Parker Knoll furniture was founded in 1931 by Frederick Parker, an English furniture maker, and Willi Knoll, a German inventor.

Frederick Parker was born and raised into the world of furniture. He learned his trade as an apprentice in his father’s furniture factory in Shoreditch, before moving to High Wycombe, a historic centre of the furniture trade, and choosing to focus on making high quality handmade furniture. His work graced ocean liners, royal yachts, viceroy’s houses and even an emperors throne. His son would follow in his footsteps, also becoming a furniture maker and later taking over his father’s company.

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Willi Knoll on the other hand had no background in furniture. He was a fighter pilot in World War 1, but it was the seat of his fighter plane and the sheer uncomfortableness of it that would bring him into furniture. After the war he worked on a sprung seat design, and came to the UK in order to try and find a commercial maker for his sprung chairs.

It was Frederick Parkers son, Tom, who recognised the ingenuity and utility of Willi Knoll’s design and introduced him to his father. Frederick Parker agreed, and the two joined together to found Parker Knoll furniture.


While previously Frederick Parker had focused on high quality handmade furniture, the new Parker Knoll furniture was most suited for mass production for the general market, and a very successful marketing campaign in the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph for their low price tension sprung furniture soon followed. A dedicated factory was built for Parker Knoll furniture in High Wycombe, which sadly burned to the ground in a fire in 1970. Parker Knoll furniture had opened a number of other factories before the fire, and manufacturing continued, with the company now being based in Riddings in Derbyshire.

Parker Knoll furniture turned its expertise to manufacturing A-frames, wooden boxes, wings for the de Havilland mosquito and repairing gliders during the Second World War, with the company only returning to manufacturing furniture after the end of the war.

During the 1960s Parker Knoll furniture became known for its reclining chairs, which were soon a signature item for the line, and became popular enough to open a second factory in Chipping Norton, fortuitous given the loss of their main High Wycombe factory in 1970.

The company has remained strong, with only a small hiccup in 2005 where it was purchased by Christie-Tyler but within months Christie-Tyler had collapsed into administration. Parker Knoll furniture was snapped up quickly by Sofa Brands International who made possible both the move to Riddings and refocusing the company back to its roots of high quality design.

Today, Parker Knoll furniture is the byword for quality, design and style, and all designed and manufactured in the UK. It has a timeless elegance that is sure to grace any home, and is a worthy addition to any room, whether your home is a flat or a palace.