back to blog

Springs and Shakes: The History of Leggett & Platt

11/6/2018

The story of Leggett & Platt started with a handshake.


In 1883, while Thomas Edison was inventing his first electric light bulb and the Brooklyn Bridge was opening up to New Yorkers, inventor J.P. Leggett shook hands with C.B. Platt, a blacksmith and his future brother-in-law, in the small town of Carthage, MO. This handshake formed the Leggett & Platt you know today, and ultimately shaped the way the world sleeps.

To solve the sagging sleep surface problem plaguing the country, Leggett & Platt started manufacturing steel coil bedsprings in the Platt Plow Works building. As the demand for steel bedsprings increased, our business grew. Word spread about this new, supportive way to sleep and J.P. Leggett kept inventing. The demand became so great, the decision was made to push out the plows in the building and focus solely on bedsprings. We even opened a second facility in Louisville, KY, in 1900.

The Great Depression hit hard in 1931, but Leggett & Platt persevered. So much so, we expanded our product lineup to continue meeting the increasing demand for innersprings.

Business continued to grow, and we opened our third factory in Ennis, TX, in 1947. Not long after, Leggett & Platt joined the Fortune 500. In 1967, the company went public. Our team kept innovating and inventing to create sleep-enhancing ideas.

Since the moment that handshake launched a startup inside a farm equipment factory, we’ve been innovating around innerspring technology and spring-making equipment. Today, Leggett & Platt holds more than 1,000 bedding-related patents.

 

We make machinery in Switzerland and the United States, and manufacture innersprings in Europe, South America, Africa, and the United States. Leggett & Platt owns the entire process, from melting scrap and drawing wire to shaping springs and making machines. We take ideas and turn them into inventions – turning sleep innovations into reality. Because of this, we are the world leader in bedding components technology.

Leggett & Platt is a multibillion dollar company that innovates in a variety of industries such as automotive, aerospace, adjustable beds, and furniture. We take ideas from partner businesses, repurpose them, and inject them into our bedding products.

Leggett & Platt is a story about a handshake mixed with creativity and dedication. Our two founders loved big ideas, and decided to do something about it. They partnered up, pushed aside the plows, and cut their own path. Their handshake formed a global company with more than 20,000 employee-partners who share a common goal: to develop products that enhance people’s lives.

 

Leggett & Platt: Your partner in the bedding business since 1883.

 

 

See related articles: innersprings, manufacturing, history

Mark Kinsley

Mark Kinsley is Leggett & Platt's Staff Vice President of Marketing for the Bedding Group. Outside the office he enjoys spending time with family, mountain biking, hiking, and snow skiing. Connect with Mark on Twitter via @markkinsley.