Inventors Hall of Fame
Merton M. Bottenmiller
(1911 - 1997) An electrical engineer, furniture retailer and tinkerer, he holds twelve patents, ranging from toys to dental equipment to furniture. His most famous and successful invention is the spring and swivel mechanism for outdoor furniture. Convinced he could make better furniture than what was then on the market, he designed a wire-form chair to fit the shape of his body. The chair was unique both because of the patented swivel rocker mechanism, and because the wireform seating surfaces were designed with the help of a direct plaster case of his back and posterior. The result was a very comfortable swivel rocker that needed only a minimum of padding over the rigid frame. In 1960 these concepts were applied to the patio furniture industry and the outdoor swivel rocker was born. He and his brother-in-law founded Homecrest Industries, Inc. in Wadena to build the outdoor furniture he designed. Homecrest has become a leading manufacturer of luxury furniture for outdoor living, and has distributed its products throughout much of the world. Because the swivel rocker was new to most other countries, Homecrest often had to create its own vocabulary. For example, there was no German equivalent, so their language consultants came up with "Drehschaukelsessel," literally, "a comfortable chair that turns and rocks."