Kling Furniture Company (A Brief History)
Kling Furniture Company was created as a collection of furniture companies in New York State. John Alexander Kling, an immigrant from Sweden, purchased several struggling furniture companies, starting with the Chautauqua Spring Bed & Lounge Company in Mayville, New York in 1911. He bought three other plants and eventually his enterprise operated under the name “Kling Factories.” Each plant focused on one style of bedroom furniture and within 17 years, Kling became one of the largest volume producers of furniture in the US.
The depression years of the late 1920s and 30s were tough on Kling, but John’s sons were able to manage and pull through as many other furniture companies caved. Aiming to continue to provide heavy, solid wood furniture of great quality remained in the company’s mission.
The 1940s through 1960s became the peak production time for Kling and this is generally the period of greatest quality. More advertising opportunities in magazines such as “Better Homes and Garden” and “House Beautiful” helped solidify the company’s reputation as a quality furniture maker.
Kling was eventually purchased by Ethan Allen in 1962. Sometimes we see a piece which is marked “Kling Colonial” which signifies the joining of Kling with Ethan Allen. Ethan Allen dropped the name later.
We love Kling furniture here at Bohemians. To us, Kling furniture has extreme beauty, durability and history. Frequently we are lucky enough to find Kling Mahogany Furniture. Using genuine mahogany on all exposed parts AND all secondary woods (drawer bottoms and sides, inside cabinets), Kling bedroom furniture in mahogany is especially desirable and long lasting. Refinishing this vintage furniture brings back the beauty of distressed Kling pieces and we seem to never tire of it.
The style of Kling furniture can vary. Often we see echoes of Chippendale Styles: shells, fluted columns and bracket feet are common among vintage Kling styles. Solid brass hardware can either be left with patina or shined to original glory. (The years of WWII left Kling, like every furniture company, not being able to use solid brass and instead using a faux proximity. If you find a piece with plated or aluminum hardware, you can date it to the war years.) We like to clean the hardware to get that sparkle and contrast on a vintage piece.
The beauty of Kling and it’s prominence as a true American Furniture Company has not been forgotten. Certainly, we see Ethan Allen looking to its roots for furniture design with Kling. Often, the two brands are indistinguishable. Simple, classic design and high quality materials make Kling one of our go-to brands for vintage furniture. We hope that you too will enjoy this superb furniture maker.
The Staff at Bohemians