After several years of selling vintage Emeco/GoodForm chairs, Iíve learned a few things along the way. Here are some tips and tricks to help you.
INDICATORS OF A VINTAGE CHAIR
Chairs that are 40-60 years old should have some signs of wear.
Most chairs Iíve seen have marks along the legs, usually close to the bottom.
On armchairs, you will usually see brown staining along the undersides of the armrests.
...and on the underside of the top back frame where the back pad is. This staining is due to the accumulation of 50+ years of the grease on peopleís hands (ick!).
Pre-1970s chairs (top) have perforated leather upholstery, while later chairs (bottom) have solid vinyl upholstery.
IDENTIFYING THE COMPANY THAT MADE YOUR CHAIR / DATING YOUR CHAIR
Most chairs look pretty much the same from the front, but there are a few differences when you start looking closer. Here are chairs from four different makers.
Probably the most obvious difference is that GoodForm chairs (far right) have solid back pads, while Emeco chairs (second from left) have open back pads.
Ohio Chair (far left) has a wider open back space than Emeco, and the Art Metal (second from right) back is open and curved.
Left to right: Ohio Chair, Emeco, Art Metal, GoodForm
GOODFORM (GENERAL FIREPROOFING) - Youngstown, OH (1902 - 89)
Older GoodForm chairs have the GoodForm logo on the back.
GoodForm chairs sometimes still have their original paper tags on the underside of the seat. The manufacturing date is usually printed on the tag. This one has a date of Sept. 1977.
If thereís no paper tag, then check the bar on the front underside of the seat. The date is usually stamped into the metal. This one says F-9-77 (Sept. 1977).
On GoodForm task/secretary chairs, look for the date stamped in the middle of the underside of the base. This one says F-10-76 (Oct. 1976).
EMECO - Hanover, PA (1944 - present)
Emeco chairs have ďEmecoĒ printed on the underside of the seat. This is also where youíll find the date that the chair was manufactured.
Emeco metal tag from a 1970 swivel chair.
ART METAL - Jamestown, NY (1888 - 1971)
Art Metal paper tag on the underside of the seat.
Art Metal chairs have the Art Metal logo on the back.
Like GoodForm, Art Metal stamps the date into the bar on the front underside of the seat. This one is 6-50 (June 1950).
The few Art Metal chairs Iíve seen have dark green upholstery. (Itís hard to tell from this picture, but the upholstery is green.)
OHIO CHAIR - Youngstown, OH (? - ?) - If anyone has any information on this company, I would love to hear from you!
An example (admittedly, not a great one) of an Ohio Chair paper label on the underside of a chair.
SHELBY WILLIAMS - Morristown, TN (1953 - present)
A folded paper tag on the underside of a Shelby Williams chair. The Morristown address means that this dates from 1963 or later.
LOUIS RASTETTER & SONS -- Fort Wayne, IN (1881? - 1960?)
Solid Kumfort logo stamped into the front bar on the underside of the seat.
Partial paper tag from the underside of the seat.