Celebrating Over 118 Years of Quality and Style

In the early 20th century, a small workshop in Dayton, Ohio, became the birthplace of a revolution in craftsmanship and design. What began with entrepreneurs such as Charles Kettering, Edward Deeds, and the Wright brothers, also included a young patternmaker named Harry Gerstner who envisioned a tool chest that would not only be a reliable partner to industrial workers but also an embodiment of style and quality. Little did he know that his invention would help give rise to a distinct furniture style, now known as the Dayton Industrial StyleTM, celebrated for its enduring appeal and functionality.

Gerstner’s journey into the world of furniture design started with the creation of a machinist chest that quickly became a coveted item among craftsmen. Crafted with precision and attention to detail, the chest not only held the tools of the trade but also showcased the abilities and skills of its owner. Priced at roughly a week’s wage, these tool chests were not merely functional; they were a statement of commitment to the craft.

Dayton, Ohio, provided the perfect backdrop for the development of such high-quality craftsmanship. In the early 1900s, the city was a beacon of USA manufacturing success, boasting more patents per capita than any other U.S. city. The entrepreneurial spirit and drive to produce in Dayton fueled the creation of Gerstner’s iconic tool chest, setting the stage for the birth of the Dayton Industrial Style.

As the Gerstner chests and other industrial fixtures transitioned from factories to homes, people began to recognize the functional and clean style that seamlessly integrated with various furniture styles of the time. The tough, durable chest with high-quality hardware found its place both on the factory floor and within the homes of craftsmen.

The unique amalgamation of Shaker, Craftsman, and Industrial designs became synonymous with Dayton’s Industrial Style. This distinctive furniture design emerged during the industrial boom in Dayton, characterized by clean lines and robust construction. It was built to withstand the demands of the shop floor while effortlessly blending into diverse interior settings.

While descriptions often likened the style to Shaker and Craftsman, it was not until the 1960s and 70s that the industrial component of Gerstner’s design gained recognition. Industrial interior design became popular during this era, bringing to the forefront the functional and aesthetic appeal that had been integral to the Dayton Industrial Style.

Dayton Industrial Style represents more than just furniture; it embodies a commitment to quality and functionality. These heirloom-quality pieces, like the wood machinist chests attributed to Harry Gerstner, stand as a testament to timeless design, offering understated elegance and practical storage solutions. Whether in a workshop or a home, this style strikes a harmonious balance between Dayton’s industrial heritage and the enduring allure of well-crafted, versatile furniture.

As we celebrate over 100 years of Gerstner’s commitment to quality and style, the Dayton Industrial Style continues to influence and inspire, reminding us that craftsmanship and innovation are still thriving in Dayton.