State Senator George Borrello and Assemblyman Andy Goodell visited Fancher Chair in Falconer Friday to announce the company’s incorporation into New York State’s Historic Business Preservation Registry.
The registry, launched this spring, includes businesses that have been in operation for at least 50 years and have contributed to their communities’ history.
Borrello said state senators were allowed to nominate businesses for the list, “The requirement is that they had to be in business for at least 50 years. Well, you guys blew that number away, obviously, at 215. They wanted to create this registry through Parks and Recreation that would recognize historic businesses here in New York State. There’s also a website where people can check it out and hopefully visit some of the locations but in recognizing the fact that there are amazing companies that have been in business a long time.”
Fancher Chair’s origins trace back to August 1, 1807, when a man named Edward Work purchased 1,260 acres from the Holland Land Company and constructed the first sawmill in the heart of the Allegheny forest.
Always evolving, Fancher Chair has lived in many guises. In 1905, as the William T. Falconer Manufacturing Co., it made washing machines. As the American Manufacturing Co., in 1910, it specialized in toys.
From 1946-1973, the plant started making larger furniture items. In 1975, the company began making residential furniture. Over time, Fancher Chair Co. converted to making wooden chairs for furniture retailers, and when the residential market moved overseas, Fancher Chair produced commercial chairs for banks, libraries, schools and businesses.
Since 2010, several CNC woodworking machines have been installed to further produce fine furniture chairs, benches, stools and tables. Fancher Chair is one of the country’s oldest manufacturing companies and is likely the oldest manufacturer in continuous operation in New York State.
The Historic Business Preservation Registry program is coordinated through the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and can be found at https://parks.ny.gov/historic-preservation/business-registry/default.aspx