Irwin Seating Company was founded in Grand Rapids, Michigan over 100 years ago under the name Steel Furniture Company by five investors that included three Irwin brothers: Earle, Eber and Robert. During this time, the Company manufactured and sold theatre seating and classroom furniture.
In the 1930s, the Irwin brothers bought out the other investors. The name was changed to Irwin Seating Company, and Earle was named president.
In 1940, the Company ceased production of its normal product line to manufacture M-1 Carbine Rifles for the World War II effort. After the War, William W. Irwin (Earle's son) was named President, and Irwin Seating Company resumed production of furniture for classrooms, auditoriums, and theatres at a location on Buchanan Street in downtown Grand Rapids.
In 1968, the Company moved to its current location northwest of the city on Fruit Ridge Avenue. That same year, Irwin Seating also introduced the popular Citation chair, one of the industry's first chairs with a molded plastic back panel.
William Irwin continued to serve as president until his retirement in 1984, at which time his son, Earle S. (Win) Irwin, was named President & CEO of the company.
In 1991, Irwin Seating purchased Folding Bleacher Company in Altamont, Illinois. The addition of the Folding Bleacher line gave Irwin Seating Company the ability to supply the arena market with innovative telescopic products and education customers the best bleachers available.
In 2015, Win's son, Graham, took over the day-to-day operation of the company as the fourth President & CEO of Irwin Seating Company. Win remains Chairman of the Board, and two of his other four sons (Coke and Andrew) currently hold management positions with the company as well.
Irwin Seating Company continues to lead the industry in innovative products and services. Some recent introductions include:
The Signature back which features the industry's first plastic inner upholstery panel
Nose-mount chairs for telescopic platforms
The No. 12 Seat which utilizes an innovative torsion spring seat lift mechanism
The variable rise hydraulic platform system
Plastic seat modules with folding back rests for bleacher systems
The No. 4 chair fixed seating standards which features an innovative standard and a full array of helpful accessories