chin Hua nightstands by Century Furniture....
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Century Furniture

Materials

Wood

Chin Hua Dresser Credenza by Century Furniture
By Century Furniture
Located in Pasadena, TX
Century Chin Hua Dresser Credenza Sideboard buffet or dresser manufactured by Century Furniture as part of the Chin Hua collection from the 1970s. E...
Category

1970s North American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Century Furniture

Materials

Brass

93" Black Lacquered Chin Hua Headboard by Century Furniture
By Century Furniture
Located in Pasadena, TX
Black lacquered chin hua headboard by Century Furniture. Carved details on corners of headboard. Would look fantastic with drapery behind or a scree...
Category

1970s American Chinoiserie Vintage Century Furniture

Materials

Lacquer

Pair of Ebonized Chin Hua Mid-Century Nightstands by Century
By Century Furniture
Located in Pasadena, TX
A pair of Asian inspired nightstands by Century Furniture. Ebonized with brass pulls on drawer at bottom. Ample open area above for...
Category

1960s American Chinoiserie Vintage Century Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Chin Hua Display Cabinet by Raymond Sobota for Century Furniture
By Century Furniture
Located in Pasadena, TX
Chin Hua display cabinet by Raymond Sobota for Century Furniture Raymond K. Sobota started designing for Century Furniture in 19...
Category

Late 20th Century European Mid-Century Modern Century Furniture

Materials

Burl

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By Raymond K. Sobota, Century Furniture
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Century Furniture furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Century Furniture furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of fabric and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Century Furniture furniture, although gray editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by Century Furniture were created in the modern style in united states during the 1980s. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Design Institute America, Russell Woodard, and Arthur Umanoff. Prices for Century Furniture furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $800 and can go as high as $800, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $800.
Questions About Century Furniture
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Yes, Century Furniture still exists. The brand operates from its corporate headquarters located in Hickory, North Carolina. The company was founded in 1947, and RHF Investments, Inc., acquired the company in 2013. You'll find a range of Century Furniture on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021
    Mid-century furniture is furniture created within the period of 1933 to 1965 but most would argue that the style began to emerge in the postwar years. This style of furniture is known for its sleek lines and organic shapes. The creators most frequently associated with mid-century modern furniture believed that good design meant good living. Mid-century modern is today by far the largest category of furnishings on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 5, 2022
    A variety of furniture was used during the 16th century. Items commonly found in homes include high-backed armchairs, chests, stools, benches and cupboards. Most European artisans active during the time period produced pieces out of oak wood. Find a large collection of antique furniture on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMay 22, 2019

    Mid-century modernism first appeared in 1945 and merged a minimalist aesthetic with practicality. Mid-century modern furniture is distinguishable by its lack of decoration or extravagance and its use of clean lines, organic curves and variety of natural materials.

    1stDibs ExpertFebruary 22, 2021
    Mid century modern furniture refers to pieces designed during the middle of the 20th century — specifically 1930s through the mid-1960s. This period represents a design and architecture movement characterized by simple shapes, clean lines, and organic materials. Some of the most famous mid century modern designers include Ray Eames, Charlotte Perriand, Isamu Noguchi and Eero Saarinen.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMay 5, 2023
    To tell if furniture is mid-century modern, examine the piece, looking for labels and markings that indicate who produced it. Then, consult trusted online resources to determine when the maker was active and what styles of furniture they made. Iconic mid-century modern furniture designers include Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Milo Baughman, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia and Isamu Noguchi. A knowledgeable dealer or certified appraiser can help you determine if a particular piece is genuine mid-century modern or a reproduction. Shop a range of mid-century modern furniture on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertSeptember 25, 2019

    Mid-century modern furniture combines sleek lines with organic shapes.

  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 13, 2024
    Mid-century modern furniture is so popular largely because its characteristics align well with the trends and tastes that are dominant today. Many people love its simple look defined by clean lines, and the use of natural materials also adds to its popularity. In addition, designers created mid-century modern furniture to be as functional as it is visually appealing, making pieces executed in the style simple, convenient and comfortable to use. Find a wide range of mid-century modern furniture on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertApril 22, 2024
    There is not a single year that is mid-century modern. The style emerged during the 1940s and 1950s and remained dominant through the 1960s and into the early 1970s. Some notable designers who contributed to the development of the mid-century modern style include Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Milo Baughman, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, Isamu Noguchi and George Nelson. Shop a wide range of mid-century modern furniture on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertSeptember 25, 2019

    Some of the most famous mid-century modern furniture designers were Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames, Paul Evans, Poul Kjærholm, Florence Knoll, George Nakashima, Giò Ponti, Hans Wegner, Charlotte Perriand, Sergio Rodrigues and Eero Saarinen.

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