The Origin of Mission Style Furniture
What we commonly call the Mission Style of furniture started out as one small line in a grand vision of furniture more properly called "Craftsman".
The origin goes back to 1898 and a man named Gustav Stickley, who pioneered a new vision of furniture in his shop at the Craftsman Farms in New Jersey. "We should have in our homes something better suited to our needs and more expressive of our character as a people than imitations of the traditional styles", he wrote. The Mission Style grabbed the public eye and quickly became his most popular line.
His creations are better known as "Craftsman", as he dubbed them. They announce their presence quietly but forcefully, through balanced proportion, simple construction and careful use of adornment.
The Mission Style captured the imagination of the public by the 1920s, and took on a life of its own. Designers such as Harvey Ellis and Frank Lloyd Wright were also captivated by this style.
This vision marched forward under the banner of the "Arts and Crafts" movement. It stood, in many ways, as a response to industrial manufacturing, and works well in an Amish shop.
Mission style furniture and chests fell out of favor for a time after World War II, but came back strongly in the 1960s and 70s as people began questioning a mechanized life. The popularity of this style continues on today for another new generation to admire.