Gustav Stickley

Stickley, Gustav

Carroll Gantz
Stickley, Gustav
Settle by Gustav Stickley

Gustav Stickley (1857-1942) was a designer and follower of the Arts and Crafts movement who entered the furniture business with many brothers in 1886. Gustav's brother, Charles Stickley, had in 1884 formed the Stickley-Brandt Furniture Company in Binghamton, NY and produced Victorian design furniture until it went bankrupt in 1919. Two of the brothers, George and Albert Stickley, moved to Grand Rapids, MI in 1891, making furniture at their firm, Stickley Brothers Company, which closed in 1907. Two other brothers, Leopold and J. George Stickley, opened a factory in Fayetteville, NY, under the name L. and J. G. Stickley Company, made furniture, some designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Gustav established his own firm in 1898, designing and making his own furniture in Syracuse, NY. He introduced his first line, called The New Furniture, at the Grand Rapids Furniture Show in 1900. The style was extremely plain and functional, compared with most Victorian furniture. In 1901, Gustav changed the name of his company to Craftsman and adapted the motto "Als Ik Kan" ("If I can"). He also began publication of a magazine, titled, The Craftsman, promoting his new design concept of "simplicity, durability and quality," and regarding his work as his personal "mission." Gustav was joined in 1903 by talented designer Harvey Ellis (1852-1904), and their furniture line met with such outstanding success that manufacture soon became nationally franchised and they moved operations to New York City in 1905. But demand soon exceeded production capability, and imitators abounded. Because of such proliferation, furniture produced by Stickley and others influenced by him became known generically as, "Mission Furniture." Massive imitation and competition of mission-style designs resulted in bankruptcy for Gustav in 1915. In 1916, his brothers' firm, L. and J. G. Stickley Company, purchased Gustav's factory and continued to operate it as the Stickley Manufacturing Company.

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
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