Portraits of War: Giant Furniture Company

Author: Jessica A. Bandel

One of the more interesting government contracts fulfilled by a North Carolina manufacturer during the war years was held by Giant Furniture Company. Established in 1910, Giant Furniture was one of High Point’s most successful furniture manufacturers of the time. The company had wide distribution within the United States and even some foreign business and was conducting $500,000 to $600,000 in business each year.

By the start of the war, it was considered one of the strongest furniture companies in the city. Giant’s modern equipment and expansive facilities made it an ideal contractor for government work, and so in 1918 it undertook a contract to produce airplane propellers. The resulting propellers were typically made of North Carolina hardwoods like white oak and were installed on Gnome, Curtiss, Penguin, and Liberty aircraft engines. As with other manufacturers in the state, Giant’s government work came to an abrupt end when news of the armistice broke in November 1918.