4 Very Surprising Things About This 120-Year-Old Furniture Company


We’re really excited about Durham Furniture’s upcoming “Breakfast In Bed” 120-year Anniversary celebration at High Point Market. (In fact, we could go for some biscuits & bacon right now…) But the truth is, until this year, we didn’t know all that much about the company behind the name, and were surprised to learn these four things that make it so unique.

1.

DURHAM FURNITURE CO. HAS been around— and in the same place— longer than any North American furniture brand you can probably name.

You guys, 1899 was a really long time ago.

You guys, 1899 was a really long time ago.



Durham Furniture has been making solid wood furniture since the 1890’s. That makes them the oldest of any current Steelyard partner brand we can think of, even if it’s only by a year or two. First is first!



2.

DURHAM FURNITURE IS not, and never haS been, located in Durham, North Carolina.

Or in North Carolina at all. Like, not anywhere even close.

 
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The company is named for the town it’s located in, probably just not the Durham you’re thinking of. All of their furniture is made from sustainably (and mostly locally) harvested solid wood at their plant in the town of Durham, Ontario, Canada. (population 2,500), which is “nestled amid rolling hills, forests and farms, along the Saugeen River about 150 kilometres (93 miles) north of Toronto.” Weirdly, both Durhams were founded at around the same time (the 1840’s) but the similarity ends there. Ontario’s Durham remains a bucolic small town while North Carolina’s Durham has grown into a busy Research Triangle city.

Still, location confusion between the two is something that, “yes, we get all the time”, Josh Alexander, Durham’s VP of Sales & Development told us, so don’t be embarrassed if you’ve had it wrong too.

For a 120-year-old, Durham is surprisingly hip & progressive

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And we’re just not saying that because they’re serving acai bowls and fresh-pressed juices at their party…

Durham Furniture is owned by local shareholders and employs about 200 craftspeople who work in a century-old red-brick factory. Their employees span multiple generations and they know a thing or two about not just surviving, but leaning into all of the social and economic changes that have toppled so many other furniture manufacturers over the last 120 years. Today, Durham Furniture is dedicated to sustainability, compliance, and ethical employment practices, and that’s not just talk — these certifications are not easy to obtain and are proof of genuine commitment that goes beyond marketing trends.

4.

Durham Furniture is featured in exclusive luxury hotels BUT THEY'RE NOT Like, all SNOBBY ABOUT IT

Their accessible approach might belie the fact that Durham Furniture has been specified for high-end hotels and countless residences across Canada and the United States, because the quality-to-value ratio of their products is easily recognized by professional specifiers. There are absolutely no veneers or particle board in their furniture, which is an increasingly rare thing indeed.
If you’re going to High Point Market, be sure to visit them at at IHFC-G1082, to experience the quality yourself, and don’t forget to RSVP for the big celebration!

Below are just a few of our favorite pieces from the Durham catalog on Steelyard. Logged-in members can click on any image to see trade pricing and details. (Not a member yet? Register HERE.)

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