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Russell Woodard Furniture

American

Woodard Furniture Company’s diverse offerings have included everything from pine caskets to premium patio and garden furniture over the years.

Lyman E. Woodward founded the family business Woodard Brothers (he dropped the second w for his venture’s name), later Woodard Furniture Co., in Owosso, Michigan, in 1866. Woodard Furniture produced wood furniture such as birch and oak bedroom pieces, window and door blinds and even pine caskets. Demand for the latter increased during the spread of the Spanish flu in America, and Woodard’s casket business — a new company called Owosso Casket Company — thrived, becoming the largest casket manufacturer in the world throughout the 1920s. Two U.S. presidents, William McKinley and Benjamin Harrison, were buried in Owosso caskets.

On the furniture side, Lyman’s son Lee Woodard spun off his own business as Lee L. Woodard and Sons, opening a shop with his sons, Joseph, Lyman II and Russell Woodard. During the 1930s, the new company explored the use of metal in furniture-making and introduced a wrought-iron set of patio dining furniture featuring ornate grillwork inspired by French design called Orleans in 1940. The line became a best seller and kick-started the company’s international reputation as a patio-furniture maker, even as the Woodard factory subsequently shifted toward supporting the wartime efforts in manufacturing parts for trucks and military equipment. After World War II, the business returned to making furniture. Over the years, Woodard and Sons would go on to master metallurgy in furniture making, developing expertise in wrought iron, cast aluminum and tubular aluminum for both indoor and outdoor pieces. In colder regions, wrought iron, which can be left outdoors all year round, was the material of choice in outdoor furniture designs for the Atomic Age, and vintage Woodard outdoor furniture is widely coveted by collectors today.

While the business started with more traditional styles of furnishings, the company would go on to embrace mid-century modernism. In fact, one of Woodard’s most famous pieces is 1956’s Sculptura chair, variously credited over the years to Russell and/or Joseph. The Sculptura was reportedly the first sculpted chair made without molds. Not unlike Harry Bertoia’s elegant steel-wire Side chair (also a mid-century darling) in its undulating form, the Sculptura chair, which is composed entirely of enameled woven wrought-iron wire, bears similarity to Eero Saarinen’s Womb chair for Knoll and Charles and Ray Eames’s DAX chair. The beloved Woodard chair was added to the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum’s permanent collection in 1994.

While the Woodard business is no longer in family hands, the company continues to produce fine patio furniture today and even reintroduced the Sculptura chair in 2015 as nostalgia for mid-century modernism gained steam again. 

On 1stDibs, find vintage Russell Woodard lounge chairs, dining chairs and patio furniture today.

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Creator: Russell Woodard
Dealer: Berkshire Home & Antiques
Set of 5 Piece Round Patio Garden Dining Table and 4 Arm Chairs
By Russell Woodard
Located in Sheffield, MA
Newly painted 40" round Mid-Century Modern Russell Woodard style wrought or cast iron base dining table with center hole for umbrella and four ...
Category

Mid-20th Century North American Mid-Century Modern Russell Woodard Furniture

Materials

Wrought Iron

Set of 5 Round Patio Garden Table Dining Set
By Russell Woodard
Located in Sheffield, MA
Newly painted 40" round Mid-Century Modern Russell Woodard style wrought iron or cast iron base dining table with center hole for umbrella and four matching armchair. The set of gard...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Russell Woodard Furniture

Materials

Wrought Iron

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Russell Woodard furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Russell Woodard furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of metal and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Russell Woodard furniture, although gray editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by Russell Woodard were created in the mid-century modern style in north america during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Arthur Umanoff, Charles Eames, and Salterini. Prices for Russell Woodard furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $175 and can go as high as $12,495, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $2,195.
Questions About Russell Woodard Furniture
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    To identify Russell Woodard furniture, look for the Woodard Furniture company name. Some pieces feature paper labels bearing the name "Woodard." Some even have the designer's handwriting on them. Wrought iron furniture pieces often display an embossed name on their frames, while upholstered pieces tend to have metal labels. Shop a selection of expertly vetted Russell Woodard furniture on 1stDibs.

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