Our Story

Murphy Chair Company was founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1872 by M.J. Murphy, who was president of the company until his death, January 1940.  The history of the Murphy Chair Company is as rich as it is long.

M.J. Murphy was a young entrepreneur that began the Murphy family business at the young age of 20 with $2,000 in money borrowed from his father. M.J. would eventually grow the Murphy Chair Company to become at its peak the largest chair manufacturing company in the world. He would go on to become a leading manufacturer of his time and founding member of the Detroit Downtown Business Association as well as a member of the board of a young General Motors Co.

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Murphy Detroit

Griswold Street in the heart of downtown Detroit, circa 1872
Fourth and Porter Streets, circa 1879
Harper Avenue, junction of Grand Trunk and Lake Shore railroads, circa 1890

In 1872, the original Murphy Chair Company was founded in Detroit by M.J. Murphy following his purchase of the C.H. Dunks Bed Spring Manufacturing. By 1874 M.J. had changed the name to M.J. Murphy & Co. and had switched from bed springs to manufacturing wooden chairs as the only product line.

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Murphy Owensboro

931 Wing Avenue, circa 1917
118 West 4th Street, #1021, current

The original Detroit Murphy Chair Company manufacturing plant moved to Owensboro, Kentucky in 1916 and continued to prosper in Owensboro delivering hundreds of thousands of handcrafted chairs to its customers around the world.

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Our People

The Murphy Chair Company is a family-owned business that has been managed by descendants of founder M.J. Murphy since 1872. More important than the Murphy family, however, are the thousands of individuals that have made Murphy Chair Company successful.

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Michael Joseph (M.J.) Murphy


Stephen (Steve) Michael Johnson

General Manager
Great-Great Grandson of M.J. Murphy
5th Generation