Ercol Windsor Chair – Their Origin and History of Success

Ercol Windsor Chair

The Ercol Windsor Chair, one of the most popular furniture pieces in the history of England, was designed by the great furniture maker Lucien Ercolani in 1944. It was achieved by combining age-old design and contemporary styles prevailing during the 40s and 50s. It occupied a place in the glorious list of best selling chairs during that time and is a favourite of genteel people even today. However, this remarkable invention was born just by chance, a fact that is equally fascinating as the design of the Ercol Windsor.

In the year of 1944, a certain representative from the Board of Trade proposed a contract to Ercolani, the head of Ercol, for supplying a total of ten thousand chairs with an inexpensive design. Interested Ercolani accepted the offer on a condition. He said that it would take him twelve months for setting up special equipments in order to manufacture the chairs at low expenses quickly. The cost of each was only 10 shillings and 6 pennies.

Ercolani was struck with the idea of creating the exquisite and simple Windsor chairs, an evolved form of a stool with three legs. He thought that it would be ideal for fulfilling the contract of the Board of Trade. The Windsor originated in High Wycombe region during the seventeenth century, and was made up of four legs connected to the bottom of a base that had a seat on top of it and a few wooden rods for its back.

However, there was just one thing that Ercolani did which is the reason why the Windsor chairs designed by him became so popular. He decided to use elm for completing his project, a wood type that was shunned by furniture makers before the Second World War. He discovered that when steam is circulated around the planks of kiln-dried elm, it becomes seasoned enough for effective use. As a result, elm became a staple choice for production of Ercol furniture.

The outcome that Ercolani achieved was highly exotic in style with a modern and light appearance. The entire furniture was modern because of two reasons – firstly, it was made using elm and secondly, the method of production was entirely new. Even today, the Ercol Windsor Chairs and other furniture pieces designed by Lucien Ercolani are greatly adored as valuable antiques, and there are several firms all throughout England who provide efficient Ercol restoration services.

furniture maker Lucien Ercolani


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