Sculptural Form With Function: The Industrial “Draftsman” Stool Within The Interior

Adjustable Heights Of Purpose And Function:  The Draftsman Stool
Adjustable Heights Of Purpose And Function: The Draftsman Stool

The vintage drafting stool is an element of Iconic 20th century design. A design from the 1900’s, these industrial draftsman stools provide humble appeal when found within the interior. Perfect as extra seating or a distinctive perch from which to draft our own “plans”, these sculptural silhouettes hold a timeworn appeal that earns an appreciation of its past…

Of the many variations of this iconic stool, perhaps the designs of the Toledo Metal Furniture Company can be deemed as the “Icon” of sculptural form. The “Toledo Metal Furniture Company” was initially founded in 1857 as a division of Banner Metal Inc, in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. What began as a bicycle company (Uhl’s Cycle Emporium) in Toledo, Ohio would become the springboard that was founded and designed by brothers Philip E. Uhl & Clement R. Uhl. Who knew? In fact, from a family of ten brothers, (imagine!) other brothers would join forces in the cause for design. Believed to be inspired by America’s shift from bicycles to automobiles during the “Machine Age”, the Uhl brothers would set their focus to manufacturing ice cream parlor furniture. Alas, the metal ice cream chair! Renaming their company “Uhl Art Steel”, they would incorporate as the Toledo Metal Furniture Company in 1904. The Uhl brothers would begin to design various pieces of office and school furniture with industry grade steel that would eventually be linked to the “Industrial” look. By 1920 the company expanded to over 150 employees and the designs and products had expanded to include office and classroom furniture. But perhaps the hallmark of the company’s patented designs is linked to the “locked truss-rail leg” assembly of steel of the draftsman stool during the 1930’s that iconically endures as a aesthetically pleasing design element within the interior. Form and function. Minimalism of the “Machine Age” design, for certain. “Built to last a lifetime” with enduring distinctive style and versatile function.

Industrial Appeal & Character:  The "Vintage" Drafting Stool
Industrial Appeal & Character: The “Vintage” Drafting Stool
Vintage Images:  The "Draftsman"
Vintage Images: The “Draftsman”

A “Drafter”, “Draughtsman” or “Draftsman” historically referred to an individual who prepares detailed “technical drawings and plans under the direction of an architect or engineer”. The term also refers to a “visual artist who specializes in artistic drawings”. In the past, drafters sat at drawing boards with pencils, pens and drafting devices such as compasses, triangles and protractors, to prepare a drawing by hand. Alas, the artistry and skill of the hand vs. the technology of CADD (Computer Aided Design and Drafting) that would eventually replace the drafting board during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The evolution of technology. Yet, an appreciation for the original drafting stools with varnished oakwood or maple press-board seats, adjustable height and adjustable backrests paired with a pivoting base. Designed to endure. The ability to adjust the height by swiveling the seat up or down rather than a spring level. Again, function and form. The heavy steel and wood materials allowed for heavy use and durability. The early Toledo designs received a copper oxidization treatment known as “Japanning”. The effect created was a marbling black matte appearance with the sheen of copper that was popular during the turn of the 20th century. Of course, as all things evolve, fashion forward to the 1960’s and the arrival of thick molded seats and backs of solid plastic that would appear. But alas, the patina of wood and metal endures. Of course, with the arrival and success of any design opens the path for similar designs and aesthetics of form and function. The “Toledo Stool” is not alone within the archives of industrial furnishings. Yet perhaps it is one of the iconic companies that had behind its helm visionaries who utilized materials available to create adjustable use in wood and metal. Defining design, for certain.

The Drafting Tool:  A Wood & Metal Silhouette Of Function
The Drafting Tool: A Wood & Metal Silhouette Of Function
Dimensions Of Adjustable Height:  The Drafting Stool
Dimensions Of Adjustable Height: The Drafting Stool
The "Toledo Stool":  1900's Industrial Function & Durablity
The “Toledo Stool”: 1900’s Industrial Function & Durablity
The Toledo Company: Vintage Advertisting
The Toledo Company: Vintage Advertisting
Vintage Industrial & Mid Century Modern Appeal: The Drafting Stool In The Interior
Vintage Industrial & Mid Century Modern Appeal: The Drafting Stool In The Interior
Sculptural Appeal & Timeworn Character:  The Draftsman Stool
Sculptural Appeal & Timeworn Character: The Draftsman Stool
The Draftsman Stool:  Timeworn Design Of Purpose & Function Paired Within The Interior
The Draftsman Stool: Timeworn Design Of Purpose & Function Paired Within The Interior
Versatile Variations Of Form & Function:  The "Draftsman" Chair
Versatile Variations Of Form & Function: The “Draftsman” Chair
Adjustable Height With Timeworn, Industrial Appeal:  The Iconic Draftsman Stool
Adjustable Height With Timeworn, Industrial Appeal: The Iconic Draftsman Stool
Timeless Style WIth Form & Function:  The "Draftsman" Stool
Timeless Style WIth Form & Function: The “Draftsman” Stool

Whether a vintage stool is acquired with varnished oakwood, bent plywood or a striking modern variation, the timeless silhouette of industrial appeal endures. Variations abound. Consider with appreciation the classic, industrial draftsman stool within the interior. Whether with a fully adjustable seat with a backrest or an adjustable stool from which to perch, the function of this skillfully designed stool is certainly a classic icon of 20th century design. Mid Century appeal that swivels with patina. A perch with industrial appeal. A durable steel seating option with the warmth of wood that endures. A sculptural form with function, indeed…

Kristin

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