The foundations of Artifort were laid by Jules Wagemans. In 1890, he set up business as an upholsterer in Maastricht. His son, Henricus Wagemans, expanded the company into a furniture factory, which had a showroom in Amsterdam by the end of the 1930's and was already well known nationally. The economic recession of the nineteen thirties forced H. Wagemans & Van Tuinen, as the furniture company was then known, to create a distinctive profile. The emphasis came to lie on functionality, comfort, and quality combined with aesthetically pleasing design and an innovative use of materials. The new brand name became Artifort, derived from the Latin word 'ars' meaning 'art or knowledge', and 'fortis' meaning "strong or powerful."