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Furniture History Deep Dive - Johnson Carper
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Furniture History Deep Dive - Johnson Carper

This week we decided to look into the history of mid century modern furniture maker, Johnson Carper.

We have a lot of admiration for the design and durability of Johnson Carper furniture (we have a full bedroom set and a desk for our 3 year old 😊).

Most of the info that I have for you on Johnson Carper centers around their furniture lines, so let's start there!

Johnson Carper Designs

Check out the Johnson Carper "Ronda" nine drawer dresser that is part of this week's drop. 

We also had coordinating pieces in earlier drops (the chest, shelf, headboard and nightstand, and a six drawer lowboy, tallboy and headboard).

Original ad for Johnson Carper Ronda - from @boston_modern

One of our favorite Johnson Carper designs is the Delray! We had one of the modular bedroom sets that Johnson Carper made, pictured below (see end of the article for the Chats with Jeff episode on that!)

This ad also from @boston_modern

Another notable Johnson Carper dresser design is the Brentwood, which features curving drawers. Say what you like about formica/laminate tops, but these dressers still look great after a lifetime of use!

Here's a close up of a Brentwood that we sold last year.

Ad also from @boston_modern - he is a great resource for identification!

History

So let's get into some of the history of Johnson Carper.

Like many of its contemporaries, Johnson Carper was located near the Appalachian mountains, in Roanoke, Virginia. My internet sleuthing suggests that the company was started in 1927.

Apparently, by looking at the ads that we have seen, Johnson Carper worked with designers like Edmond Spence, who designed their Delray line. Edmond Spence was a pretty renowned designer in the middle of the century for his Danish modern designs!

Checkout this video featuring the company and its factory:

 

I found it interesting how they showed the veneering process.

I wasn't able to find out a lot about the company, but the well loved TV show "I Love Lucy" featured their furniture!  Two of their Fashion Trend bedroom sets were featured in Lucy and Desi's on set bedroom.

 

This was their first set - photo credit WikiCommons

Here's their second set with twin beds (same style as our son's) photo credit Flickr

Lastly, here is an Instagram video that Jeff did about the Johnson Carper Delray set that we had last year!  

 

Please be sure to comment and share any info you might have about Johnson Carper!

9 comments on Furniture History Deep Dive - Johnson Carper

  • Woody Chisom
    Woody ChisomFebruary 03, 2024

    My father probably applied some part the finish to most all of these pieces of furniture, as he worked in the finishing department for 42 years. This was a multistep process on an assembly line.

    As a side note I worked for the company as a maintenance technician for 10 years myself.

  • Tracey Nix
    Tracey Nix February 03, 2024

    I’m selling a full johnson carper bedroom suit. 9 drawer dresser with mirror, night stand, highboy, full sized bed.

    I have no idea what to ask but it’s in Indianapolis and in perfect condition.

  • Brenda
    Brenda August 30, 2023

    I have the Delray set and one of the wood pull handles was missing when I got it. Do you know of any places that might have pieces for them, drawer pulls, legs. Etc.

  • Linda Cluney
    Linda CluneyJune 18, 2023

    I have a trend setter set by Johnson. I redesigned the bottom to add legs. They are stunning now.

  • Anna
    AnnaJune 18, 2023

    Hi. I saw a dresser that was a lacquer finish and looked almost yellow. Was this originally a natural color that yellowed over time? I cannot find a single piece ANYWHERE by Johnson Carper that is this color, yet it certainly does not look like it was refinished.
    Any knowledge would be greatly appreciated. Would love love love to find the matching nightstand and headboard!
    Thanks!

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