THOMASVILLE, N.C. — By the early 1920s, Thomasville was known as “The Chair Town,” thanks in large part to the Thomasville Chair Co.
In 1922, the company built a 30-foot-tall replica of a Duncan Phyfe armchair in the center of town. “The project kept three men working 20 hours a day for one week and took the same amount of lumber that would have been required to construct 100 ordinary chairs,” U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, R-N.C., said in 2001.
Over the years, the chair has been considered the world’s largest, a title that could be disputed. The chair — made of lumber and Swiss steer hide — was scrapped in 1936, less than two decades after it originally appeared.
However, circa 1950, local organizations built a new chair out of concrete. The city apparently covered the cost of the base while contributions covered the cost to construct the chair, according to a September 1949 article in The Dispatch newspaper.
In 1960, while in the city on a campaign whistle stop, then Presidential Candidate Lyndon B. Johnson climbed onto the chair to greet supporters. The chair was refurbished in 1993 and re-dedicated in 2001.
Over the years, the chair has been vandalized and featured in television commercials, but it has stood the test of time. While the chair may no longer be the world’s largest, it’s the centerpiece of civic pride here in Thomasville.