It seems that since the first Nichols set foot into the New World, they’ve been producing fine quality chairs and passing on that skill to the next generation. As early as 1762, there was a Nichols Brothers Chair Manufactory in Westminster, Massachusetts, which was worked by bewhiskered Nichols too numerous to mention. As the country grew, the Nichols’ chair business grew, too.
By 1857, it was already an established company that became the benchmark in craftsmanship. At the turn of the century, the business was moved to neighboring Gardner, Massachusetts to gain easier access to the railway. The second of two fires leveled the plant, but adversity was turned into opportunity. An updated brick factory was opened in 1907 by Charles Nichols, with his new partner Reuben Stone, under the name Nichols & Stone.
Having survived these natural disasters, Nichols & Stone continued to expand. By the 1930s, Edmund L. Nichols and Albert Stone had taken the helm. Responding to consumer preferences at the time, they pioneered in merchandising by specializing in Windsor chairs and Boston rockers, building the brand awareness still enjoyed today.
Although Mr. Stone left no heir, the stellar reputation of Nichols & Stone had been established by then, and the name remained unchanged. Under the steady leadership of Carlton E. Nichols, Sr., a new focus was chosen to further strengthen Nichols & Stone. As manufacturing technology improved, machinery was carefully selected which enhanced efficiency, without sacrificing integrity.
When the 8th generation Nichols, Carlton, Jr., known as “Tuck”, entered the business in 1968, he looked at the market trends and concentrated on expanding additional lines of products requested by Nichols & Stone consumers. He figured a company that could make a complicated Windsor chair better than anyone could no doubt build fine dining room tables, cabinets, and occasional furniture, so he expanded the line. And he was right.
The 1970’s brought more change to Nichols & Stone, while the basics remained unaltered. The early colonial designs used in each of the Nichols & Stone collections grew to include Shaker, traditional, and American country designs by 1980, and additional offerings in the combined stain and paint finishes which Nichols & Stone had made famous a century earlier.
In 2008, the Audi family, owners of L. & J.G. Stickley of Manlius, New York, purchased the intellectual property, designs and other assets of Nichols & Stone. Being sensitive to the history and importance of the Nichols & Stone name, the family invited Tuck Nichols to work with them through the transition period to assist with the continuation of the company’s proud legacy. Several other Nichols & Stone craftsmen also joined Stickley at this time. The Nichols & Stone product line is offered as a separate division, maintaining its historic logo and the quality and design that has made it so popular.
The company’s traditional styling has been enhanced by generations of craftsmen working to perfect techniques of construction and finish. The clean graceful lines and the patina of the solid woods are unmistakably Nichols & Stone. You need only look for the Nichols & Stone shield burned into each piece to verify your choice of the finest solid wood furniture made by the oldest furniture name in America.