Morris Futorian (1907-1994) emigrated with his family from the Ukraine in 1923 at age fifteen. After performing briefly in the Chicago and New York Yiddish theater circuits, Futorian, along with his father, went to work as an upholsterer in the Glabman Brothers factory in Chicago. After losing his job during the Great Depression, Futorian began his own hand-made furniture business at home. By 1947, his company employed seventy-five workers and had moved to an uptown warehouse. While successful, Futorian was frustrated at the slow pace of production and he was unable to find enough skilled workers needed to further expand his business. Inspired by a visit to a Detroit automobile assembly plant, he decided that he would mass produce furniture using assembly-line methods.
|This chair was produced in New |
Albany, Mississippi, in 1960 and
shipped to a customer in Texas. A
pair of these chairs recently sold
on a "retro" furniture website
and included the original
delivery slip (below).
Looking for a location with a good supply of wood and an available labor force, Futorian selected New Albany, Mississippi, on the recommendation of E.L. Robinson, and industrial agent for the GM&O Railroad. Futorian opened his new plant in a 50,000 sq. ft. building on September 13, 1948, and named it the Stratford Company after the Chicago street he lived on. By keeping warehousing and inventory costs low, Futorian was able to quickly expand his business. In 1952, he opened a second plant in Okolona, where he produced ‘Stratolounger’ recliners. By 1954, he was supporting three production and two supply factories in Mississippi and two North Carolina factories. In 1964, his companies were acquired by Mohasco Industries.
Futorian, who died in 1994, was among eight inductees to the inaugural American Furniture Hall of Fame. He was known as the “Henry Ford of