Charleston Forge has a long history of hand-building, beautiful, high quality, steel, wood, and leather furniture. We have an extensive catalog of products and do a large amount of custom work and have built product for retailers such as Room & Board, Restoration Hardware, Crate & Barrel and Bloomingdales, just to name a few.
We thought we'd share some more pictures from our North Carolina workshop. Top left, hand-forging tapered legs for a prototype table. Top right, powdercoating (painting) a steel chair frame. Bottom right, the welding of a custom console being finished up. Bottom left, a blacksmith's sketch and his tools sitting by his workspace. Just more evidence that at Charleston Forge, it's always American Made.
My grandfather, of German descent, was a very creative guy. He wasn't an artist, that I know of, but he was always conjuring up something that nobody else had thought of, or if they did they had never acted on the thought.
Back in his day, most homes that were fortunate enough to have some sort of central heating burned coal. The furnace was in the basement so one had to carry the coal in buckets from where the coal delivery truck dumped in the yard to the basement. Pop, as we called him, poked a hole in his basement wall and installed a motorized conveyor system that delivered the coal to a bin right beside his furnace. He never patented the system that he created but he should have.
Sometime back in the late 1940's he made an elaborate Christmas tree stand that would take me too long to explain, just know that he loved having people over to their house to have their picture made by the tree. Honey, my grandmother, held the camera and Pop would always tell his friends (soon to become his victims) to look at the tree and touch it so they didn't look so posed in the picture. The moment they touched the tree, he mashed a button and the tree would fall right into the friend's arms. Honey would always catch the terrified looks on their faces as they thought they had destroyed Pop and Honey's beautiful Christmas tree. We have hundreds and hundreds of pictures of their friends with the funniest looks on their faces. That tree stand still exists but I think the last time my Dad rigged it up in the house I grew up in was over forty years ago. Those of you who remember the TV Show called Candid Camera, they once contacted my Dad to see if they could film it but Dad turned them down. It was our secret to keep until now.
I'm no artist either but I think some of Pop's creative chromosomes worked their way into my life. The beautiful little table that we just gave away reinforces that in my mind. He was always thinking of things to do or make that not everyone else would even dream of. I'm in the furniture business and it's a fashion business so I'm always dreaming of shapes and components and techniques and colors and whatever I can do that not everybody else is doing.
The cast glass top on this little table has been laying around our shop for several years. I knew it was something special because I haven't seen this type of glass used as a table top anywhere in the industry. It's made by pouring molten glass into a mold, causing it to cure with gentle waves and wrinkles and air bubbles. It's not perfect, but it's perfect. It's a slow laborious process and we couldn't introduce it into the market because the source we got this piece from couldn't deliver the quantity we'd need. Finally, we found a glass artist who is able to provide the quantities we need, and like me and Pop, he is creative enough to figure out how to make it work, so here we go.
Congratulations Vicki, you just won something very special. Copies are sure to come, but you have an original. If you take care of it and this story, I'll bet that when the next generation rolls around, some kin of yours will have a very valuable piece of American made furniture from Charleston Forge. Thank you for wanting it so bad and appreciating it so much.
So we are inviting you to come visit us here in the beautiful High Country and see for yourself what goes into making Charleston Forge furniture. Tours are Tuesdays between 9 a.m.and 3 p.m. and you must call ahead to make a reservation. Below left is an image of our powder coating system in operation, below right is one of our welders at work on a baker's rack. For more images from our workshop floor check out our Workshop page on the website. If you're interested in scheduling a tour give us a call at 828.264.0100. We look forward to seeing you.
I'm a very visual person so they took me to Anthropologie, a very hip women's clothing, accessories and home decor store in Greensboro. They said, "Look, Listen, Smell, Feel, Understand... DO IT!!
I saw fresh colors, unique layout, and great presentation. I heard good music, energetic music, power but not pounding. I could smell the fresh flowers, and the candles burning, not sweet, just right. I felt the texture of the clothes, the reclaimed wood and the barely finished metal components of floor mirrors and display racks and the yarn that some creative genius arranged to form a display that just made me think, "how simple, how cool"! The result? Smiling customers, happy sales people, busy sales people, and a busy cash register.
On many levels I saw similarities between what we do here at Charleston Forge and the great things going on at Anthropologie - but I learned a great deal too. Thank you ladies. It was a great day. I get it! LET"S DO IT!
- Art Barber, Chairman/CEO
Three weeks later, sitting in my office, the phone rings. "This is ABC NEWS in New York and we're initiating a project that will feature furniture that is made in America". I immediately hit the mute button on my phone and screamed for Susan to come to my office right away. She heard, as my witness that it was one of Diane Sawyer's contributing reporters and we got interviewed right then and there. After the call, the reporter sent us her contact information by email and then we checked her out on the web. Can you imagine the sight of two grandparents running and screaming through the office telling our staff of what had just happened! We called our parents, our friends, our vendors and our banker. Wow-can this be real?!!
The next day there are emails flying all through our industry about the ABC News project encouraging everyone making furniture in America to contact ABC to get in on the project. What a compliment!! They had already contacted us. Whether we are lucky enough to land on national tv or not, this will bring exposure to the furniture industry and especially to those of us who have fought so hard not to send our jobs overseas. Thank you Diane Sawyer and ABC and congratulations to all of you American manufacturers--no matter what you make!!
You can link to the ABC News clip here: ABC News: A Call to Buy Goods Made in America
- Art Barber, Chairman/CEO
"Made in America" is not just a phrase at Charleston Forge, it's our passion.
It's the result of a desire to create beautiful products in a wonderful country and to come to work every day feeling good about what you make and where you make it. Our furniture speaks to that. We have no assembly line, no fast-paced production.
For more than a quarter of a century, our artisans have combined age-old blacksmithing and woodworking skills with the finest quality materials to create products that are made to be used and enjoyed. There is no machine made that can match the sense of pride and hand that shows in every piece.
Solid steel, solid wood, durable leathers, designer fabrics, a multitude of finishes and a desire to serve make us a good choice for your next project.
Think of us when you need classic and casual, and you want American made.
- Art Barber, Chairman/CEO
- October 2012 Furniture Market — High Point, NC
- The Monarch Bench
- Solid Steel and Solid Wood Tops. Beautiful.
- Introducing our New Collections
- Solid Steel: Pure & Simple
- The Charleston Forge Oxford Bed in House Beautiful Magazine
- A Rare Red Maple Tree Stump Table Base :: Exclusively from Charleston Forge
- Leonardo da Vinci had it right :: Charleston Forge :: Furniture made in NC
- A Cocktail Table Prototype :: Charleston Forge :: Quality Furniture Made in America
- Pure and Simple :: A Charleston Forge Custom Table