The company was founded by master cabinetmaker Carl Hansen when he opened his first workshop in Odense on 28 October 1908. His first real factory opened in 1915, specializing in bed room furniture for the bourgeoisie and landed gentry on the island of Funen.
The global economic crisis which arrived with the 1930s also affected furniture sales in Denmark. It hit Carl Hansen hard and in 1934 his second-oldest son, Holger Hansen, took over the business after his father. A contract with the American sewing machine manufacturer Singer for the production of wooden cases for some of their models helped the company through the difficult times. Hansen Jr. also set up a small-scale export of furniture to Sweden.
In the years after World War II, a new generation of young Danish furniture designers such as Finn Juhl, Hans J. Wegner and Børge Mogensen. Carl Hansen & Søn as the company was now called entered into a collaboration with the salesman Ejvind Kold Christensen who had an eye for the new trends. In 1949, he set up a meeting between Wegner and Holger Hansen which resulted in a lasting collaboration between the two parties. Instead of just promoting their furniture to retailers, the company also began a comprehensive exhibition and advertisement activity targeted on end consumers.
In the early 1950s, modern Danish furniture design also began to attract attention abroad and especially in the US. Together with four other manufacturers of Wegner furniture, Carl Hansen & Søn established a joint sales company, Salesco, which was responsible for exhibitions and marketing abroad, including on the furniture fairs in Cologne. The Y Chair was a particularly big success for Hansen & Søn, accounting for more than half of its sales. In 1968, a failed exclusivity agreement with a dealer put a temporary end to the success on the US market.
The 1970s and 1980s were generally difficult times for Hansen & Søn. In 1988, Holger Hansen's son, cabinetmaker Jørgen Gerner Hansen, took over the company. He invested in new machines. The early 1990s brought a renewed interest in Danish furniture classics and a Japanese subsidiary was established in 1991. Hansen & Søn relaunched several retired Wegner designs.In 2001, Hansen purchased Tranekær Furniture, another high-end furniture manufacturer, located at the Tranekjær estate on the neighbouring island of Langeland.
In 2002, Jørgen Gerners' brother, Knud Erik Hansen, acquired all shares in the company. He built a new factory in Aarup and internationalized the organization, leading to an increase in export from 20% in 1998 to over 50% in 2008.
In 2011, Christian Hansen & Søn took over the Rud. Rasmussen furniture workshop in Copenhagen, notable for its production of furniture by Mogens Koch and Kaare Klint.
Web site: http://www.carlhansen.com/