Thomasville, North Carolina (founded by John Warwick Thomas) is well-known in the furniture industry. Home to the beginnings of Thomasville Furniture Industries, Standard Chair Company, Lambeth Furniture, Thompson Chair, and Queen Chair Company, it’s no wonder people think Thomasville when they think furniture. In fact, Thomasville is often referred to as “Chair Town” or “Chair City” — but not necessarily because of its famous shops. More so, because it is home to the World’s Largest Duncan Phyfe Chair.
The World’s Largest Duncan Phyfe Chair, sometimes called simply the “Big Chair,” is a 30-foot replica of an original design by the famous American designer Duncan Phyfe (1768-1854, one of nineteenth-century America’s leading cabinetmakers). Duncan Phyfe chair designs were known for their classical look and straight lines carved in rich hard woods like mahogany and walnut.
The roadside attraction that stands today is actually the second incarnation of the Thomasville big chair. The first was built by Thomasville Chair Company (Thomasville Furniture Industries) in 1922 and was made from umber and Swiss steer. That chair was taken down in 1936, a victim to the elements that degraded the structure over time. The Thomasville Duncan Phyfe chair that sits on downtown Main Street now was constructed out of concrete and steel and has been on display in 1951.
The North Carolina chair, as it stands today, may not be the biggest chair in the world, but it’s quite impressive all the same. And, it’s a quite famous seat! In 1960, Presidential candidate Lyndon B. Johnson sat on the chair and greeted citizens on his whistle campaign trail.
Sit on that info!
The World’s Largest Duncan Phyfe Chair
Location: 6 W Main St, Thomasville, NC 27360, Downtown on Main St.
Hours: Always Visible
Cost: Free to See