Limbert CompanyCharles. P

Biography

Prior to his entry into furniture manufacturing, Charles Limbert had extensive experience in the sale of furniture. His father had been a furniture dealer, and Charles worked as a salesman for a company in Indiana and the famous J.A. Colby Co. of Chicago. In 1889 Limbert formed a partnership with another salesman, Philip J. Klingman. Together they served as sales agents for several manufacturers, and leased showroom space to out-of-town companies at the Grand Rapids Furniture Market. While the partnership dissolved in 1892, Limbert continued to represent other manufacturers for more than a decade. Limbert made frequent trips to the centers of the European Arts and Crafts Movement, and to the Netherlands, to study historical furniture styles and modern furniture production.

The man who designed Limbert's most sophisticated pieces may have been Austrian-trained William J. Gohlke. According to Don Marek's Arts and Crafts Design: The Grand Rapids Contribution, he designed for the company at least between 1909 and 1914, and became a vice-president in 1921. He was likely familiar with the Vienna Secessionist Movement, and its influence can be clearly seen in Limbert's Arts and crafts designs.

D.B.K. Van Raalte appeared as part of the sale force at Limbert by 1916, and became one of the controlling officers upon Charles Limbert's death in 1923. Van Raalte apparently gained even greater control, because by 1927 ads and the company logo read "Limbert Furniture, By Van Raalte Craftsmen".

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