Why Are Sofas Sometimes Called Davenports?

A davenport is a type of upholstered convertible couch that was manufactured by the A.H. Davenport Co., which is why sofas are sometimes referred to as davenports. Davenport can also refer to a writing desk.

The A.H. Davenport Co. was founded in 1880 by Albert Davenport. The company utilized Massachusetts Institute of Technology-trained architect Francis Bacon as its designer and focused on producing high-end and expensive furniture. One of the most notable projects that A.H. Davenport Co. contributed to was the 1902 restoration of the White House, which was done in conjunction with the architecture firm McKim, Mead & White. Other projects included work for elite clubs, prestigious banks and beautiful libraries.

In 1914, the A.H. Davenport Co. merged with Irving & Casson and formed the Irving & Casson - A.H. Davenport Co. This merger occurred 8 years after the death of Albert Davenport, and the new company remained in both New York and Boston, designing custom and ornate furniture for high-end clients.

The onset of the Great Depression in the 1930s, as well as increasing competition and lower-priced furniture coming from the Midwest and the South, reduced the demand for high-end and custom furniture. In turn, this affected business for the Irving & Casson - A.H. Davenport Co., and the company went out of business in 1974.