Herman Miller’s Innovation
More than 100 years ago in 1905, a small traditional-style bedroom furniture manufacturer named Star Furniture Company opened up for business in Zeeland, Michigan.
Just a few years later in 1909, the company became the Michigan Star Furniture Company. At this time, the company also hired an 18-year-old clerk by the name of Dirk Jan (D.J.) De Pree, who would become president of the company 10 years later. (pictured below)
Shortly after in 1923, De Pree renamed the company in honor of his father-in-law Herman Miller, after convincing him to purchase the majority of its shares. Early in his career as president, D.J. De Pree said his eyes were opened to the extraordinary nature and abilities of every human regardless of socioeconomic status. In an interview done in 1986, De Pree tells of how one employee-related experience changed his perspective and shaped the course of the Herman Miller inclusive culture.
When the Great Depression hit, the company made a big decision to move away from manufacturing traditional home furniture to creating products that would be more sell-able to the ever-evolving society. So De Pree hired some of the most esteemed design minds of the century including George Nelson and Charles and Ray Eames, whom along with other designers, would introduce some of the most innovative furniture designs to this day.
And the innovation unfolds.
1950 – The world’s first molded fiberglass chairs, designed by Charles and Ray Eames are introduced.
1956– The Eames Lounge Chair & Ottoman are introduced on national television – an iconic piece representing the quality of Herman Miller.
1968 – Herman Miller introduces Action Office, the world’s first open-plan modular system of panels and attaching components and catalyzes a new industry.
1976– HM introduces the Ergon Chair, kickstarting their line of high-quality ergonomic chairs.
1994– The immaculate Aeron Chair is birthed, and added to the New York Museum of Modern Art’s 20th Century Design Collection.
2002- HM introduces PostureFit, a major ergonomic breakthrough to improve lower back support and comfort. Option available with Aeron Chair.
2010-Designed as affordable and inventive, the Sayl Chair is announced as achieving the highest performance possible with the least amount of material.
2012- The Herman Miller Collection, a full spread of all the authentic classics plus more products to mix-and-match and make your own personal environment.
And this is just the beginning of why we are thankful to work with innovative Herman Miller.
For more information on the innovative history of all Herman Miller, you can visit Who Is Herman Miller?