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A Relaxing Visit

May 18, 1996|VALERIE J. NELSON

Add this to your never-thought-I'd-see-the-day list: a museum dedicated to preserving the history of a certain recliner. About 10 years ago, the La-Z-Boy Chair Co. turned two floors of its original plant, built in 1927, into a museum complete with archives and plenty of used chairs.

Recliners dating from the one that started it all, a wooden slat porch chair created in 1928, are housed at the Monroe, Mich., company museum that's open to the public by appointment. The most popular exhibit is one of the first upholstered chairs from the late '30s, complete with fringe valance. "From a style standpoint, it is so clearly something you saw in your great-grandmother's home," says John Case, the company's vice president of marketing.

The most surprising sight is a person, Edwin J. Shoemaker, 88, one of the company's co-founders, who can be spotted working on the museum's archives. Says Case: "It is always fun to have a new employee walk through the building and introduce that person to an original founder of the company."

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