Parker Knoll: A History

Parker Knoll’s rich heritage stems all the way back to 1869 – when Frederick Parker went into business as a chair maker – and it was from this date that Parker Knoll’s core values were developed; designing and crafting furniture that would stay at the forefront of British design and innovation.

150 years later very little has changed. Parker Knoll is still one of the market leaders in British furniture design, and their reputation as a thoroughly British company continues to grow. However, it was in 1921 that Frederick Parker’s sons would meet Willi Knoll – the man behind the unique steel spring system that still resides in many of Parker Knoll’s occasional chairs today.

Willi Knoll's revolutionary spring system (image credit:

The revolutionary coiled steel wire spring system modernised comfort in a way that would go on to transform the business. And this new brand-forming alliance catapulted Parker Knoll to the forefront of the British furniture industry – with Parker Knoll chairs furnishing many of the rooms in the BBC’s headquarters by 1932, setting down a marker for how far the company had come.

From there the Parker Knoll brand leapt from the echelons of the furniture industry to help with Britain’s war effort – manufacturing aircraft for the country during WWII – before going on to expand beyond its original core market with a younger audience buying from Parker Knoll’s ranges after the war.

The Parker Knoll factory (image credit:

By 1971, Parker Knoll were quickly setting the benchmark for other manufacturers to strive for, while the merger with Cornwell Norton and the continued growth in the company’s sofa collections helped to expand the business further. Parker Knoll were now producing fully-upholstered suites and they wouldn’t have to wait too much longer before being named the Number One Furniture Brand in the UK – in 1996.

Parker Knoll has since taken on massive investment and is more recently known for its Classic and Lifestyle collections – cementing the brand’s place among the UK’s most distinguished and respected furniture manufacturers.

A full timeline of Parker Knoll's history.

Posted by
30th August 2017

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