OUR STORY CONTINUED
In 1907, the company changed its name to the Kiel Furniture Company, to more closely identify itself with its products. Three years later, the company acquired the B. A. Kipp Company in Milwaukee and began operating out of two plants. In 1912, A.A. Laun joined his oldest brother, J.B., in the business and moved to Milwaukee to oversee the operations in the former Kipp plant. He became the vice president and general manager in 1916. During the 1920s, the company grew tremendously, with large plant additions at both locations. While the Kiel facility focused on smaller occasional pieces as it does today, the Milwaukee plant pioneered the manufacture and sale of complete dining room suites. Kiel Furniture products were made with oak, mahogany, and walnut.
In the late 1920s, the Kiel Furniture Company patented the Kiel Radio Table, an important innovation. It had the outward appearance of a regular occasional table, with only the small tuning dials hinting at the radio and speaker concealed inside. The Kiel Radio Table linked the company’s name with the famous Atwater Kent Screen-Grid Radio as thousands were sold. But order cancellations came in even faster during the great Crash of 1929, and what had appeared to be an important growth opportunity for the company turned into a liability.