Steelcase 100

Acquisitions/ Mergers/ New Companies/ Divestitures

Terrell's Equipment Co. controlled


MOFC gained the controlling interest in Terrell's Equipment Co. and continued producing items under the Terrell name. It was founded in Grand Rapids, MI in 1908, and Steelcase founder, W.D. Idema was named Vice President in 1922.

Servidor Co. founded


The Servidor Company started by P.M. Wege provided a door within a door, with space for room service requests. [Exact date unknown, c.1926.] Related companies and products include: Receivador (for home deliveries) and Closidor (for closet doors).

Doehler Metal Furniture Co. purchased


MOFC purchased Doehler Metal Furniture Co., with whom they had previously entered into a partnership to produce Doehler's metal home furnishings to survive the Depression.

Terrell's Equipment Co. fully acquired


Terrell's Equipment Co. became fully owned by MOFC. Products were still manufactured under the Terrell name.
Terrell Logo

Fancy Furniture Co. acquired


Fancy Furniture Co. of Grand Rapids, MI was purchased by MOFC. The factory became the Chair Plant.

Steelcase Canada Ltd. founded


Steelcase Canada Ltd. (a.k.a. Canadian Steelcase Co. Ltd.) was founded in Markham, Ontario.

Sierra Metal Products founded


Sierra Metal Products was founded and associated with the Hunting-Roberts Co. [Exact date is unknown, c.1959.]

Hunting-Roberts Co. purchased


The Hunting-Roberts Co. was purchased by Steelcase. The name changed to Steelcase, Inc. in 1963. It was originally founded by E.C. Roberts and E. Hunting in 1935 as a partnership selling Steelcase and other products on the West Coast.

Attwood Corp. owned

1964 - 2003

Attwood Corp. of Lowell, MI was purchased by Steelcase in 1964. It was a manufacturer of boat parts, and supplied parts to Steelcase for office furniture. Steelcase sold Attwood to Brunswick Corp. in 2003.

Curtis Products, Ltd. acquired


Curtis Products, Ltd. of Cobourg, Ontario was acquired as a subsidiary of Steelcase. It focuses on high-style seating. [Exact date is unknown, c.1972.]

Steelcase Japan Ltd. established


Steelcase Japan Ltd. (a.k.a. Steelcase Far East, Ltd.) was formed as a 25% joint venture with Kurogane Ltd. in Osaka, Japan. It was dissolved in 1979, because Steelcase bought it out, and established S/K Ltd.

Vecta Contract acquired


Vecta Contract was founded in 1959, and purchased by Steelcase in 1978. It is located in Grand Prairie, TX, with a focus on architectural furnishings. The Beylerian Collection (wholesale designer chairs by George H. Beylerian) was merged into the Vecta line in June 1987. When Vecta became part of Steelcase, it was included in the Steelcase Design Partnership.

Pohlschröder GmbH acquired


Pohlschröder was acquired as part of the Steelcase/ Strafor S.A. joint venture. It was the Steelcase Strafor for Germany and Austria. Pohlschröder was founded in 1855, with a focus on metal safes.

Remaining Strafor interest acquired


Steelcase acquired the remaining 50% of Strafor from the previous joint venture, fully owning Strafor. This acquisition included 5 plants in France, and 4 in Africa (Morocco, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, and Senegal). [The dates of this transaction vary.]

Stow & Davis Furniture Co. purchased


Stow & Davis was purchased by Steelcase. Previously Steelcase founders, W.D. Idema and D.D. Hunting Sr. invested in Stow & Davis in 1936.

Hedberg Data Systems, Inc. acquired


Data Management Corp. was acquired by Steelcase and the name changed to Hedberg Data Systems, Inc. It was originally founded in 1979.

Metropolitan Furniture Corp. acquired


Metro was founded in 1905, and acquired by Steelcase in 1987. It became part of the Steelcase Design Partnership focusing on casegoods and seating. Metro is based in San Francisco, CA.

Atlier International, Ltd. acquired


Atlier (a.k.a. ai) was acquired by Steelcase in 1987 and included in the Steelcase Design Partnership. It was originally founded in 1967. Cassina is the sole distributor and licensee in the U.S.

Brayton International Inc. acquired


Brayton was founded in 1973 by L. Paul Brayton, and acquired by Steelcase in 1987. Located in High Point, NC, Brayton's focus was casegoods and seating. It was included in the Steelcase Design Partnership.

Steelcase Design Partnership formed


The Steelcase Design Partnership (SDP) was formed from Metro, Brayton, and Vecta, in Texas.

DesignTex Fabrics acquired


DesignTex was acquired by Steelcase. It was originally founded in 1961.

Sannash acquired


Sannash of Morocco was acquired by Steelcase/ Strafor S.A.

A.F. Sistemas acquired


A.F. Sistemas was acquired by Steelcase/ Strafor S.A. It was known as Steelcase Strafor for Spain, and A.F. Steelcase Strafor.

Eurosteel acquired


Eurosteel of Portugal was acquired by Steelcase/ Strafor S.A.

Gordon Russell, Harvey acquired


Gordon Russell, Harvey was acquired by Steelcase/ Strafor S.A. as Steelcase Strafor for the United Kingdom.

Revest acquired


Revest was acquired by Steelcase and the name changed from Alternative Office Furniture, Inc. which was an office refurbishing company in Atlanta, GA.

Details founded


Details founded in New York City as "Office Details, Inc."

Wigand Corp. purchased


Wigand Corp. of Colorado Springs, CO and Avon Lakes, OH was acquired by the Stow & Davis division of Steelcase. It was incorporated into the Steelcase Design Partnership. Wigand was originally founded in 1968 with a focus on mill work.

Steelcase Healthcare founded


Steelcase Healthcare was founded. [Exact date is unknown, c.1993.]

Anderson Desk, Inc. acquired


Anderson Desk, Inc. of Commerce City, CA was acquired by Steelcase. It was a budget desk and seating manufacturer.

Turnstone founded


Formed to meet the needs of small businesses.

IDEO Product Development, Inc. investment


Steelcase entered into an equity investment with IDEO.

Waiko Büromöbel GmbH acquired


Waiko Büromöbel GmbH of Durlangen, Germany was acquired by Steelcase/ Strafor S.A.

Werndl Büro Möbel AG acquired


Werndl was acquired by Steelcase/ Strafor S.A. in 1998. It was originally founded in Rosenheim, Germany in 1895.

Steelcase International founded


Steelcase International was founded.

Airbourne acquired


Airbourne of France was acquired by Steelcase/ Strafor S.A. [Exact date is unknown, c.1999.]

Celestra Hauserman fully acquired

September 1999

Celestra Hauserman was fully acquired by Steelcase. It was originally located in Cleveland, OH, but moved to Solon, OH in 1991. It was founded in 1913 by E.F. Hauserman and is known for creating the first partitions. Strafor Facom S.A. formed a 50% joint venture with Celestra Hauserman in July 1998.

PolyVision purchased


PolyVision was purchased by Steelcase. It was originally founded in 1954, with an emphasis on information displays.

Custom Cable Industries owned

2001 - 2010

Custom Cable Industries of Tampa, FL was bought by Steelcase in 2001 and sold in 2010. It manufactures modular power, voice, and data products.

Ultra Group Co. Ltd. acquired


Ultra Group was acquired by Steelcase, but remained an independent organization and brand. Ultra is a leading office furniture manufacturer in China.

Coalesse founded


Coalesse founded. This was the new name for the Steelcase Premium Group (formed in 2007 from the Steelcase Design Partnership).

Business Operations

MOFC Organizational Meeting

March 12, 1912

Organization of MOFC is complete – Officers are President, A. W. Hompe; Vice President and General Manager, P. M. Wege; Treasurer, Henry Idema; Assistant, Walter Idema; Directors: Henry Vinkmulder, Philip H. Travis, Fred W. Tobey, O.H.L. Wernicke.

Broke away from Macey


Metal Office Furniture Co. began making safes and file cabinets with the MOFC, formally severing ties with Macey, because Macey was suffering from WWI and not buying much from MOFC.

First dealer


Business Furniture Company becomes the first full-fledged, independent dealer of Metal Office Furniture equipment.

Independent Dealer Network established


The Independent Dealer Network was established.

Metal Mutual Insurance Co.


MOFC along with other Grand Rapids metal manufacturers combined forces to offer insurance to employees as required under the Workers Compensation Act.

Trademarks registered in Argentina


Trademarks were registered in Argentina, as the first instance of MOFC entering international markets.

Factory temperatures lowered


Factory temperatures were lowered to reduce costs and keep as many people as possible employed during the Depression.

Reduced pay and hours


MOFC reduced pay and hours in order to keep as many employees on the payroll as possible during the Depression.

Employee bonuses


MOFC began offering bonuses to employees.

25-year Anniversary


Retirement benefits


MOFC began offering profit-sharing retirement benefits to employees. They were one of 250 such plans in existence in the U.S.

Steelcase Incorporated

December 1, 1954

MOFC shareholders voted to adopt the highly-recognized Steelcase trademark as the company name, becoming Steelcase, Incorporated on December 1, 1954.

Free Radio commercials


Free to dealers
Company first

Steelcase TV commercials

April 1955

Steelcase sold TV commercials to dealers to air in their locations.

Junior Achievement


Steelcase becomes a sponsor
Verify if still participate, or when involvement ceased

Designated largest manufacturer in industry


1,000,000 plus sq. ft.

Steelcase Foundation founded


50-year Anniversary


First company jet


Cessna Citation 421

GR Junior College tool & die apprenticeship program begins


Grand Valley State College Module Mobile trailer


Brought to Steelcase for employees to take courses and learn at their own pace

Dental plan announced


Was there one before this?

First CAD system used


Steelcase Counseling and Referral Service established


Louis Harris & Associates studies


“The Steelcase National Study of Office Environments: Do They Work?”

First instances of User Centered Design (assuming Steelcase used the results of the study to change products)

Every product could be seen as UCD, but this was the first study commissioned by Steelcase

Plans begin for Energy Recovery Plant


Turning waste into energy, an environmental protection measure

Study - Comfort and Productivity in the Office of the 80s


Louis Harris & Associates study

Chicago Electrical Code requirements met


First systems furniture manufacturer to do so
11/1979 – Initial approval; 4/1980 – Further approvals

“People are our most important asset”


The perpetual Steelcase belief

Steelcase dependants offered $2000 education loans


Summer hiring was down

Computerized program for space planning and employee needs


Industry/ company first, find out who wrote the program

American Productivity Center survey


Steelcase commissioned the industry’s first office productivity measurement

Computer-aided space planning product catalog


Industry first

Impact of lighting computer program


Industry first

Predicts the impact of lighting on office productivity

75-year Anniversary


Lean Manufacturing


Flow-based “batch” process that is focused on throughput, rather than on scales of efficiencies

Steelcase Public Stock Offering


100-year Anniversary



Construction, Renovation, Purchase, Sale

Direct factory branch


The MOFC direct factory branch was located at 453 Greenwich, and it was more than just a warehouse.

Don Mills, Ontario plant


First international production location

In-plant medical care offered


Desk Plant

Credit Union opens


Verify date, possibly 1967

Camp Swampy

1971 - 2007

Construction on employee recreation area begins. 2007 - divestiture of Camp Swampy to the Huron-Manistee National Forest.

Picture of Camp Swampy sign

Lighting Evaluation Laboratory


Industry/ company first

Intended to discover ways to cut office energy costs

Acoustics Lab opened


Industry/ company first

Comprehensive acoustics lab to test the speech privacy potential of both workstation components and complete workstations under simulated open office conditions

LEED Wood Plant


Joint Ventures

Wooden chairs sold


Wooden chairs manufactured by Milwaukee Chair Co. were offered from MOFC. Metal Office Furniture Co. saw the need to sell chairs, but did not yet have the manufacturing capacity to produce them.

Hunting-Roberts Co. offers office planning


The Hunting-Roberts Co. (the partnership on the West Coast) first began offering office planning.

Acoustics research


Partnered with the University of Michigan Engineering Research Institute to research acoustics. Produced a report on the "Vibrations Damping Treatments on Metal Office Furniture."

Steelcase/ Strafor S.A. formed


Steelcase formed a joint venture with Strafor (a division of Forges de Strasbourg), creating Steelcase/ Strafor S.A. Forges de Strasbourg was founded in France in 1919, and developed the Strafor brand (for office furniture) in 1926.

Steelcase Jersaisy Ltd. founded


Steelcase Jeraisy Ltd. was founded as a joint venture, to manufacture in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Celestra Hauserman

July 1998

Strafor Facom S.A. formed a 50% joint venture with Celestra Hauserman. It was originally of Cleveland, OH, but moved to Solon, OH in 1991. Founded by E.F. Hauserman in 1913, it was known for creating the first partition.

Wilkhahn products distributed by Vecta


Wilkhahn products were distributed by Vecta Contract of Grand Prairie, TX. Wilkening + Hahne GmbH+Co.KG was founded in 1907 in Bad Münder, Germany, with an emphasis on seating. The name was later changed to Wilkhahn after WWII. [Exact date is unknown, c.2000.]


Peter Martin Wege is born


Peter Martin Wege is born to German immigrant, Conrad Wege and Caroline [Hoffmeyer] Wege (2nd of 6 children)

Wege Family History


Peter Martin Wege's father, Conrad Wege, originally from Darmstadt, Germany, becomes an United States Citizen
Peter Martin Wege: A Biography

A.W. Hompe, President and CEO

3/14/1912 - 1/15/1914

A.W. Hompe was President and CEO of Metal Office Furniture Co.

P.M. Wege, President and CEO

1/15/1914 - 2/19/1943

Peter Martin Wege was President and CEO of Metal Office Furniture Co.

First West Coast sale


David D. Hunting Sr. makes the first sale on the West Coast. He has to ask another dealer to help "fill the [rail]car" to send the shipment. [Exact year unknown, c.1920s.]

P.M. Wege travels east in search of product ideas


PM Wege travels the eastern U.S. to find wood products that can be made more cheaply from steel, as a means of surviving the Depression.

P.M. Wege, Chairman

2/19/1943 - 6/22/1947

Peter Martin Wege was Chairman of the Board.

W.D. Idema, President and CEO

2/19/1943 - 4/15/1961

Walter D. Idema was President and CEO of Metal Office Furniture Co./ Steelcase Inc.

W.D. Idema, Chairman

2/28/1961 - 5/9/1974

Walter D. Idema was Chairman of the Board.

W.C. Davis, President and CEO

4/15/1961 - 5/5/1966

Wendell C. Davis was President and CEO of Steelcase.

R.C. Pew II, CEO

5/5/1966 - March 1989

Robert C. Pew II was CEO of Steelcase.

R.C. Pew II, President

5/5/1966 - 1980

Robert C. Pew II was President of Steelcase.

R.C. Pew II, Chairman

5/9/1974 - March 1999

Robert C. Pew II was Chairman of the Board.

W.D. Idema, Honorary Chairman


Walter D. Idema was named Honorary Chairman of the Board. [Exact date unknown, c.1975.]

F.H. Merlotti Sr., President

1980 - December 1990

Frank H. Merlotti Sr. was President of Steelcase.

F.H. Merlotti Sr., CEO

March 1989 - December 1990

Frank H. Merlotti Sr. was CEO of Steelcase. [Exact dates unknown.]

J.K. Myers, President and CEO

December 1990 - July 1994

Jerry K. Myers was President and CEO of Steelcase.

J.P. Hackett, President and CEO

December 1994

James P. Hackett is President and CEO of Steelcase.

R.C. Pew III, Chairman

March 1999

Robert C. Pew III is Chairman of the Board.

R.C. Pew II, Chairman Emeritus

March 1999

Robert C. Pew II was named Chairman Emeritus of the Board.


Architectural Solutions, Education Solutions, Healthcare, Integrated Technologies, Seating, Storage, Tables, Wood Solutions, Workspace Solutions, Worktools

Safes and file cabinets first produced


P.M. Wege bent sheet steel at right angles to form “steel cases” – steel safes that are lighter, yet stronger than iron (acquiring 6 patents). These safes and file cabinets were designed to meet the needs of their client/dealer/partner, Macey.

Steel welds introduced


Introduced the use of steel welds in the manufacture of desks.

Victor wastebaskets produced


Designed the industry's first metal wastebasket, to reduce the risk of office fires.

Boston Customs House desks


The first desk (the "601") produced was for the Boston Customs House. The government required all metal furniture for a skyscraper and MOFC caught wind of the bid and threw a mockup together, and got the bid even though another company offered to do it cheaper (but that company's product wasn’t of high enough quality). These desks were originally finished in a wood-grain to resemble the wooden desks customers were used to.

Narrow bead binding used


MOFC was the first in the industry to use narrow bead binding.

Steelcase Business Equipment


All products were now branded with the "Steelcase Business Equipment" badge.

Spray painting introduced


MOFC introduced spray painting to the furniture, which allowed for improved finishes in less time.

Improvement to desks


MOFC removed the center supports for the desks to better accommodate user knee space and allow the floor to be cleaned with greater ease.

Wood-grain finishing process


MOFC began using a new 2-week process that resulted in metal furniture with either oak or mahogany finishes (as per preferences).

Products for education


MOFC enters the education sector with custom desks for Cornell’s medical school. [Exact date unknown, c.1930s.]

Doehler metal furniture


MOFC began producing metal bed frames and other home furnishings for Doehler Metal Furniture Co. This began as a partnership, with MOFC later buying out Doehler. MOFC did this as a way to survive the Depression.

Century of Progress desk


The Century of Progress desk was unveiled at the Chicago's World's Fair. It was the industry's first island-based desk with roll-top edge.

Vegetable spray units


MOFC began producing vegetable spray units under the Terrell name. These were designed to make produce last longer in the shelves in grocery stores.

Stove pipes


MOFC manufactured stove pipes for another West Michigan company as a means of weathering the Depression. [Exact date unknown, c.1936.]

Collaboration with Frank Lloyd Wright


MOFC collaborated with Frank Lloyd Wright on the furniture for the open office layout of the Johnson Wax building. Wright designed the task-oriented furniture and MOFC manufactured it.

C Line chairs


MOFC produced and sold their first chairs.

Swatch cards


Swatch cards were first offered by MOFC.

U.S. Navy products

1941 - 1945

MOFC designed and produced furniture for the U.S. Navy on board ships during WWII. This was a means of operating within the restrictions imposed on the steel industry during the war. During this time MOFC continued to design products for after the end of the war.

Multiple 15


MOFC began producing furniture in multiples of 15 to better utilize space in offices. MOFC stopped producing all other dimensioned desks, would either rise or fall with the new concept. By 1957 every competitor (wood and steel) used these dimensions.

Mastic sound-proofing


MOFC was the first in the industry to use Mastic sound-proofing in products.

Auxiliary typewriter shelf inserts


The auxiliary typewriter shelf inserts in desks were the first in the industry to replace the box drawer.



Convertibles allowed every square foot of floor space used by desk and accessory units to be used as a working surface, broadened Multiple 15 concept.

Sunshine Styling


Sunshine Styling was the name given to the first colors introduced to the office furniture industry by D.D. Hunting. Prior to this innovation, choices were either gray or olive green.

Color sales literature


MOFC was the first in the industry to provide color sales literature.

Stainless steel binding on desks


Industry first, others were using aluminum

Contemporary designed desks


Square corners, 1” square tubular legs exposed top to base

Steelcase Coordinated Offices


Now offering more than just furniture, SCO provided customers with complete office planning, no need to share installations with competitors



Industry first matte- finish chrome - c. 1967



Union of Multiple 15 and Convertibles

Work Stations


Need to investigate further

Movable Walls


Need to verify date

Soft Seating


Clear acrylic bases that seem to make furniture float

Series 9000


Industry’s most comprehensive systems line, designed for the computerized office

Became a leader in free-standing and panel-hung furniture

430 Chair


Industry first ergonomically designed chair



Industry first modular paper handling system for use with systems furniture

Cute animation, "Timothy the Paper Tiger" video and collateral created to promote the PaperFlo.
Paper Tiger

Unitrol chair mechanism


Allowing for swivel and tilt with better control in all positions, in a 1-piece housing

50% of products offered in 1980 were not offered in 1975


Innovation is key to growth and success in the marketplace



Chair marketed to those who spend long hours at the computer

Workstations for specific tasks


Do these have a name?

Steelcase researched 50+ major corporations to develop the industry’s first comprehensive documentation of user-verified workstations for specific tasks

Sensor Chair


Industry first chair that senses and responds to the body

DesignTex fully Compostable Fabric


Steelcase Healthcare


Officially the company’s first entry into the healthcare market, but it might have gone back further, e.g. one Hackett’s Huddle mentioned the Victor wastebaskets being sold to hospitals and therefore Steelcase was always in healthcare – need to verify this; 07.1956 Steelcase Circle notes hospitals are “a mushrooming market”

Leap Introduction


Leap Chair - Revolutionary new chair with Live Back technology



Think chair is the first Steelcase product to earn Cradle-to-Cradle certification

World Events

Black Tuesday


The stock market crash, leading to the Great Depression.

Metal furniture required to cut steel consumption


Office of Price Administration (OPA) order manufacturers of metal office furniture to cut use of steel by 40 percent under monthly use for past year, warns of future drastic cuts, article in GRH November 9, 1941, p. 3

Japanese surrender


The Japanese sign the surrender agreement aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. The documents were too large for the table originally intended, so a MOFC mess table was used instead.

IRS Tax Increase


IRS tax rate increases from 10% to 13%

FICA Increase


FICA increases from $7,800 to $9,000. 5.2% rate remains the same. Those paying the maximum will give $468 to Social Security. $750 exemptions for each dependent, up from $675 in 1971

FICA Increase 2


FICA tax rate is 5.85%, unchanged from 1973. Increase on amount levied from $10,800 to $13,200

FICA Holds


FICA tax rate remains at 5.85%, wage base rises from $13,200 to $14,100

Social Security Increase


Social Security base increases from $15,300 in 1976 to $16,5000 in 1977. Tax rate will remain at 5.85%

FICA Increase 3


FICA increases from 5.85% to 6.05%; max of $20 increase for incomes $10,000 or less; climb to $106 for incomes of $17,700 or more