The origin of La-Z-Boy Inc. dates back to the 1920s. The company has evolved, innovated, and become a well-known and trusted manufacturer of high-quality and comfortable home furnishings.
Edward M. Knabusch and Edwin J. Shoemaker invested in the Monroe, Michigan, furniture business in 1927. Their goal was to create a chair that embodied “nature’s way of relaxing.” A wood-slat porch chair with a reclining mechanism was prototyped and refined using orange crates. Afterward, Knabusch and Shoemaker upholstered their innovation and marketed it as a year-round chair. It was a success; to name it, La-Z-Boy was the winner of a contest.
La-Z-Boy was a Michigan success story, but its national recognition would wait until the postwar boom. Around the same time that TVs hit the market, and the epic wave of suburbanization started rolling, the brand returned to consumer production after surviving WWII by making tank seats. Then, in 1960, the “Reclina-Rocker” debuted, a spring-driven rocking chair with an anchored base and a side-lever-operated recliner with a footrest. Chairs weren’t marketed as TV accessories but didn’t need to be. La-Z-Boys were the perfect accompaniment to Zeniths and Philcos for Americans.
The 1970s were an era of bell-bottoms, disco, and innovation. Thus, La-Z-Boy released the Lounger. This new chair can be placed a few inches from the wall and still recline with ease. The company also entered a new market by offering swivel and reclining desk chairs. As a result, hospitals, nursing homes, and offices began using durable yet comfortable chairs. As new products and markets emerged, new advertising followed. La-Z-Boy partnered with celebrities like Alex Karras & Susan Clark, Uncle Sam, Mr.Magoo, and Johnny Carson to promote their new products.