Designer Industrial.

Manpower. Not much of it left these days if you ask me. Industry in the western world is disappearing, leaving behind all of its tools of the trade, quite literally. In the early part of the 20th century, factory labor was abundant and therefore multitudes of steel pieces of furniture were created: tanker desks, pigeon holes, storage units, etc. Even medical and dental offices had heavy steel storage units.

     The Old Cinema regularly carries all types of industrial furniture from all over Europe and the United States, and most of it is unmarked with no makers label. However, there are times when we do get some pieces in that were made by a specific design firm for industrial and commercial purposes. I present to you three industrial items that carry important makers labels on them, and each have a story to tell, even if it's a small one.

First we have a late 1950s desk by Dutch company Ahrend-Oda, a steelworks which began in the 1930s and specialised in making ovens. The company still exists, however its furniture is now very conservative and uninspiring.  The desk looks very much like it belonged in a factory somewhere, and it may well have been used in one, however, its described as a 'Directors' desk which leads me to belive it was used in a corporate office. Ours has been stripped and professionally repainted and looks stunning in person. Its all about details, and the aluminium 'horseshoe' feet really set it off.

     These cafe tables look unassuming, but they were actually made by legendary furniture craftsmen Thonet in the 1940s. Thonet is famous for being the first to create bentwood furniture in the 1830s, which has been copied and reproduced the world over. The company is still going today. 

 An original Thonet bentwood chair.
The detail on the feet of the tables is particularly stunning.

And finally, we have a single pedestal desk by Art Metal. I did a search for this companies history, and they are no longer in business. I dont have much history on them, but I think they were at their peak between the 1930s and 50s.  Their name is so idealistic and shows that they were trying to create artwork out of a piece of office furniture. As far as I know, this company imported to the United States as well.

Although this extrordinarlily rare steel roll top desk isn't for sale in our shop, it too, was made by Art Metal and is located in the United States. I found it to be too cool not to post.

I hope you found this post to be inspiring and informative, and you should also know that we just got another shipment of cool steel pigeon hole shelving, trolleys and industrial racks to go along with your designer industrial goods.

See you in the shop,


1 Comment:

  1. wesbenn said...
    Hi Adam~

    Just reading your post about metal office furniture & more specifically, the Artmetal Co. roll top desk. The Artmetal Co. opened a factory in Youngstown, Ohio and produced beautiful metal pieces for a while in the US before going out of business. I recently came across a craigslist posting here in NY that said "all metal roll top desk by artmetal company". Needless to say it was a heavy piece to get out of the sellers basement - but I purchased the two bank steel roll top desk and have almost finished stripping & polishing the exterior & drawer facings. Its going to look stunning & can't wait to finish up this week and photograph it.

    Thanks for your posting on metal desks. The roll top is my most unique, but I've also been stripping & reselling other Steelcase, McDowell& Craig & Haskell tanker desks for the past year. So many of these desks are sent to scrap yards here in the US and its truly a shame. Thanks again ~

    Wes Bennett

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