1900

1905
Star Furniture Company, a manufacturer of high-quality, traditional-style bedroom suites, opens for business in Zeeland, Michigan.

1909
Star Furniture Company is renamed Michigan Star Furniture Company. The company hires Dirk Jan (D.J.) De Pree as a clerk. De Pree is 18 years old.


1910

1919
D.J. De Pree is named president of Michigan Star Furniture Company.


1920

1923
Michigan Star Furniture Company becomes the Herman Miller Furniture Company when D.J. De Pree convinces his father-in-law, Herman Miller, to purchase the majority of shares of Michigan Star Furniture Company. De Pree becomes the first president of the Herman Miller Furniture Company, which continues to manufacture reproductions of traditional home furniture.

1927
D.J. De Pree founds the Herman Miller Clock Company. The clock company makes traditionally designed clocks and later adds Gilbert Rohde designs.

A millwright dies on the job. De Pree visits the family, where the millwright's widow reads poetry authored by her husband. De Pree, deeply moved, makes a commitment to treat all workers as individuals with special talents and potential. The story of the millwright becomes part of Herman Miller lore.


1930

1930
Herman Miller, like many companies, faces failure amid the turmoil of the Great Depression. De Pree, looking for a way to save the company, meets Gilbert Rohde, a designer from New York, at Herman Miller's Grand Rapids showroom. Rohde convinces De Pree to move away from traditional furniture and to focus on products better suited to the changing needs and life styles of Americans.

1933
Herman Miller debuts its Rohde-designed furniture at the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago.

1937
D.J. De Pree turns the Herman Miller Clock Company over to his brother-in-law, Howard Miller, who renames it the Howard Miller Clock Company.

1939
Herman Miller opens a showroom in Chicago's Merchandise Mart.


1940

1942
The Executive Office Group, designed by Gilbert Rohde, signals Herman Miller's entry into the office-furniture market. Modular and versatile, EOG is a precursor of systems furniture.

Herman Miller's Los Angeles showroom opens.

Charles and Ray Eames are commissioned by the Navy to develop lightweight, molded plywood leg splints.

1944
Gilbert Rohde dies; De Pree begins searching for a new design leader.

1945
After seeing an article in Life magazine on George Nelson and his Storagewall design, D.J. De Pree hires him to serve as the company's first design director.

1946
The Nelson Office designs the stylized "m" logo and introduces a new corporate image for Herman Miller.

The Nelson platform bench is introduced.

The Eames molded plywood chair, molded plywood lounge chair, molded plywood folding screen, and molded plywood coffee table are introduced.

New York's Museum of Modern Art installs a small exhibition called "New Furniture Designed by Charles Eames"--the museum's first one-man furniture show.

Nelson and De Pree recruit Charles and Ray Eames into the Herman Miller fold.

1947 
Herman Miller gains exclusive market and distribution rights to the Eameses' award-winning molded plywood products. These rights are acquired from the Evans Products Company of Grand Haven, Michigan, which retains production rights.

1948
Herman Miller publishes and sells a bound, hardcover product catalog, written by George Nelson and designed by the Nelson Office. The catalog articulates Herman Miller's philosophy and principles about business and design. It is believed to be the first time a furniture catalog is sold, rather than distributed free. It becomes a collector's item.

Herman Miller introduces a glass-topped coffee table designed by Isamu Noguchi.

1949
Molded plywood manufacturing moves from the Grand Haven, Michigan, manufacturing site of Evans Products to a Herman Miller manufacturing facility in Zeeland. Another manufacturing plant, which later becomes the Eames Studio, opens in Venice, California.


1950

1950
Herman Miller becomes the first company in Michigan to adopt the Scanlon Plan, a program of participative management and gain sharing. This begins a long relationship with Dr. Carl Frost, who will guide the company's participative endeavors for many years.

The world's first molded fiberglass chairs, designed by Charles and Ray Eames, are introduced by Herman Miller. Eames storage units and wire base tables are introduced.

1951
Herman Miller begins its long association with Alexander Girard, noted colorist and textile designer.

The Eames elliptical table is introduced.

1952
Girard leads the newly formed Herman Miller Textile Division.

Nelson bubble lamps are introduced.

1953
Girard wallpapers and the Eames Hang-It-All are introduced.

1954
Nelson pedestal tables and the Eames sofa compact are introduced.

1955
Eames storage units are discontinued. They will be reintroduced in 1998.

The Eames molded plywood folding screen is discontinued. It will be reintroduced in 1994.

Nelson coconut lounge chairs and Eames stacking/ganging chairs are introduced.

1956
The Eames lounge chair and ottoman are introduced on national television (The Today Show). The chair is to become a highly visible emblem of Herman Miller quality and innovation.

The Nelson marshmallow sofa is introduced.

1957
The Eames molded plywood chair, molded plywood lounge chair, and molded plywood coffee table are discontinued. They will be reintroduced in 1994.

Herman Miller begins selling its products to the European market.

1958
Robert Propst becomes a Herman Miller researcher.

Herman Miller begins building its Zeeland headquarters complex. George Nelson is the primary architect. A new plant opens in Venice, California, and a showroom opens in San Francisco.

Eames aluminum group chairs are introduced.

1959
Nelson's Comprehensive Storage System, which uses vertical space to free up living space, is introduced.


1960

1960
The Herman Miller Furniture Company incorporates, becoming Herman Miller, Inc. The Herman Miller Research Division, which will later become the Herman Miller Research Corporation, opens in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as a wholly owned subsidiary. Its president is inventor and teacher Robert Propst.

Eames walnut stools are introduced.

1961
Herman Miller's textiles and accessories retail shop, the Textiles and Objects Shop (a.k.a. T & O), opens in New York City. It will close in 1967.

The Eames Hang-It-All is discontinued. It will be reintroduced in 1994.

1962
Hugh De Pree, son of D.J., assumes leadership of Herman Miller, Inc., as president and chief executive officer. D.J. becomes chairman of the board.

Eames tandem sling seating is introduced and installed at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.

1964
Bob Propst and George Nelson work together on the first prototypes of Action Office 1, a group of freestanding units that will evolve into the Action Office system.

The Eames elliptical table is discontinued. It will be reintroduced in 1994.

The Nelson sling sofa is introduced. Eames dining tables are introduced.

1965
The marshmallow sofa is discontinued. It will be reintroduced in 1999.

1966
With nearly 150 dealers, Herman Miller has expanded its presence to Central and South America, Australia, Canada, Europe, Africa, the Near East, Scandinavia, and Japan.

1967
The Nelson platform bench is discontinued. It will be reintroduced in 1994.

In Switzerland, Herman Miller introduces the Panton chair, a single-form, completely plastic chair. It will be sold until 1975.

1968
Herman Miller introduces the Action Office system, the world's first open-plan modular system of panels and attaching components. Designed by Robert Propst, AO, as it will come to be called, will revolutionize office design and spawn a whole new industry.

Robert Propst's book, The Office: A Facility Based on Change, is published.

The Eames chaise is introduced.

1969
D.J. De Pree steps down as chairman of the board. Hugh De Pree becomes the new chairman.

Herman Miller, United Kingdom, forms. It has sales and marketing responsibilities throughout the United Kingdom and Scandinavia.

Eames soft pad chairs are introduced.


1970

1970
Herman Miller, Inc., offers stock to the public. The Eames Office designs the stock certificate.

Herman Miller opens a new facility in Bath, England.

1971
Herman Miller enters the health/science market with the introduction of the Co/Struc system, based on a concept originated by Bob Propst in the 1960s.

1973
Eames soft pad lounge chairs, executive tables, and segmented base rectangular tables are introduced.

The Noguchi coffee table is discontinued. It will be reintroduced in 1984.

1974
Rapid Response becomes the industry's first quick-ship program.

Chadwick modular seating, designed by Don Chadwick, is introduced.

1975
A major exhibition, "Nelson, Eames, Girard, Propst: The Design Process at Herman Miller," opens at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

1976
Star Industries, later called Integrated Metal Technology, becomes a Herman Miller subsidiary. Building C is added to main site.

Herman Miller introduces the Ergon chair, and a new era of ergonomic seating begins.

The Design of Herman Miller, by Ralph Caplan, is published by the Whitney Library of Design.

1979
Herman Miller opens the Facility Management Institute in Ann Arbor, Michigan, helping establish the profession of facility management.


1980

1980
A new Holland seating plant is built. The Building B production site is converted to office space.

Max De Pree becomes chairman and chief executive officer.

1981
Burdick Group is introduced.

V-Wall movable walls are introduced.

Herman Miller's Energy Center begins burning waste to generate power--both electrical and steam--to run the company's million-square-foot Main Site manufacturing facility.

1982
Tradex, Inc., becomes a Herman Miller subsidiary, providing easy-to-acquire workstations, casegoods, and seating. Its name is later changed to Phoenix Designs and then to Miller SQA.

Vaughan Walls, Inc., a manufacturer of movable, modular walls, becomes a Herman Miller subsidiary.

1983
A special stock-ownership plan establishes all Herman Miller employees as shareholders.

1984
Herman Miller opens facilities in England and France.

The Equa chair, the Ethospace system, and the Eames sofa are introduced.

1985
Milcare, a wholly owned subsidiary, is formed from the company's Health/Science Division, which began in 1971. It will be renamed Herman Miller for Healthcare in 1999.

The Worldesign Congress names Charles Eames "The Most Influential Designer of the Century" and Action Office "The Most Significant Design" since 1960.

Dealerships open in Korea, Malaysia, and Australia.

Herman Miller Research Corporation publishes The Negotiable Environment.

1986
George Nelson dies.

The Custom Choices Division is established to offer nonstandard products.

Construction of the Design Yard in Holland, Michigan, begins.

The Scooter stand is introduced.

1987
Action Office enhancements become Action Office Encore (later renamed Action Office Series 2).

Dick Ruch is named Herman Miller CEO, the first person outside of the De Pree family to hold that title.

Newhouse Group furniture is introduced.

1988
Ray Eames dies.

Max De Pree publishes Leadership is an Art.

Ergon 2 chairs and Ethospace support cabinets are introduced.

1989
The Equa chair wins a Design of the Decade award from Time magazine.

Herman Miller employees create the Environmental Quality Action Team (EQAT) to coordinate environmental programs company-wide and involve as many employees as possible.


1990

1990
Meridian becomes a Herman Miller subsidiary.

Herman Miller is the only office furniture manufacturer to be a founding member of the Tropical Forest Foundation. Other cofounders include Caterpillar, the Audubon Society, and Bank of America.

D.J. De Pree dies.

1991
Action Office Series 3 is introduced.

Herman Miller launches its Supplier Diversity Program, to increase business opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses.

1992
J. Kermit Campbell becomes Herman Miller's fifth CEO and president--the first person from outside the company to hold either post.

Herman Miller UK earns an ISO 9002 registration.

1993
Herman Miller becomes a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council, the only office furniture manufacturer on the original roster.

Alexander Girard dies.

Herman Miller begins using cherry and walnut from sustainable sources in place of endangered rosewood on the Eames lounge chair and ottoman.

Herman Miller and Meridian earn ISO 9001 registrations.

The company's first Environmental Conference is held.

1994
Herman Miller returns to the residential furniture market with the launch of Herman Miller for the Home. Its offering includes new designs as well as reintroduced modern classic furniture from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s.

The Herman Miller GreenHouse receives the Pioneer Award from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The criteria used for the GreenHouse becomes the basis for USGBC's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification protocol.

Herman Miller buys Righetti, a wholly owned subsidiary in Mexico.

Herman Miller begins construction of its new Phoenix Designs building in Holland, Michigan. This building later becomes Miller SQA and, in 1999, the Herman Miller GreenHouse.

Herman Miller is cited by Fortune magazine as one of the nation's 10 most environmentally responsible corporations.

Herman Miller, Inc., introduces the Aeron chair and the New York Museum of Modern Art adds it to its 20th Century Design Collection.

Herman Miller receives the National Wildlife Federation's 1993 Environmental Achievement Award for its commitment to earth stewardship.

1995
Herman Miller's website, www.hermanmiller.com, goes live.

Max De Pree retires from the Board of Directors. J. Kermit Campbell resigns as CEO. Mike Volkema becomes CEO.

Ergon 3, Equa 2, and Ambi chairs are introduced.

1996
The new Miller SQA ("simple, quick, affordable") manufacturing and office building begins operations.

Arrio freestanding systems furniture is introduced.

1997
Herman Miller and Geiger Brickel, a high-quality wood casegoods and seating manufacturer headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, enter a strategic sales alliance.

For the ninth time in 10 years, Fortune magazine names Herman Miller "most admired" furniture company in the U.S.

1998
Herman Miller for the Home introduces Meinecke rugs and increases its classics offering by adding Eames storage units, and pillows, scrims, and table runners in textiles designed by Alexander Girard.

Herman Miller introduces Passage furniture, Aeron and Ambi side chairs, Accents Collection ergonomic support products, and CLT tables.

Herman Miller International introduces the Verve freestanding desk system in Europe.

Miller SQA introduces the Reaction work chair and the Aside side chair.

Meridian, Milcare, Miller SQA, Coro, and Performis--former subsidiaries--become part of Herman Miller, Inc. Milcare becomes Herman Miller for Healthcare.

1999
Herman Miller introduces the Kiva Collection, Caper chairs, and Meridian 140 and 160 Series pedestals, and displays the Resolve system at NeoCon.

Herman Miller for the Home introduces the Goetz sofa, and reintroduces the Nelson marshmallow sofa.

The Aeron chair wins a Design of the Decade award from Business Week magazine and the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA).

Herman Miller acquires Geiger Brickel.


2000

2000
Herman Miller RED, an online enterprise focused on meeting the office furniture needs of small business in general and the growing Internet industry in particular, is launched. Large-scale shifts in the global economy necessitate closing the business in 2001.

The Eames molded plywood chair is named "design of the century" by Time magazine.

2001
Herman Miller Resolve system is added to the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection, and to the collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

The DOT (Design on Textile) program, which allows customer customization of work environments, is introduced, initially with the screens that are part of the Resolve System.

2002
Herman Miller's C-1 corporate office facility renovation receives Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building certification, only the 10th Gold standard awarded nationwide.

Herman Miller introduces PostureFit, a major ergonomic breakthrough in seating designed to support a healthful posture and significantly improve lower back comfort. The PostureFit technology is offered as an option on Herman Miller's Aeron chair. A passive version becomes part of every Mirra chair.

2003
Herman Miller introduces Mirra, a high-performing, environmentally advanced work chair and the first piece of office furniture to be developed from its inception according to cradle-to-cradle principles.

The Herman Miller MarketPlace receives Gold LEED Certification. At the time, it is one of less than a dozen buildings nationwide to achieve that distinction.

2004
Herman Miller receives GreenGuard Indoor Air Quality certification for most of its products.

For the 16th time in 18 years, Herman Miller is ranked as the "Most Admired" company in the furniture industry in Fortune magazine's annual survey. The magazine also ranks Herman Miller among the most innovative companies in any industry, placing the firm 4th overall among the nearly 600 companies surveyed.

For the fifth year in a row, Herman Miller ranks among Business Ethics magazine's "100 Best Corporate Citizens"--one of only 29 companies to earn a place on the list every year since its introduction in 2000.

Brian Walker becomes President and CEO.

2005
Herman Miller introduces the Celle chair designed by Jerome Caruso. Its Cellular Suspension offers pliable molded polymer "cells" and loops to responsively flex in concert with the body's movements throughout the workday. Celle is manufactured using "green" energy, contains 33 percent recycled content, is 99 percent recyclable, and can be disassembled in fewer than five minutes using common hand tools.

The Herman Miller Creative Office launches Sonare Technologies / A Herman Miller Company, and introduces the award-winning Babble, a sound management solution for confidential conversations.

2006
Herman Miller introduces Leaf personal light, an energy efficient LED (light-emitting diode) table-top light. Its patented technology allows for adjusting the light intensity and warm-to-cool light color. It utilizes 40 percent less energy than even a 13-watt compact fluorescent bulb.

Herman Miller completes construction of its European headquarters, VillageGreen, in Chippenham, England. Its design receives an Excellent rating from the United Kingdom's Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM).

Herman Miller unveils My Studio Environments, an innovative concept in open-plan workspace design. Designed by Doug Ball, it is the first open plan office system designed according to the McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC) Cradle to Cradle protocol and Herman Miller's Design for the Environment (DfE) criteria.

Convia / A Herman Miller Company is launched and introduces its signature product called Convia Programmable Infrastructure.

Leaf personal light selected for the permanent collections of the New York Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

2007
Herman Miller invests in two factories and a national headquarters in China to support the company's rapidly expanding client base there and throughout Asia, selecting Ningbo as the site for its manufacturing operations, and Shanghai, the largest industrial city in China, for its main office.

2008
Herman Miller acquires Brandrud Furniture, Inc., a Seattle-based manufacturer of healthcare furnishings.

Herman Miller introduces the Embody chair designed by Jeff Weber and the late Bill Stumpf. Designed specifically for people who work for hours at computers, Embody is the first work chair that benefits both mind and body.

Herman Miller International introduces Sense desking system designed by Daniel Korb. A modular and freestanding offering, Sense is unique for its tool-free assembly. Its components lock, click, or snap into place, so it can be assembled and re-assembled quickly and easily.

2009
Herman Miller introduces the Setu chair designed by Studio 7.5. By considering every molecule that makes up Setu, the designers advanced the science of dematerialization, delivering more performance with less material.

Herman Miller begins applying Herman Miller Performance System principles to its dealers' work. Benefits to customers include a 40 percent reduction in installation time.

An alliance with Legrand North America, which sells Wiremold products, embeds our Convia product in the Wiremold ceiling and floor electrical boxes. This marks a turning point in the commercialization of Convia.

Herman Miller acquires Nemschoff, Inc., a Sheboygan-based manufacturer of high-quality, leading-edge healthcare furnishings.


2010

2010
Herman Miller introduces the Sayl chair designed by Yves Béhar. The design is as affordable as it is inventive. All components are reduced to their essential forms, achieving the highest performance possible with the least amount of material.

Herman Miller becomes the first company in the furniture industry and one of the first companies in the world to fuel 100 percent of our facilities with renewable energy. This puts us nearly 50 percent of the way to carbon neutrality.

Herman Miller acquires Colebrook Bosson Saunders (CBS), a London-based worldwide leader in the design, manufacture, and distribution of ergonomic work tools.

Herman Miller introduces Thrive, its comprehensive new portfolio of industry-leading, research-based ergonomic products. Thrive combines health-positive products with guidance on using them properly to give customers total ergonomic solutions.

Herman Miller Supplier Diversity program celebrates its 20th anniversary. In fiscal 2010, Herman Miller's total spending with minority-owned businesses reached 14.5 percent, on par with the leaders in diversity among U.S. corporations.

Herman Miller introduces the Compass system for patient rooms designed by Gianfranco Zaccai and a team at Continuum. A system of wall-hung components, Compass makes significant advances in functionality, infection control, and ease and safety of use for caregivers.

2011
Herman Miller introduces Canvas Office Landscape. It is the work of several contributing designers, most recently Jeffrey Bernett and Nicholas Dodziuk of CDS in New York, building on the earlier work of Douglas Ball and Joey Ruiter. Canvas brings choice, harmony, and connection to all kinds of organizations and virtually any interior.

Herman Miller enters into an agreement to acquire POSH, the leading manufacturer of quality office furniture in Asia. The combined brands represent one of the most extensive product portfolios in Asia Pacific.

Herman Miller becomes exclusive distributor in the U.S. and Canada for Magis and Mattiazzi products. Both Italian firms known for their authored design and advanced craft, Magis and Mattiazzi expand choices for collaborative areas, indoors and out.

"Merchants of Virtue" is published. Written by independent journalist and writer Bill Birchard, the book tells the stories of Herman Miller's efforts to care for the earth and be good stewards of the environment.

Herman Miller partners with the MASS Design Group to lend resources and employee support to humanitarian healthcare projects in Rwanda and Haiti.

2012
Herman Miller relaunches the Herman Miller Collection, a comprehensive new portfolio of authentic modern designs that lets you select, furnish, and create complete environments in a variety of settings—from the boardroom to the backyard. Taking its cue from the original collection, conceived in 1948 by George Nelson, the renewed portfolio represents “the continuing creation of a permanent collection designed to meet fully the requirements for modern living.”

Herman Miller completes the acquisition of Asian office furniture manufacturer POSH, expanding its global footprint by adding extensive product design and distribution capabilities throughout China.

2013
Herman Miller acquires Maharam Fabric Corporation, a New York-based global designer and provider of high quality interior textiles for commercial, healthcare, and residential interiors.

Herman Miller introduces the Mirra 2 work chair, the latest advance in high-performance seating. Mirra 2 is a leaner, lighter, and more responsive chair that moves as one with the sitter, dynamically supporting even a person’s slightest movements.

The Herman Miller Collection, in collaboration with the Eames Office, reintroduces the Eames Molded Plastic Chair in fiberglass, a twist on the classic that leverages contemporary advances in environmentally sensitive material chemistry and manufacturing processes.

Herman Miller unveils Living Office, a new vision for office design that creates synchronicity between people and the emerging landscapes of work. Living Office is a human-centered integration of the tools and products that enable work, which creates a more natural, desirable, and productive work environment.

Herman Miller introduces Locale, designed by Sam Hecht and Kim Colin of Industrial Facility. Locale enables the creation of dynamic, high-performance work neighborhoods within open-plan environments.

Herman Miller introduces Public Office Landscape, a system of surface, storage, and seating components that allows people to move freely between conversations and tasks. Designed by Yves Béhar and his team at fuseproject, Public transforms every part of the office—including individual desks—into places for collaboration.

2014
Herman Miller announces Earthright, a new sustainability strategy that builds on more than 50 years of environmental learning and commitment. Eathright outlines several 10-year goals, such as achieving zero waste from all facilities, consuming 50 percent less water, and reducing energy intensity by 50 percent.

Herman Miller unveils a Healthcare Living Office, a modular, human-centered approach to healthcare environments that allows caregivers working across a health system to customize their methods, tools, and spaces.

Herman Miller introduces Renew, the latest in sit-to-stand tables. Renew offers a full range of supported movement to help people stay more active and healthier at work.

Herman Miller acquires Design Within Reach, the largest retailer of authentic modern furniture and accessories in the world. The acquisition propels efforts toward strategic growth in the consumer channel.

Herman Miller debuts Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) tool to help interior designers and customers obtain a product’s sustainability information, enabling people to make more informed purchasing decisions.

2015
Herman Miller Supplier Diversity program celebrates its 25th anniversary. Herman Miller spends more than 15 percent with minority- and women-owned suppliers, on par with the leaders in diversity among U.S. corporations.

Herman Miller launches Metaform Portfolio, a flexible and modular system with functional accessories that enables people to adjust their surroundings as needs evolve. The latest in material innovation, Metaform blocks are created from an abundant, environmentally-resistant, and recyclable material.

Herman Miller opens PortalMill, a 170,000 sq.-ft. manufacturing and office space in the United Kingdom. The new facility enhances the company’s efficiencies and distribution capabilities across the UK, Europe, and the Middle East.

2016
Herman Miller opens the New York Flagship, bringing the company’s family of brands under one roof for the first time. 60,000 square-feet of retail, showroom, and office space is anchored by the first Herman Miller retail store in North America, slated to open late 2016.

Herman Miller forms a strategic partnership with naughtone, a UK-based company specializing in upholstered soft seating and other collaborative products. The partnership expands Herman Miller’s product portfolio, as well as its production and product development capabilities worldwide.

Herman Miller introduces the Keyn Chair Group, a dynamic range of meeting and side chairs designed by forpeople to offer natural comfort to support people as they move and change postures.

Herman Miller launches Exclave, a cohesive suite of products used to create collaborative environments across the office landscape. Designed by Continuum, Exclave empowers high-performance teams by integrating surroundings, furnishings, and tools in collaborative ecosystems.

Nemschoff launches a significant expansion of Nemschoff Classics, pieces inspired by mid-century designs that were once part of the company’s residential offering. Nemschoff Classics demonstrate Nemschoff’s institutional category leadership, and cater to the shift toward comfortable, residential spaces across all contract verticals.