Encyclopedia Of Arkansas Minute: Turney Wood Products

Apr 15, 2019

Arkansas was once home to one of the largest manufacturers of church furniture in the world. Claude H. Turney opened Turney Wood Products in his Harrison garage in 1946, building furniture for the nearby First Church of the Nazarene.

Using red and white oak harvested in the Ozark Mountains, Turney Wood Products built furniture that was going into one thousand churches annually by the mid-1960s when the firm boasted of being “the largest exclusive church furniture manufacturer in the western hemisphere.”

The company eventually employed three hundred, including some of the first women to work in production rather than clerical positions, and had seventy-six thousand square feet of manufacturing space.

By 1967, though, Turney Wood Products had financial problems and controlling interest was sold to three Tulsa businessmen. They couldn’t save it, and the bankrupt company was sold at auction in 1968.

To learn more, visit the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.