Universal York

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Recliners Popular in York County

1916 Zarfos Furniture ad
Some of my past posts have been on York County furniture manufacturers, including George Dowdel’s bedbug-proof beds in the 1820s through Charles Strack’s furniture and coffins in the 1840s to the upscale Glen Traditionals in the 1960s.
York County people also appreciated their local furniture stores. Generations of customers bought good quality, sturdy furniture from several generations of the same families in the furniture business. The two examples in the ads shown here, Zarfos and Burg (later Zarfos Furniture) of Red Lion and W. F. Glatfelter (later Glatfelter Furniture) of Dallastown are from the recently reprinted 1916 York Hospital Auxiliary Cookbook.

1916 Glatfelter Furniture ad
Both ads feature recliners push button recliners, predating the well-known La-Z-Boy by about a dozen years.

Recliners supposedly date back several hundred years, at least to the court of Louis XVI and the time of Napoleon. Philadelphian Henry Kennedy reportedly obtained the first U.S. patent for a recliner in 1841. The local retailers were selling the ones depicted in 1916, but it was cousins Edward Knabusch and Edwin Shoemaker who popularized the comfortable chairs. They formed their Floral City Furniture Company in Monroe, Michigan in 1927 and launched the La-Z-Boy in 1928.
Over the years my husband and I bought many a piece of furniture and many yards of carpet from Zarfos Furniture, as did our families before us. In fact, I am writing this blog post on my La-Z-Boy from Zarfos. Sadly, the store closed down in 2007 after being in business for over 100 years. Glatfelter is still operating on Main Street in Dallastown, probably one of the last of the many family-owned furniture retailers that used to dot the county.