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chaoticbob

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Today I was presented with chair which needed to have some inches lopped off the legs for use as a Panto prop - I don't know why exactly, I just do what I'm told.
I lopped the legs, gave it a sand then got interested in how it was constructed:

SmallChair600x800.JPG


SmallChairUnderside600x800.JPG


It's obviously a mass produced 20th century design, but a notch above Ikea offerings. The seat and backrest are (good) ply, but the frame is solid hardwood.
It's idle curiosity really but I'd be interested if anyone could date this and give any info about manufacturing techniques. From the shape of the backrest I'd guess 60-70's but that's just a guess.
Bob.
 

Richard_C

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Interesting. Looks very familiar but can't quite place it.

If you have time and enjoy such things, the V&A website is a fascinating place to spend time.

Go to www.vam.ac.uk
Click on collections in the top bar menu
Put chair (or whatever you are interested in) in the search bar and press return (ignore the suggestion sthat pop up below the search bar)
Check the 'with image' box
The scroll down the filters and do something appropriate - maybe in this case start with 1945-2000.
There were plywood backed chairs much earlier than that, certainly Breur and the Bauhaus designers in the 30s, so maybe do a 1910-1940 filter as another search. May not have been mass produced though.

Doubt you will find this exact one but it might narrow down the period and its interesting in its own right.

Another source of pictures is www.design-mkt.com, vintage, dining chairs. Many pages.

If you are lucky you will find it
If you are unlucky you won't
If you are very unlucky, you will discover that you have just lopped the legs off something worth a fair few £££.
 

chaoticbob

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Interesting. Looks very familiar but can't quite place it.

If you have time and enjoy such things, the V&A website is a fascinating place to spend time.

Go to www.vam.ac.uk
Click on collections in the top bar menu
Put chair (or whatever you are interested in) in the search bar and press return (ignore the suggestion sthat pop up below the search bar)
Check the 'with image' box
The scroll down the filters and do something appropriate - maybe in this case start with 1945-2000.
There were plywood backed chairs much earlier than that, certainly Breur and the Bauhaus designers in the 30s, so maybe do a 1910-1940 filter as another search. May not have been mass produced though.

Doubt you will find this exact one but it might narrow down the period and its interesting in its own right.

Another source of pictures is www.design-mkt.com, vintage, dining chairs. Many pages.

If you are lucky you will find it
If you are unlucky you won't
If you are very unlucky, you will discover that you have just lopped the legs off something worth a fair few £££.
Thanks Richard - I too thought I had seen something similar before, but couldn't remember where or when. The V&A archive is indeed fascinating - the nearest I have found so far is a 1947 seminar chair, which looks to be in a similar style, but with armrests. But 600+ pages still to go! I didn't realise how long a history plywood has.
I'll enquire as to the provenance of the chair - when I got it it was spattered with paint, it looked like it had been used in an artists studio or something. Also the top layer of veneer on the seat and backrest was cracked and delaminating - it peeled away easily revealing the the surfaces shown in my pic.
Bob.
 

TRITON

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Heres another interesting chair.
Seen in a hundred pubs, cafes and bistro's.
Michael Thonet.jpg


Date of design - 1859. Known as Chair No14
Over 160 years old and still going strong.
 

Richard_C

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Excellent, I recognised the chair but didn't know it was called #14. Looks like it might stack., albeit a bit awkwardly.

I can 'see' a group of artists sitting on these in a Paris pavenment cafe, late 1800's, smoking gauloises and drinking pernod.

Back to the original post, I think I am getting closer. When you said the ply peeled off, I wonder if it was once upholstered with thin pads of vinyl on seat and back. If I recall, my parents had one in their kitchen, alongside a small formica table with slim drop down flaps. That would have been in the late 60's, and not having much free cash they might have picked it up from a second hand furniture shop. It could be 50's or 60's. We knew it as the 'kitchen chair'. Wonder why?

So, I did a search for (variations of: retro, 1950s, 1960s) formica table and chair sets and came across loads of images. Lots of tubular frames chairs but plenty of wood. Very close indeed, so maybe you can find something that way.

Here's some examples


 

chaoticbob

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Richard - I think you have nailed it with the Retro Formica pics. The back and seat on the one I butchered were stained and varnished to match the frame, so perhaps never clad with Formica, but in all other respects they look identical.
Searching specifically on Benchairs I haven't yet turned another example of this particular design - however I have now (belatedly) noticed that the frame is stamped 'FOREIGN' underneath, so an imported variation on the theme possibly. 1950s-60s chimes with my dim recollection of having seen seen similar things in my childhood (60s). I think it might also fit with the 'FOREIGN' stamp, but research on that is ongoing.
Thanks again for your help with this - much appreciated.
Bob.
 

Sideways

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"Mid-century" is a search term in looking up what's now vintage furniture.
Interestingly, I believe Ikea were around in the 1950's though not in the UK.
 
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