What is the industrial furniture style?

Nowadays, the industrial style knows a considerable development. All industrial furniture and decoration can fit as well in a country house as in a purely design placed. Besides its functional aspect, its plays on the raw and on metallic materials, also on the straight lines and turns away easily to make it essential.

Every metal’ furniture used in the work’s world can become a nice piece of furniture in your own home and add a real industrial vintage character.

Its story began during the 18th century. Privilege of the powerful, the metallic furniture became more democratic under the Second Empire and under the Industrial Revolution to join now the house. It became aristocratic stylish and popular at the same time.


The industrial aesthetics was born in 1851, when Sir Joseph Paxton, engineer and nursery gardener of Queen Victoria, designed and built in a few months the huge Crystal Palace, of cast iron and glass, for the world fair of London. The Eiffel Tower, built in 1889, is another embodiment.


The first industrial furniture is deliberately functional. They are made to fit for a particular function in the industry. It’s in France, in 1969, that the brand Prisunic had launched the first collection of steel furniture for the house.

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Singer: iconic Vintage Industrial Brand

Sewing machines were not the only things manufactured by the world-famous Singer Company! They also manufactured some great industrial furniture such as the Singer stool and the Singer chair, a must-have for vintage lovers!vintage-industrial-furniture-singer-stool

New York, 1851, I.M. Singer & Company is created. Isaac Merritt Singer (1811-1875) is the inventor of the sewing machine. At first, all the items were manufactured in New York, Frederick Gilbert Bourne (1851-1919), head of the firm at the beginning of the 20th century, built up the first worldwide company in spreading the brand all over the world by establishing some customer and distribution services in every countries, and also in building many different factories abroad.

Isaac Merritt Singer had invented the hire-purchase system in order to equip as many women as possible. “Owning a Singer was the ambition of many working women, who would buy them on credit, with a subscription. Many married women hoped to earn some extra money while taking care of their homes”.

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The ”Navy 1006” chair, what a fascinating vintage industrial chair!

How amazing is this unsinkable chair. Did you ever dreamt of having such a nice industrial furniture in your living room?

First built in the USA in the 40’s (1944 in Hanover, Pennsylvania) by Emeco (Electric Machine and Equipment Company) for use on the American submarines and warships, to answer their specified contract “the chair had to be able to withstand torpedo blasts to the side of a destroyer”. And in fact Emeco’s founder in participation with Alcoa’s experts, Witton C and Dinges, have designed the 1006, an industrial chair so durable that it far exceeded the Navy’s specifications.


The Navy Chair has been in continuous production ever since. The Emeco chair embodies the perfect shape and material fusion.

It is a handmade item. Made of aluminium (so antimagnetic) very light but also very strong (can support more than 500kgs). The craftsmen take twelve parts being welded together, then being ground to create a seamless one-piece look. Finally, the chair is anodized for a durable finish. They need 4 hours to make it with around 50 movements and 77 steps Process.

This marine chair will go threw all oceans until the 70’s: during the cold war the sales stopped. And in 1998, Gregg Buchbinder acquires the Emeco Company and brings it a new corporate culture. He asked the French designer Philippe Starck to work with him. It is a success: the turnover gets a 300% rising and the staff triple!

After Philippe Starck many great designers have designed the “Navy 1006”, like Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, and Andree Putmann, they all signed a reedition.

Nowadays, “The Navy Chair” is still manufactured and the The aficionados give it the nickname of “Ten o six”.

You would like to find an original one?

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Nicolle stool: Discover this iconic Industrial Furniture

Nicolle Stool: a fantastic Vintage Industrial Furniture

From 1913, the “Etablissements Nicolle”, based in Montreuil, France, were specialized in the manufacture of washers (the Belleville washer very well known). As they needed better metal stools for their workers, they designed the “Nicolle Stool” for their own use and for some of their neighbouring factories. So was born this iconic Industrial Furniture:  The “Nicolle Stool” in 1933, with its three stamped metal legs and a seat in the shape of a large washer.

Soon afterwards they added a backrest, which was compared after the war to the “tail of a whale”, creating the “Nicolle Chair”. The industrial stool later became stackable and a fourth leg was added to increase its stability (and because of safety standards at the time). Soon, it was bought and used in factories all over France. It was available in eight different heights, ranging from 45 cm to 80 cm, making it suitable for use with many kinds of machinery.

In 1954, the company “Etablissements Nicolle” designed two different models of industrial stool with adjustable screws: the 45/60 and the 60/80.

vintage nicolle stool

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An awesome vintage industrial furniture: the sorting desk.

How an industrial furniture used by each french post office became an icon of Industrial Design?

In the edge of the first war, it was created for the French post, also called “Tri Postal“.  This metal furniture was a clever system, designed to answer at best to the many times reproduced gestures and to the postures of the post-office employees in the sorting rooms. It can be considered like one of the first ergonomic furniture of the industrial era.

If we go back in its family tree, we can find two ancestors. Until 1850, they used to store the mail in wicker suitcases, and this mail was essentially made by stagecoach. But the industrial era, the arrival of the railroad and the succession of the rural mailman in most of the back countryside lead the post office to get organize and began to sort out the mail, which meant to supersede the wicker suitcases to wooden lockers. And this change has to be done in Europe quite as in the United States of America, where the Taylorism success to increase the productivity of the workers, in the first decades of the 20th century, was going to introduce the idea of ergonomics.



So before the beginning of the First World War, the French post office becomes aware of the importance of the sorting operations. She began to study the gestures and postures of the workers, analysed their work behavior, and decomposed their movements, like the graphic designers are doing with their cartoons! Unfortunately, the approach remains empirical and few of these documents from that time were archived.

Those sorting desks were certainly not designed by chance…

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Fantastic Vintage Industrial Lockers

Those metal industrial furniture are just amazing!

You can find some with only one door, two, three and even four doors. It depends the place you have. But just to let you know, most of time, the ones with one door are quite large, while the others are smaller.

They can be really useful in the house, and in any room. You can have one at the entrance, just to hide all your coats, hats, shoes etc… Or one in your bedroom as a closet, you can put your blankets, duvets or just to tidy some boxes and everything you want. In your child’s bedroom, you can use it as a closet, but also to tidy all your kid’s toys. You can have one in your laundry room, for hiding all detergent etc… and even for your vacuum cleaner and all accessories.


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Tolix Chair: From Model A to Stool H, find the perfect industrial chair!

Discover the origin of the Tolix Brand.

It’s the story of a metallic chair recognized worldwide as one of the symbols of the French Industrial Design.

The Model A chair has become an icon of Industrial Aesthetics. It’s unfailing popularity since 1934 has enabled to enter the Collections of the Vitra Design Museum, MOMA and the Pompidou Center. This mythical chair, crafted of steel sheets, has been assured by «its fool-proof solidity, its unequalled lightness and its easy maintenance.

Everything started with the aim to answer to the needs of brewers. They were demanding clients and represented the largest share of the Pauchards’ turnover. The need were huge as In 1930, in France you could find 1 café for 50 people, in 1950 there was still 1 café for 120 people.

“Making space profitable, putting as many drinks as possible on the tables and optimizing the back and forth journeys of the waiters; turning café terraces into profitable business was the challenge of my family” Xavier Pauchard.

Pauchard finds the right answer. The pedestal table’s edged top could accommodate four glasses of beer and their mats, four coffees, plus an ashtray and bill saucer. The cast iron base was hidden under the table; the chairs were stackable and café terraces suddenly became a lot more profitable!

TOLIX was born.

All merit goes to Xavier Pauchard (1880-1948) who was a pioneer of galvanisation in France. Shortly after World War 1, based in Autun, Burgundy, he found himself (a visionary and inventive entrepreneur) in charge of a flourishing manufacture of galvanised sheet-metal domestic items, which at the time, embodied household comfort. It was in 1927 that he registered the trademark TOLIX, at the same time converting to the «production of chairs, armchairs, stools and metal furniture».
The different models (rustproof, robust and stackable) conceived by Xavier Pauchard found their place directly inside factories, offices and hospitals, as well as outside, on cafe terraces and in public parks. Embarked aboard the ship, Normandie, in 1935, these chairs also filled the aisles of the 1937 Exposition Internationale –Arts et Techniques. Furniture for children was created in 1935 under the mark of « La Mouette ». At the end of the 50’s, with the succession of his son, Jean, Tolix and it’s 80 workers produced about 60 000 units annually. This prosperous company remained in the same family until 2004. Then a woman, Chantal Andriot took back the company with the designers François Dingjian et Eloi Chafaï alias Normal Studio to assist her in the artistic direction. Today this enterprise is endowed with the latest technology which accompanies it’s numerous inherited manual processes and equipement.

Tolix Chair Model A

Its first version doesn’t present any stiffener (from 1930). The stiffeners for the feet appear in 1938, the ones for the “palmette”  (back chair) with a shape as a “U” upside down, appear in the 60s. These successive adaptations were used to decrease the cost of the chair. It also had, like all others items, the same reinforcement crosspieceX” under seat. The seating is plain with only 7 little holes. The brand Tolix is embossed on the back of the chair (it appeared very lately) and can attest the original or not, and date the others which don’t have any brand on them.


Fantastic Tolix A Chair with a lovely patina (stripped out)

Discover now: the Armchair C, the stool H, the A56, the FT5, the T4 and the D types

Industrial Design

In the 19th century, the expansion of towns, the demographic increase and the several technological advances are at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution of 1850, symbolised by the creation of the steam engine.

During the Industrial Revolution the designer doesn’t exist. They must produce more with less time and find out some new technologies.

The function dominate on the shape and all products are build in the aim of profitability and productivity.

The first example of design according some historians, would be the”Bistrot” chair from the Thonet Brothers (Austrian) 1859. It would have been the first item produce in series but designed to be functional and aesthetics.


Then in the US , the Ford T from Henry Ford, was built from 1908 in series (more than 15 millions items in 17 years). It proposes a unique model with different options at an affordable price, thanks to the manufacturing with the Taylorism management.


In 1932, the Anglepoise lightning was created by Georges Carwardine for Herbert Terry & Sons. Nowadays, we can still find some vintage Anglepoise lightning in offices and it is named as Architect Lightning!


Find some lovely Industrial Style Furniture at La boutique Vintage

Vintage Industrial Tallboy Pigeon hole Cabinet

 I love the idea of having a piece of Furniture at home, which was using for an Industry. Two unified opposite world… like the world should be!

This lovely Vintage Industrial Tallboy Pigeon Hole Cabinet is gorgeous. I wish I could keep it in my kitchen or even in my bedroom!


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