Before Naughton came along, patients sat upright and dentists stood up.
Naughton was the youngest of eight children and was born on a farm near Parnell, where his parents were hit hard by the Depression.
Naughton, who was dyslexic, quit school at Parnell at age 15 to work at a Williamsburg drugstore for $15 per week. He later became a standout Fuller Brush salesman, first in Ottumwa and, after serving in the Army Air Corps in World War II, in Des Moines.
Naughton switched to selling Niagara-brand hand massage units, which gave him the idea of building a vibrator into a lounge chair. He opened a plant in the 1200 block of Southeast Diehl Avenue to build the Comfa Lounge Chair.
Encouraged by two dentists to convert the lounge chair into one for dental patients, Naughton sold the vibrator chairs during the day and developed his dental chair at night.
He sold his first contour dental chair in 1958, at a cost of $800, and delivered it in person in an old hearse, which became a familiar sight to residents living near the Naughton family home at 143 E. Seneca Ave. in the Highland Park neighborhood.
He incorporated his Den-Tal-Eze Manufacturing Co. in 1961. Within three years, annual sales reached $1 million and made old sit-down dental chairs obsolete.
In December 1969, Naughton sold his venture to his employees for more than $8 million and retired, at 53, to a house at 220 37th St.
The company was sold to California-based Syntex in July 1979.
Naughton and his wife, Mary Dolores ("Dee"), a former schoolteacher, had two daughters, Mary and Jeanne, and two sons, Thomas and Michael.
Naughton operated Naughton Investment Co. in his later years.
He died at age 83 at Wesley Acres of a heart ailment, and is buried at Glendale Cemetery.
In 1982, his original dental chair was displayed at the Smithsonian Institution in the nation's capital.