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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thayer Coggin

Thayer Coggin
Thayer Coggin (1922-2003) was born in Denton, North Carolina. During the Depression, his father moved the family to High Point, North Carolina, where he felt there were better opportunities for his lumber business.

As a boy, the younger Coggin asked for a claw hammer for Christmas and then promptly made his own bedroom suite. He earned college tuition money as a teenager making rocking chairs and cedar chests and attended High Point College (now High Point University).

His college education was interrupted by World War II, as he enlisted in the U. S. Army after his freshman year and served as a medic in North Africa. After the war, he had a difficult decision to make: go back to college or open a furniture company. He chose his first love and founded James Manufacturing.

He chose to produce sleeper sofas and rocking chairs that were primarily sold by Sears Roebuck and Company. He felt the designs were mundane, but he knew his choice was a pragmatic one for a new company. In the early 1950s, still dreaming of producing innovative designs, he went to Europe and saw modern design for the first time. He said of the experience, "The simple clean lines appealed to my sense of beauty...(their impression) hit me like a ton of bricks."

He became a contemporary furniture convert. He just needed to find the right designer. In 1953, he met with Milo Baughman, and Thayer Coggin, Inc. was formed. Of the meeting, Baughman would later remark, "For about an hour, I showed him my designs. Thayer suddenly stood up and said, 'This isn't like anything I have ever seen before, but I like it. Let's do it.'" For the next 50 years, Thayer Coggin and Milo Baughman would maintain a close and highly successful business arrangement creating furniture with sleek, horizontal lines, synnonymous with the ranch style homes that characterized post-war suburbia. Interestingly, both men died in 2003.


Slipper chairs by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin

Foyer table by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin

Club chair by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin

Sheath collection aluminum-clad table by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin

Swivel chairs by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin

Leather sofa by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin

Cube chairs by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin

Chrome and leather credenza by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin

Lounge chair by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin

Credenza by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin

Barrel chairs by Milo Baughman for Thayer Coggin


  1. The leather sofa and the credenza are beautyful!

    1. I'd love to have either one of those pieces!

  2. I wish my kids would ask for a hammer for Christmas! Love that grey sofa - it;s similar to the Florence Knoll one I want.

    1. No kidding...I'd gladly give a kid a hammer if I thought he was going to build himself a new bedroom suite. I really love that sofa too.

  3. Hey Dana, As always, thanks for the great post and info! I've been so busy rehabbing furniture I haven't had the time to check what everyone else is up to! I've always love the Baughman/Coggin designs!

    1. They had an incredibly successful business arrangement, didn't they?