The son of a postman, Ingwer Magnussen is born in northern Germany, near the Danish border.
From age 14-18, Ingwer attends a trade school for cabinetmakers. He excels in drafting and designing and wins many awards. He hones his woodworking skills and decides to go into the furniture industry.
At the age of 19, Ingwer immigrates to Canada. He makes the journey on his own; his mother and father remain in Germany.
Ingwer works at Globe Furniture Company in Waterloo, Ontario as a cabinetmaker. To make ends meet, Ingwer carves show wood onto sofa frames for local manufacturers.
Ingwer saves up $350, leaves Globe Furniture to start his own business. He turns an old chicken coop into the headquarters of Magnussen Furniture, a one-man operation and a bold initiative during the hard times of the Great Depression.
Ingwer moves business into the first Magnussen Furniture production facility, an unused Waterloo PUC gas works plant. The facility doubles as his living quarters. Ingwer reflects on the advantages of the new space from the chicken coop beginnings: “It had a lot more space and I lived there like a king.”
Magnussen Furniture orders list Writing Desk for $30.00, Bookcases for $18.00, Chairs for $3.75 and End Tables for $1.25
A known perfectionist, Ingwer works 15-hour days. As Ingwer signs off in letters to customers: “We guaranty good workmanship.” He builds his reputation on the values of trust, honesty and respect.
Ingwer is called for military service and Magnussen Furniture closes for five months near the end of WWII. A staff of 3 full-time employees and a number of part-time employees were forced to wait.
Ingwer returns home from the army with only a $200 clothing allowance. He begins again.
Richard Magnussen is born, Ingwer’s second child and only son. His sister, Alice was born a few years earlier.
Richard demonstrates his fathers sense of daring adventure at a young age.
Products leave Ingwer’s production facility with a hangtag containing the Magnussen name and a promise of superb quality. Ingwer stresses the importance and value in team-driven quality over individual piecework.
Ingwer’s company is officially incorporated as Magnussen Furniture Manufacturers, LTD.
Richard Graduates from high school and heads to college to study construction technology.
After one year of college, Richard is pulled equally by thoughts of a future in architectural design and a future alongside his father in the furniture industry. He chooses his father.
Richard officially joins the Magnussen Furniture Staff. He and his father design every piece of furniture together.
Richard marries his childhood sweetheart, Marilyn. The two have known each other since meeting as young children in the church nursery.
Ingwer runs a lean, efficient operation. A staff of not more than 20, mostly part-time employees, keeps production flowing.
Magnussen Furniture institutes a profit sharing plan with it’s employees, driving productivity, quality and pride. Employees get a small percentage of the profits on goods sold. Richard reflects: “The monthly bonus has created an incentive to produce quality, to do things right the first time.”
Magnussen Furniture purchases and moves into the former 35,000 square foot Electrohome Ltd. Plant in New Hamburg.
Richard, age 29, is vice president and general manager of Magnussen Furniture. The company acquires a 30x30 foot automated panel saw from Italy which cuts panels for wall units.
Magnussen Furniture wins the prestigious trillium award for the world’s first hi-lo convertible chair and matching inexpensive hi-lo table. The chair converts from a lounge chair to a high chair; the table converts from a dining table to a game table, all in a matter of seconds, with no tools. The winning furniture designs were conceived by Magnussen plant manager Edmund Lehmann.
Richard takes over the helm from his father as the president of Magnussen Furniture. Each week, 700 to 900 tables are produced in 42 styles.
Presidential Furniture was founded as the US division of Magnussen Furniture. The new logo showing the American flag and Canadian flag, stands for partnership and leadership.
Richard and Marilyn personally guarantee their customer’s satisfaction, causing raised eyebrows in the industry when Richard includes their home phone number on materials distributed to dealers.
The Magnussen team more than triples in size. By the late 1980’s, Magnussen Furniture has become Canada’s largest supplier of occasional tables.
Richard leads the company into the competitive US market. Sales rise 600% in six years.
Richard uses trade ads to underscore the company’s commitment to customer satisfaction.
The Magnussen/Presidential logo is updated from the Canadian and American flags to a contemporary initial script.
The Magnussen Rusticos collection debuts, marking a strong entrance into Mexican sourcing.
Kelly Magnussen, son of Richard Magnussen, joins the company to work in Operations. Operations strategies shift to importing and international manufacturing. The New Hamburg manufacturing plant closes.
Magnussen Presidential opens a permanent 10,000 square foot showroom in High Point, NC.
Nathan Cressman, son-in-law of Richard Magnussen, joins the company as Product Development Manager.
The Magnussen Express Program debuts, a service offering Magnussen customers delivery in less than a week.
Magnussen enters the bedroom and wall unit categories. The High Point showroom expands to 40,000 square feet.
At the Fall High Point Market, Magnussen Home announces its entrance into the dining category.
Doors open at a 400,000 square foot warehouse and distribution facility in Riverside, CA.
Magnussen Presidential changes its name to Magnussen Home and opens doors to new US headquarters in High Point.
Magnussen opens their showroom at the Las Vegas World Market Center.
Magnussen opens its’ first distribution center in Vietnam.
I-function by Magnussen is introduced. Furniture is adapted for today’s needs with touch lighting, charging stations, electronic storage and lift-top storage. “Furniture that Fits.” Lifestyle categories are introduced.
Magnussen’s new Vietnam-based distribution facility is opened. This state of the art warehousing and logistics center is the second such facility the company has located in Ho Chi Minh City. All new construction, the new center is twice the size of the original facility and incorporates today’s best warehousing design and technology.
Magnussen begins consumer testing by seeking consumer input and feedback on the key drivers of a home furnishings purchase - style, function, finish and quality - and use that information to develop designs that fit retailers’ needs.
Magnussen’s Senior leadership continues with son Kelly Magnussen as Senior Vice-President of Sales and son-in-law Nathan Cressman as Senior Vice-President of Marketing.
The QuickFlex 250 program is introduced providing quick ship delivery with an order minimum of only 250 cu.ft.
Richard Magnussen receives Lifetime Achievement Award from The Canadian Home Furnishings Alliance.
Introduction of Magnussen Next Generation Youth/2nd Bedroom Program. Introduction of Magnussen Connections Bedroom Program.