You may have seen sets or piece stamped with the a makers mark branding with the name Kent-Coffey and a regal-sounding name -- "The Fanfare" or "The Pilot" -- for sale on Etsy, or Craigslist at far reaching and opposite ends of the pricing spectrum.
Who is Kent Coffey?
So far we've stumbled upon a few dressers and desks manufactured by Kent Coffey. Surprisingly each time these beautiful pieces were found curbside, waiting for the garbage truck when we happened to walk by.
The Kent-Coffey Manufacturing Company was started in 1907 by Harold Coffey in Lenoir, North Carolina. Harold was a major influence in the North Carolina furniture industry during the early-twentieth century. He was a friend, neighbor and competitor of industry icons James Broyhill and John Bernhardt. The Kent Coffey company became popular in the 1950s and 60s. They mass produced low-end furniture which became very popular due to their reputation for being good quality and durable. Magazines advertised and popularized the iconic American dream home with matching living room and bedroom furniture sets -- made from solid oak and mahogany wood unlike the particle board found in mass-produced furniture today.
The company was sold to the Singer Furniture Company (a subsidiary of the company that produced Singer sewing machine) in 1983. Singer aggressively tried to diversify broadly but their attempts proved financially unsound, pushing the furniture division quickly into bankrupt. In 1997 their failing furniture division finally collapsed. Sadly the Kent-Coffey division was unable to stay in business after the parent company went under and finally closed its doors in 2001.
Genuine Kent Coffey pieces will have been stamped with the brand name Kent Coffey - usually inside a drawer or on the underside of a table. Sometimes these are in fantastic condition and others will need some work. Either way you might find yourself a beautiful mid-century piece made by a major in influence in furniture production.