Originally from Linesville, Pennsylvania, Charles P. Limbert was born in 1854 into the furniture business. His father was a dealer who trained Limbert once the family moved to Akron, Ohio in 1866. After working at his father’s Akron store, Limbert became a furniture salesman for Munk & Roberts in Connersville, Indiana and later John A. Colby Company in Chicago. In 1899, Limbert and fellow salesman Philip J. Klingman set up a showroom in Grand Rapids, Michigan to exhibit products from several makers. Starting in 1894, Limbert had begun to manufacture his own chairs, which he sold at the Grand Rapids store along with furniture by firms such as Old Hickory Chair Company.
In 1902, Limbert opened his own furniture factory, Charles P. Limbert Co., with around 200 employees in Grand Rapids. The manufacturing plant moved to nearby Holland in 1906. These formative years were the most prolific in the company’s history with the release of the popular Holland Dutch Arts and Crafts Furniture line, which included both indoor and outdoor sets. Influenced by frequent research trips to the Netherlands, Limbert’s style became an amalgam of Dutch and English Arts & Crafts as well as American Mission. To impress upon customers that Limbert furniture was made by hand, the company’s logo featured a man bent dutifully over a workbench. At the Limbert factory, some processes were executed by machine, but all assembly and finishing work was done individually by hand. Until 1915, Charles P. Limbert Co. produced the same models and styles with slight variations, omissions, and additions.
During World War I and into the 1920s, Limbert shifted his focus away from Arts & Crafts lines to follow the market demand for historical furniture styles like Tudor and Renaissance Revival. Limbert was in charge of the company until 1922 when his health began to fail and he passed away the following year. Charles P. Limbert Co. would continue to operate through the 1930s. Furniture from Limbert’s prime Arts & Crafts period is now held in high esteem by collectors and examples are on view at such places as the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan and the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art in Denver, Colorado.
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