My great grandfather, Charles J. “CJ” Kindel, founded the Denver Bedding Company in 1900. He sold that company and founded the CJ Kindel Bedding Company in St. Louis in 1904. In 1912 ground breaking began on a new factory focused on wood working in Grand Rapids, MI. My grandfather (Charles M. “CM” Kindel) and great-uncle (Thomas Kindel) ran the company through the ‘60s selling our family’s share in 1964. My father worked for the company briefly before leaving Grand Rapids to help build Vail, CO in 1962.
Today the company thrives, continuing to make some of the highest quality traditionally designed furniture in the world. Today it focused on authentic reproductions of classics. An great overview of the history of the company can be found on the Kindel Furniture website.
Here those Kindel men. From left to right: Great uncle Tom Kindel, CJ Kindel, Ted Kindel, CM Kindel:
Yesterday the factory my grandfather built burned down. The company had moved to a new location and was not using the structure, so thankfully the company will not be deeply impacted and no one was hurt.
Even though our family has not had a direct interest in the Kindel Furniture Company for several decades I find this event incredibly sad. I get my “gearhead” genes from CJ and CM for sure. My dad was very mechanically inclined, but was no where near the tinkerer and inventor that my great-grandfather and grandfather were. For example, CJ invented of the hideaway bed (known as the Kindel Parlor Bed). So next time you are stuck on a pull-out bed at a hotel or your in-laws you can think of me.
You can read all about the fire and see tons of pictures here on mlive.com.
EDIT 5/24/2011 – More Links: