Furniture City (1994 – 2013) Furniture City was one of the signature core exhibits installed at the Grand Rapids Public Museum's new Van Andel Museum Center when it opened in 1994. At approximately 10,000 square feet, the exhibit occupied a significant portion of the museum's second floor and contained hundreds of pieces of Grand Rapids Furniture. The exhibition was accompanied by the authoritative book on the subject, "Grand Rapids Furniture", by GRPM curator Christian Carron. The Furniture City exhibit told a comprehensive story of the Furniture Industry in Grand Rapids, from its origins in the years after the Civil War, up to the present day with office and fixed seating manufacturers like Steelcase and American Seating. The exhibition was significantly reduced in size in 2013 to make room for a new gallery, and was finally closed in 2019.
Fox Typewriter Company William R. Fox started the Fox Machine Company in Grand Rapids in 1885 to make machinery used in the furniture industry. Fox was very mechanically inclined, and in 1898 he cooperated with Glenn Barrett to invent the Fox Typewriter. Sales of this machine propelled the company to international status, and the Grand Rapids-made typewriter was sold to all over the world. World War I was a blow to lucrative foreign sales, but the company was ready to move forward with the Fox Portable Typewriter which they released in 1917. However, this innovative model would prove to be their downfall, as rival typewriter manufacturer Corona, sued Fox for patent infringement and won. As a direct result of this legal battle, Fox was forced into bankruptcy in 1921.