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set of four

VINTAGE ARNE JACOBSEN
3-LEGGED ANT CHAIRS

~ the 3100s ~

$2400

 

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THE CHAIRS

Arne Jacobsen originally designed these iconic chairs in 1952. At some point in 1960/1961, the manufacturer, Fritz Hansen, switched from a metal bottom-plate to a plastic bottom-plate. Since this quartet of chairs have metal ones, one has to assume they were manufactured between 1952 and 1959.

The chair also comes in two models: 3-legged or 4-legged (known officially as "Series 3100" and "Series 3101", respectively). These are obviously 3100s. All 12 legs are solid and level. Today, these chairs retail for us$626, each, directly from Fritz Hansen. Of course the new ones have the plastic bottom.

You can see from the photo of the bottom of these chairs that they are officially manufactured by Fritz Hansen (see photo 6, of metal stamp) in Denmark (see photo 6, of metal stamp, and photo 7, of "Danish Furniture Makers Control" sticker).

In addition to the stamp and the sticker, the bottom of each chair is painted in white: Made in Denmark and features a painted FH logo (for Fritz Hansen). If you find it hard to spot in photo 8, I promise they're very easy to read in person.

Speaking of the wood portion, each chair has some scrapes and scuffs--they're 60+ years old, afterall -- but they are all very structurally sound and have no issues.

HISTORY

I purchased these chairs, and two others, about 20 years ago. They were bought, disassembled, from someone who'd had them in their garage for, literally, decades. Though all of the parts -- legs, plates, and chairs -- were structurally sound, when assembled, the chairs wobbled, which is the reason the guy was selling them. 

What he didn't understand was that all that time in the garage had led the rubber stoppers, which sit both on the legs and between them and the seat-bottoms in order to keep the wood stable and allow it some give when you sit on it, had rotted away and were just tiny nubs which were incapable of performing their function.

Over the course of seven months, I managed to track down someone at Fritz Hansen who was willing to sell me just the rubber stoppers so that I could assemble the chairs into the wonderful pieces they are today. This was a far more convoluted purchase than you can possibly imagine, because, I remember them telling me, "We don't do that. If you want to buy the rubber stoppers, you need to pay for the chair that's attached to them. We have no system in place to sell one without the other." I'm sure things have changed since then, but I remember being baffled at the hoops I had to jump through.  You can see the stoppers at the top of the the right and left chair legs in photo 8. They're the only non-vintage part of these chairs, even though they are officially FH.

STATUS

Available. Text or telephone 416 55 66 278 to inquire. Note: I am not interested in selling the chairs individually.

90-Year old

wrought-iron
stagelight

$1525

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THE ITEM

A fully-functioning oldschool stage-lamp built in the late 20s and meant for lighting theatre and dance productions. Constructed of wrought-iron and steel with an adjustable height. Heavy, but can be moved by rolling on the round base.

Still has the sliders in front of the bulb so that you can install gels in order to alter the color of the light cast. If you can’t find a sliding insert, you could always just attach a gel to the frame with clothespins, something we did frequently in film school.

HISTORY WITH ME

I purchased 3 of these lights about 15 years ago. They were neither functioning or adjustable. The other two, which weren't as nice, were resold about a year later.

I had a licensed electrician disassemble this one and rewire it and then I had a welder take a blowtorch to the stem and bolts in order for them to expand slightly and break the crud that had built up over the previous 70+ years--that way the screw could be easily turned by hand to adjust the height. Works great.

I also hunted high and low to find an authentic incandescent light bulb as this was well before Ikea and other suppliers were building LED lights with “old-timey” looks to them. I found some deadstock at a lamp supplier and purchased a new bulb for $90. I’d estimate that over the years the bulb has been on for only a couple hours, total, as, though the light works perfectly, to me it was always more of a showpiece.

Should the bulb ever burn out you of course could replace it with the LED-type and people would only know with close inspection.

When the electrician rewired it, I had him do the following:

  • Leave on, but fully disconnect, the old switchbox for an authentic look (see photo)

  • Use 20 feet of industrial-sheathed cable so it’s always in range of an outlet

  • Install an industrial switch with safety cover and dimmer (see photo)

HISTORY OF THE LAMP

When I purcashed it, I researched the name built into the base (“Perkins Electric ~ Toronto ~ Montreal”) and found records from the late 1920s, though I can no longer find those records, as a currently-operating place with the same name in Florida dominates the searches.

But, there is another, hand-written identifier on the light, which is much more interesting. It's written both on the base and the side of the lamp-head: "Studio Morenoff".

Maurice Lacasse Morenoff, dancer, teacher, choreographer (b in Montréal 2 Feb 1906; d there 23 Jan 1993). From the age of six, Maurice took lessons at the social DANCE studio, which his father, Adélard Lacasse, had opened in the city's east end in 1895. More here.

This video is from the studio. 

Fantastic stuff!

ISSUES

The only caveat to this unique piece is that these legit old-timey bulbs, especially when connected to a dimmer, let out a slight "buzz" when on. The dimmer the light, the softer the buzz. The range offered by the lamp can be as low as a "campfire glow" mood to a stunning, "light up the block" burn. On a setting comfortable for indoors, I always found the music and din of a party easily drowned the slight buzz of electrics.

A fascinating, functioning, one-of-a-kind conversation-piece for any modern home or loft.

STATUS

Available. Text or telephone 416 55 66 278 to inquire.