The origins of France & Son begin with Charles France (1897–1972) an Englishman who moved over to Demark in 1936. France was acquainted with Eric Daverkosen who was a trained cabinet maker and the pair started a business making mattresses. The company was called, not surprisingly, France & Daverkosen. Tragedy struck soon after the company has been formed, as devastatingly Daverkosen passed away a year later. Soon after this awful event, WWII broke out and Charles France was sent to Germany as POW. Five long years France was held captive, once released he set about re-establishing his business and in 1957 his son James joined the company, hence the name change to France & Son.
The company went from strength to strength and was fast becoming the go to for designers who were queuing up to collaborate and work with the company. At the height of the company, they employed 350 people, they were attracted to the company for the innovative style and although reputedly France had a fiery temper but was a fair boss.
France had a brilliant technical mind and always looked to challenge not only the functionality of the design but also the method of how to achieve the desired look. Often, he was inventing new ways of tackling production difficulties and designed machinery to overcome obstacles. One of the major success was Model 133 Spadestolen chair. This chair was made in collaboration with the great Finn Juhl. The material of choice was Teak which was notoriously difficult to saw without dulling but with the new machinery, this was no longer an issue. France & Son were also forward thinking in how the furniture could be easily folded and transported which assisted the company in export overseas.
France & Son was sold in 1967 to the Danish designer Poul Cadovius.
Table by Poul Cadovius
Armchair Designed by Peter Hvidt produced by France and Son