HOW THE TRADITION BEGAN
For more than six generations, The Kittinger Furniture Company has set an unparalleled standard among manufacturers of fine furniture.
The company was established in 1866 – one year after peace between the North and South was restored. It was a time when America held a wealth of natural resources, a burgeoning free–trade market, and a massive western frontier waiting to be developed. Industrial entrepreneurs were filled with high hopes and magnificent expectations. George and Oliver Colie were such entrepreneurs.
The Colies’ opened a paper factory in the bustling Great Lakes port of Buffalo, New York. Soon thereafter, they also began to manufacture upholstered furniture and that business boomed. In 1885, they opened a furniture plant that produced beautiful hand–crafted furniture in classic 18th century styles.
When George Colie’s son-in-law, Irvine J. Kittinger, took the helm The Kittinger Furniture Company was born. To Irvine Kittinger, quality was paramount. “Our business is not primarily to turn furniture into money, but to produce something really worthwhile.” he wrote.
In 1966, the Kittinger family sold the company to General Interiors Corporation and thus an “Era of Revolving Door Ownership begins:
1975 General Mills Corporation
1986 Chicago-Pacific Corporation
1988 Maytag Corporation
1989 Ladd Furniture Corporation
1990 Michael Carlow private investor
Although the respect for the furniture industry varied by owners, the quality of Kittinger Furniture remained excellent and was always the pride of it’s skilled workers! Unfortunately, in 1995, due to mismanagement and under a federal indictment, the Elmwood Avenue doors to Kittinger were closed forever. A pending auction loomed and this chaotic Era in Kittinger history came to an end.