Restoration & Conservation

Parker Knoll Antique Reupholstery

Life is full of surprises!  During his 40 years as an upholsterer, David had never come across an antique chair like this.  As it arrived as just a metal frame and with no knowledge of what it should look like, could we get it bring it back to being the chair it once was? The only thing we had to go on was the name Parker Knoll and a design number stamped on it.

A few months ago a gentleman brought in the metal frame of an antique chair that he had rescued from being thrown into a skip by his employer.  He was intrigued and so were we.   We contacted Parker Knoll, but they were taken over by another company in 2005 and had no record of this model.  They suggested we get in touch with the Frederick Parker Foundation.  They have a collection of 170 chairs in The London Metropolitan University and after a bit of research, were able to let us have a photograph of a similar one.  We were getting somewhere!

(Top Left) The remnants of the top rail and fabric.

(Above Left) The code for this design of chair.

(Above Right) The chair as it arrived with us. Not much left but the untarnished, painted aluminium frame and what remained of the wooden back rail and arms.

It was thanks to the specialist knowledge of Martin Jourdan at the Frederick Parker Foundation that we were able to discover so much about the chair.  It turns out that this design was put into production following WW2 when metal was one of the only materials readily available. The design however was soon discontinued due to the expense of its manufacture and so only about 100 were actually made. How many still exist is hard to say!

By closely examining the photograph, David was able to work out how to reinstate the upholstery.  Parker Knoll were able to provide us with the springs and John one of our restorers found the clips needed to keep the upholstery in place.  We left the frame pretty much as it was, as it was felt that glitzing it up wouldn’t be appropriate, but all in all we were pleased with the  outcome … and more importantly so was our customer!

Wooden arms replaced and upholstered to match the original intention of the designers, the chair now ready to stand again the test of time.

Replica springs were supplied to the original specifications by Parker Knoll

This unique design used clips as shown in the image above, to secure the back to the frame.

Learn more about our Upholstery Workshop

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