John M. Brower

John M. Brower, secretary-treasurer and general manager of the Brower Furniture Company of Grand Rapids, brings to his business a knowledge gained through years of experience and early training by his father who was the second furniture designer to locate in Grand Rapids. He was born in Chicago, April 9, 1889, the son of John E. and Katherine (Stiles) Brower, the latter of whom, a native of Sycamore, Illinois, was the daughter of Aaron K. Stiles, the builder of the first electric street car in the United States. John E. Brower, when he came to Grand Rapids from Chicago in 1889, was the second furniture designer to locate in that city, the other being David Kendall. He became associated with the Grand Rapids Chair Company and at the same time designed furniture for the Grand Ledge and the Michigan Chair companies. Soon afterward he became a partner in the firm of Klingman, Limbert & Brower, the first of whom was the manufacturer, the second the salesman, and Brower the designer. When the Sligh Manufacturing Company suspended the making of bicycles in favor of the manufacturing of furniture, John E. Brower joined that firm, continuing in that work until the time of his death in 1916. His widow is still living. One of a family of four children, John M. Brower came to Grand Rapids with his parents when he was five months old. He attended the public schools, and then pursued a course in furniture designing at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York. Returning to Grand Rapids, he worked for a time with his father to gain sufficient grounding in the practical side of his work. An attack of the western fever necessitated a year’s residence on his uncle’s ranch in Montana. Upon his return to Grand Rapids, he started a small plant in a loft on Delaware street, where with the aid of one employee, he manufactured children’s furniture and hand-painted novelties. When the World war opened, the Stickley company began the manufacture of airplane parts, Mr. Brower’s services being asked in the capacity of superintendent. In December, 1919, he organized the present Brower Furniture Company of which he is now secretary and treasurer and general manager. The output of the firm consists of high grade occasional chairs and unfinished chairs to match the suites of other manufacturers. As manager of this concern, his long training and experience in furniture manufacturing appeared to the best advantage, and his expert knowledge combined with his excellent managerial ability has already placed the concern in a definite place in the industrial life of Grand Rapids. He was married January 4, 1915, to Gladys C. Gibson, the daughter of Charles and Nellie Gibson, and to them has been born one son. Mr. Brower is actively interested in all civic affairs, and as president of the Grand Rapids Council of Boy Scouts, and as president of the Grand Rapids branch of the Michigan Children’s Aid Society, he takes a deep interest in the youth of Grand Rapids. He is a Mason and is past president of the Kiwanis Club, being lieutenant-governor of the state organization.

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 24 March 2005