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Champions of the
Forgotten Maker

All of these producers made a high quality product that was designed to last and made with the best materials available. These pieces are in their humble way collectors items for the future. We are passionate about Baumann, Tolix, Nicolle, Thonet,Ton, Fibrocit, Evertaut,Mullca, Strafor just to name just a few. Products that were designed by craftsmen and engineered to last. Below is our constantly growing record of these Forgotten Makers.



Baumann was founded in 1901, by Swiss man Emile Baumann, in Colombier Fontaine, France. Baumann started producing a simple child’s chair ‘charette’ but grew rapidly to be a large bentwood producer cleverly marketing its brand as ‘the chairs of France’.

In time Baumann had showrooms all over France, in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Lille, Nantes, but also in Algiers, Oran and Tunis. At its peak in the 70’s it was producing nearly one million chairs a year.


Benjamin Industrial Lighting is internationally recognised as one of the most important 20th Century companies behind the development and industrial production and supply of commercial lighting.

Founded originally in Illinois (U.S.A) by the prolific inventor Reuben Berkley Benjamin, Benjamin lighting opened in the UK in 1908 and was the largest supplier of some of the most iconic industrial lighting in the world.


Another icon of French Industrial design, Bienaise chairs were designed and produced in Paris by two American brothers Franck and Harry Nelson.

Founded in the twenties they began by making accessories for bicycles before developing ergonomic and adjustable chairs for the booming demand for office and typists chairs. Bienaise ceased trading in the 1970’s.


We have struggled to find much history on the German firm Bombenstabil although it’s a maker we love and buy up whenever we can.

Specialising in comfortable and adjustable seating it was a leading producer of office chairs from the thirties through to the fifties.


Like PEL, COX, was one of the leading British tube metal furniture producers of the 20th Century.

Running alongside the Bauhaus tubular furniture development, these familiar chairs were so similar in design and size that they are often hard to distinguish apart and stack neatly with their own or competitors chairs. Cox ceased trading in the late 20th Century.


Technically Esavian is the brand name used by The Educational Supply Association to market its school furniture and accessories.

Founded in the late 19th Century is rose to prominence with the work of its in house designer James Leonard who developed a series of exceptional compass ‘style’ chairs and desks using pressure cast aluminium and some of the learnings from war production. One of the uncharted icons of British design Esavian closed its doors in the 1980’s although a sister company still continues to this day producing industrial doors.


Founded in the 1930’s Evertaut is established by JB Brooks & Co of Birmingham, a manufacturer of leather bicycle saddles and accessories, and founder of the Antler luggage brand.

It is set up as a separate division to make modernist furniture from tubular steel seeking entry to the booming market for ergonomic office furniture. Running the same course as Fibrocit or Multipl’s, Evertaut has survived and to this day focuses on supplying ergonomic seating to for commercial venues.


The process of steam bending beech to create elegant chairs was discovered and developed by Thonet, but when its patents expired in 1869 many companies including Fischel launched production.

Fischel was founded in 1871 by Czech born David Gabriel Fischel, a successful vegetable oil merchant, using the first-hand knowledge of his eldest son who had worked in one of Thonets Czech factories. First production was made in Germany in Niemes near the Danube. Later production moved to France in Alsace and sales offices were opened in most major French cities as Fischel became a major chair producer.


In 1926 Henri Lieber, a French industrial designer created his first industrial stool designed specifically to improve the comfort of women sitting in offices throughout France.

Flambo is one of the most famous Industrial French brands with an international cult following.


Following Hans Knolls death in 1955, Florence Knoll took over her husbands business and was instrumental in taking Knoll to a new level working with many of the most important designers of the twentieth century.


In 1947 Robert Muller and Gaston Cavaillon created the company that went on to develop arguably the most famous French school chair. Sadly, the company no longer exists but vintage chairs can still be found, beautifully made with a strong tubular frame with birch seats and back inserts.

The 510 is arguably one of the most important chairs of industrial production in France and charting the chairs evolution in design and production has become one of our favourite missions.


Founded in 1913 near Paris, Nicolle started as a factory forging and stamping metal disks. For his staff’s needs, Paul-Henry NICOLLE designs and manufactures a functional stool to which he adds an elegant metal backrest and the rest they say is history. Still focussed today on one simple chair or stool the Nicolle is a French industrial icon.


A classic and underappreciated British company PEL, Practical Equipment Ltd, was set up as a subsidiary company of Tube Investments, a metal tube manufacturer who was looking for new applications of their tubing.

Very much running alongside the industrial design movement of Bauhaus, PEL mass produced the classic tubular farmed seating which will be forever a part of British design, supplying volume canvas chairs to the Ministry of Defence and Wimbledon. PEL ceased trading at the end of the twentieth century but its chairs are still regularly uncovered in community halls throughout the UK.


Founded in the early 19th Century by Michael Thonet, Thonet invented the process of steam bending wood under pressure and used this to design the classic bentwood chairs still in production today. In the 19th Century he had a large network of shops throughout Europe and was a huge furniture retailer.

When Thonet’s patents expired in 1869 many competitors entered the market producing identical models but Thonet continued to dominate and still produces to this day. Thonet is arguably the longest surviving and most important chair producer in the world.


Tolix is one of our all time favourite companies. In 1907 Frenchman Xavier Pauchard discovered that he could protect sheet metal from rusting by dipping it in molten zinc (galvanisation) and a few years later he set up his factory producing steel furniture. Tolix was the creator and founder of perhaps the most iconic cafe chair of all time, the Tolix model A, designed in 1934 and still in production today.

Tolix is an iconic brand that perhaps, has never had the recognition it deserves. Many of its historic models including the H stool, T55 table and the T37 chairs are still hugely popular today. The number in the model name denotes the year of design.


In 1861, a bent furniture plant was opened in Bystřice pod Hostýnem in the Czech republic, it was founded by Michael Thonet, whose name the plant bore. After the second world war the factory was nationalised and became Ton. (the abbreviation standing for Továrna Ohýbaného Nábytku – (bent furniture factory).

Ton has extraordinary historic roots, an offshoot of the iconic Thonet. Ton continues to be the leading force in Czech furniture design and production.


Little is known of the early history of Mundus. At the beginning of the 20th Century there were two (amongst others) competing bentwood producers, J&J Kohn and Mundus. Both produced chairs in various factories throughout the Austro Hungarian empire. Undoubtedly due to a combination of commercial pressure from the market leading producer Thonet and the political upheaval of the time, the firms merged in 1914 and in 1922 was absorbed into Thonet.

Production seems to have existed in multiple locations, but typically Austria and Czechoslovakia and occasionally co-signed with Jacob and Josef Kohn.


The Forge de Strasbourg was founded in the South East of France in 1919. They were one of the global pioneers of the manufacture of sheet metal furniture principally for industry, and undoubtedly recognisable by the signature rippled steel finish used on the original production. In 1926 the company launched the brand ‘Strafor’ and moved into atelier furniture with more sophisticated and branded pieces

An icon of industrial furniture their early ribbed lockers are highly sought after.


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