Every company that's been in business for more than 130 years has some history. But a Michigan maker of metal, plastic and textile seating for buses, light rail and other mass transit — and formerly a maker of iconic school desks — has a link to history that ends up in textbooks.
American Seating Co., founded in 1886, announced plans to move from its existing manufacturing complex in Grand Rapids, Mich., to a larger, more efficient production site in the same city, our sister paper Crain's Grand Rapids Business reported.
"The move is part of American Seating's effort to bolster its transportation seating operation," CGRB wrote.
American Seating's focus these days is mass transit, but it got its start as a maker of school desks. It created the one-piece chair and desk combination used in schools since the early 1900s, adapting to use plastics and laminate late in the 20th century before selling that division. Its stadium division — sold off in 2017 — produced seating for Major League Baseball parks and arenas.
And in 1955 in Montgomery, Ala., it was an American Seating bench seat on a bus that Rosa Parks refused to give up.
To mark her protest, American Seating makes a commemorative seat dedicated to Rosa Parks that is used in transit systems nationwide.