Robert W. Irwin

Page 647-648 - Robert W. Irwin, president of the furniture manufacturing company which bears his name, comes of a pioneer family of Huron county, Michigan. His father, also Robert W. Irwin, came from Canada and became one of the first settlers of that county, where he operated a general store. He was one of the organizers of the county and after its erection by the state legislature was elected the first county clerk and register of deeds. In 1861,Huron county was swept by forest fires and Robert Irwin at the risk of his life saved the county records, which would otherwise have been lost to future generations. He married Elizabeth Winsor, who was also a native of Canada. Robert W. Irwin, the son of Robert W. and Elizabeth (Winsor) Irwin, came to Grand Rapids in 1889 to take a position with the Grand Rapids School Furniture Company. In 1900 he acquired a controlling interest in the Royal Furniture Company with a Mr. Hompe. This joint control of the company continued until 1911, when Mr. Irwin purchased the controlling interest. During these years, the development of the company and its steady growth in volume of business was due principally to him, and his name began to figure prominently in furniture manufacturing in Grand Rapids. In the same year in which he gained the controlling interest in the Royal Furniture Company, Mr. Irwin and business associates acquired the Phoenix Furniture Company, which had been organized in 1873 and was one of the flourishing concerns of its kind in Grand Rapids. The controlling interest in that company was secured by Mr. Irwin in 1919. The following year he consolidated the two plants under the name of the Robert W. Irwin Company, although he maintains the identity of the two older concerns. Mr. Irwin became president of the new corporation; Earle S. Irwin, vice-president; J. Stewart Clingman, secretary; and J. Frederick Lyon, treasurer. The offices of the company are maintained in the plant of the Phoenix company. Mr. Irwin is one of the leading figures in furniture manufacturing of Grand Rapids, where his company is recognized as one of the substantial and thriving concerns of its kind.

Transcriber: Nancy Myers
Created: 17 January 2004