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The Chair That Swept the World Off its Feet

There is no greater American dream story in the furniture world than the iconic La-Z-Boy. Not only is La-Z-Boy responsible for the very first recliner, but also for revolutionizing the way millions of people around the world relax.


Edward M. Knabusch and Edwin J. Shoemaker (source:

To think it all started with two cousins, Edward M. Knabusch and Edwin J. Shoemaker in Monroe, Michigan. In 1920’s, Edward, who built furniture at Weis Manufacturing Company and Edwin, who was a farmer left their jobs to follow a passion and dream: designing and crafting furniture out of Edward’s father’s garage. Their company, Kna-Shoe Manufacturing Company, later changing to Floral City Furniture, built doll furniture and cabinets.

Then in 1928, the cousins invented an innovative chair that would change the world.

… designed for “nature’s way of relaxing.” A comfortable concept, this wood-slat folding porch chair followed the contour of a person’s body, both sitting up and leaning back. Using orange crates to mock-up and refine their idea, they invented the reclining mechanism that would sweep the world off its feet. (source:

The first upholstered recliner was a suggestion from a customer to add more comfort and make it a year-round indoor piece. The new design prompted the cousins to host a contest with their employees to come up with a name for the chair. S0me contenders were Sit-N-Snooze, Slack-Back, and Comfort Carrier. But La-Z-Boy was the winner!


La-Z-Boy’s original shop, where Knabusch and Shoemaker brought the first recliner chair to the masses in 1928, remains attached to its current headquarters. It acts as a museum, making sure the company never forgets its humble roots. (source:

Everybody wanted a Floral City Furniture, even through the Depression, when money was tight. Customers offered wheat, cows, even crackling guinea hens in exchange for furniture, which was ironic since Edwin left the farming business for furniture.

It wasn’t until 1941 that the cousins separated the reclining chair factory from Floral City Furniture and officially became La-Z-Boy Chair Company.

Ironically, between 1941 and 1946, no recliners were manufactured due to the war. Instead, La-Z-Boy made tank seats and crash pads, probably the most comfortable ones in war history, according to

The 1950’s brought TVs into most homes and La-Z-Boy would join popular culture with its highly recognizable recliners.

From Archie Bunker in “All In The Family” to Frasier Crane’s dad in “Frasier” to Joey and Chandler in “Friends,” TV characters mostly male embraced the chairs. (source:

Today, La-Z-Boy is the most recognized name in furniture and the second largest furniture maker in the U.S. Besides reclining, some La-Z-Boy chairs rock, swivel, glide, and lift. Some also feature storage, massage, heat, compartments to keep drinks cool.


The Joshua Rocker Recliner by La-Z-Boy at




Rocker recliners rock in the closed position giving you the comfort of a rocking chair and full motion of a reclining chair.





The Conner Wall-Away Recliner by La-Z-Boy.

The Conner Wall-Away Recliner by La-Z-Boy at



Wall-Away Recliners can recline to a full reclining position while remaining just inches from the wall. This space-saving mechanism is great for smaller rooms or apartments.






Carter Power Rocker Recliner by La-Z-Boy

Carter Power Rocker Recliner by La-Z-Boy at



Power Rocker Recliners recline with the push of a button. Remote control keeps the power right in your hand.







Alley Lift Chair by La-Z-Boy. The Lift Chair can be special ordered by a HomeWorld Home Furnishing Consultant.



Lift chairs make it easier to get in and out of your recliner. Simple push a button to gentle lift the chair to a standing position.




Besides recliners, La-Z-Boy also manufactures motion sofas, stationary sofas, and sectionals, as well as coffee tables, bookcases, and entertainment consoles. They also offer a comprehensive special order program with hundreds of fabric and leather options including every little detail, such as welting and wood finishes. At HomeWorld Furniture, our dedicated staff is here to help you find the furniture that will enrich your life.  Whether that means finding multi-functional pieces to optimize a small space, bringing spacious comfort to movie nights, or taking home the perfect table to gather with friends.

Since 1928, La-Z-Boy has been committed to bring comfort to the world. The legacy continues with a new generation. Hear the words from Chris Knabusch, grandson of La-Z-Boy’s co-founder:


About Terri Dux

When not watching her favorite TV channel, HGTV, Terri likes crafting, gardening, and thrifting at neighborhood garage sales.

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