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Ercol has furniture that has been around since the early 1900s. When shopping, you may stumble upon things that look like an Ercol but actually aren’t. So, if you find a piece, how can you determine if it really is Ercol furniture? After doing the research, we’ve determined how you can identify this brand of furniture.
Ercol furniture can be identified by a label, stamp, or badge, depending on the year that it was made. The pieces from the 1950s to the 1970s would each have a small, square label that is blue and silver. This maker’s mark evolved to the most recent centenary logos which has the Ercol lion. Ercol furniture has also been well-known for its wedged-through-seat legs design and round stick backs.
You’ve got the basics on how to identify Ercol furniture now, it’s time to get more in-depth. Continuing on, we’ll answer a few more questions, including what type of wood Ercol furniture is made from and some common design styles the pieces have.
Types of Ercol Pieces
Ercol offers a wide array of home furniture. Originally starting with a variety of kitchen, dining, and school chairs, Ercol then expanded to armchairs, love seats, and sofas. Today you’re also able to find beds, desks, armoires, and rocking chairs.
Where is Ercol furniture from?
Ercol, originally Furniture Industries, was founded by Lucian Ercolani in 1920. The original factory was located in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. In 2002, Ercol moved its factory to Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire. They have also partnered with manufacturing companies around the world.
While the company was founded in 1920, it really started to make its mark in 1944 when the Board of Trade contacted them. Ercol was offered a contract to supply 100,000 chairs with a low-cost design. Ercolani created special machines to create the chairs at a low cost and made it possible for people to mass-produce chairs.
This contract is what led Ercol to create the Windsor range of furniture. This range is where the company’s future designs take their inspiration from. Many aspects of the Windsor range are seen in Ercol’s designs through the years.
The company’s evolving maker’s mark is an easy way to identify what time period your Ercol piece is from. A maker’s mark is a manufacturing mark that informs you who made the piece. This information can help you determine a piece’s authenticity. If you have a small blue label, your Ercol is probably from the years 1954 through 1976. While a gold label will put a piece in the 1977 to 1995 years range.
A common feature of Ercol chairs is the Windsor wedge joint or wedge-through-seat joint. Many of the Windsor range chairs have it, and it is a good identifier of Ercol furniture of that time. The stacking chair, which is classically Ercol, is an example of a wedge joint chair.
Ercolani was also proficient at steam bending wood. This is clear by the way steam bending has been seen in many of his designs. This technique has become a signature look in many of Ercol’s chairs even after Ercolani’s retirement.
The Windsor range chairs all have stick backs. These sticks are round. If you find a chair from that era with squared or oval sticks, they are most likely not Ercol furniture. Ercol furniture from that range that isn’t a solid seat usually had webbing for support.
What wood is Ercol furniture made from?
The final way to help identify an Ercol is by wood type. Pieces from the Windsor range are made from one of two types of wood, elm or beech. Generally, elm was used for solid seat designs, and beech was used for all other furniture types.
Recently, Ercol uses timber which is sourced from around the world. The wood the company works primarily with hardwoods. Ash, elm, beech, oak, and walnut are used depending on which timber fits each design best.
What finish is used on Ercol furniture?
In order to protect Ercol furniture, each piece is coated with a layer of lacquer. This protects against normal daily use and also allows the timber’s natural beauty to be present. Ercol’s oak furniture is generally finished in a clear matt lacquer. Some ranges, usually ash, also have the option for stain finishes. These finishes range from clear to dark.
Is Ercol furniture good quality?
Throughout its years, Ercol has been dedicated to providing beautiful, quality furniture to its customers. They have won numerous awards to prove that they are constantly working towards achieving that goal. Lucian Ercolani has received the Design Guild Mark award for five of his pieces from the Windsor range. Two additional Design Studio members have received this award, and the most recent recipient was in 2016.
Ercol has also received the Manufacturing Guild Mark, an award that only 50 companies can hold at one time. In 2013 they received Best in Furniture at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York. Their final award is for their Von Collection in the Public, Leisure, or Office Furniture category during the FX Awards.
Not only are Ercol’s designs beautiful, but the pieces are built to last. Ercol aims to make furniture only out of high-quality timbers. Each piece is designed to last and should provide years of use before it needs to be replaced. On top of choosing good wood, Ercol also ensures its fabric is up to the test. The fabrics used on Ercol are chosen because they are durable. Reupholster certain furniture pieces, still today, with new cushions.
Does Ercol still make furniture?
If you’re looking for newer pieces by Ercol, you’re in luck! The company just celebrated 100 years of Ercol furniture in 2020. To commemorate the big event, Ercol has rereleased a select number of pieces from their Originals line. These pieces are inspired by Ercolani’s original Windsor range and will sport the centenary logo.
Ercol furniture hasn’t lost its popularity throughout the years. When purchasing Ercol, it’s important to look for those tell-tale signs before you buy. Checking for maker’s marks, building material, and Ercol design styles will help ensure you have an authentic piece.
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