Timeline: key dates, 1921-2021

The Telescope factory is shown under construction in 1921. The company then was known as the Telescope Cot Bed & Novelty Co. (Courtesy of Telescope Casual Furniture)

May 1921: Relocation arrangements are completed between Telescope and groups representing Granville. Planning for the new factory begins. With time passing and costs rising, Telescope officials decide to take matters into their own hands by using a company crew to begin building the Granville factory in August 1921.

Late fall 1921: Construction of the factory is completed, with the necessary equipment moved during this time.

March 1922: Full production begins in Granville, including with a new sawmill.

1920s: The company’s first “Director Chair” is produced, although it was called a “folding camp chair,” the “Premier Folding Arm Chair” or a “deck chair” at the time. The “Director Chair” name wouldn’t become official until 1953.

1927: Telescope’s first catalog book is published.

1930: Company name is changed to Telescope Folding Furniture Co.

1931: First catalog with a model on the cover is published; a model wouldn’t be on the cover again until 1961.

1932: New office is built in Granville, and the remaining departments in New York City – sales and administration – are moved to the town to complete the company’s relocation.

1936: Mettowee Lumber is established; Telescope begins buying land to source its own lumber.

1942-45: Telescope converts to producing army cots for the war effort during World War II.

Workers assemble folding chairs at Telescope in the 1950s. (Courtesy of Telescope Casual Furniture)

1948: Company starts to explore building a water tower for improved fire protection.

Oct. 7, 1949: Construction of the iconic water tower is completed by the Pittsburgh-Des Moines Steel Co. at a cost of $22,350.

1953: The term “Director Chair” is coined for the famous Telescope chair known as a “folding camp chair,” the “Premier Folding Arm Chair” or a “deck chair” before that.

1953: Telescope begins involvement with newly formed Granville Little League; employee Charlie Richards donates some land and is nicknamed “Mr. Baseball” for his efforts in advancing the league.

Granville Little League festivities in Granville, 1970. Telescope began its involvement with Little League in 1953.
(Courtesy of Telescope Casual Furniture)

1957: Aluminum furniture is introduced.

1959: The Illinois Institute of Technology compiles a list of the 100 best-designed items of modern times; No. 46 is the “original canvas deck chair,” which Telescope had been making since the 1920s and which later became known as the “Director Chair.”

1967: Four-position mini-sun chaise is introduced.

1969: Final year that wooden folding chairs and cots are produced.

1971: Mettowee Lumber becomes Mettowee Lumber and Plastics; in-house production of plastic components begins.

1975: Granvilla Collection is introduced; it is the first group of patio furniture known as a “collection.”

1977: The Gardenella Sling collection is introduced; it is the first aluminum sling collection in the casual furniture industry.

May 21, 1979: Kathy Juckett begins working at the company. She would become the CEO in 2001.

1980: Wood heating system is in use by the end of the year. The second oil crisis of the 1970s occurs around 1979, and the factory heating system – which then used coal and No. 2 oil – is converted to be powered by wood burners, fueled by scrap wood from the factory. This system is still in use today.

1986: Company changes name from Telescope Folding Furniture Co. to Telescope Casual Furniture.

Telescope’s newly renovated parking lot, a project taken on during this milestone year. (Jared Stamm / NYVT Media)

1996: Telescopecasual.com is introduced. The domain name remains the same.

December 2001: Kathy Juckett is named CEO, becoming the fifth company leader in Telescope’s history.

2003: Henry J.W. Vanderminden III receives Lifetime Achievement Award from the Summer and Casual Furniture Manufacturers Association.

2011: Robert Dudley Vanderminden Sr. receives Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Casual Furnishings Association. See video at telescopecasualnews.com/2011/09/04/bob-vanderminden-sr-honored/

Trinity Roberts works on cushions in the sewing department in July. (Jeff Foley / For NYVT Media)

2019: Telescope receives the Manufacturer of the Year Award from the International Casual Furnishings Association.

2021: Telescope celebrates 100 years in Granville.

– Compiled by Erik Pekar, Granville town historian