L. & J.G. Stickley

The youngest two Stickley brothers, Leopold (pictured above) and John George Stickley (pictured below)—or L. & J.G. Stickley, as they were later known together—were born in Osceola, Wisconsin in 1869 and 1871 respectively. After their father left the family, their mother Barbara moved all eleven of her children to Brandt, Pennsylvania, where her brother Schuyler C. Brandt owned a chair factory. Leopold and John George's older brother Gustav Stickley started working at the factory and later established a furniture factory of his own.

In 1891, John George teamed with his brother Albert at Stickley Brothers Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Leopold Stickley began working as a foreman at Gustav Stickley Company in Eastwood, New York in 1899. The following year, John George left Grand Rapids and he and Leopold acquired Collins, Sisson & Pratt Furniture Company in Fayetteville, New York to start their own venture. Unlike Gustav Stickley, who was mostly inspired to spread the Arts & Crafts handmade ethos in America, Leopold and John George were more financially motivated. By 1902, Leopold also contracted with Chicago's Tobey Furniture Company to supply Mission Style designs anonymously.

Leopold and John George finally incorporated in 1904 as L. & J.G. Stickley Co., having initially called their operation The Onondaga Shops. Production expanded quickly and they released their Arts and Crafts and Simple Furniture Built on Mission Lines at the Grand Rapids Furniture Exhibition in 1905. Given his prior experience as Gustav Stickley's foreman, Leopold was able to create Arts & Crafts designs very similar to Gustav's to appeal to the market. However, Leopold and John George had a much different philosophical approach. They advertised their processes as modern and "scientific," without "attempt[ing] to follow the traditions of a bygone day." This enabled them to stay in business while adapting to ever-changing tastes.

In 1918, when Gustav Stickley was forced out of business as a result of bankruptcy, Leopold and John George purchased his Craftsman Shops, combining the two leading Mission Style furniture firms. In the 1920s, as Arts & Crafts furniture fell out of general favor, L. & J.G. Stickley Co. debuted its well-received Cherry Valley collection in the Colonial Revival style. John George died in 1921, but Leopold ran the company until his death in 1957. Alfred Audi acquired L. & J.G. Stickley Co. in 1974 and the company is still in business today. It operates under the name Stickley-Audi and produces faithful reproductions of various lines.

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