Thursday, January 8, 2009

That 70's Furniture

Furniture never looked so bendy and so uncomfortable.

Via Conde Nast.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Long Hair Saucer Chair

Discovered at WalMart last night (and apparently sold out this morning; I called to get more info to find a link for you -- how dedicated am I?!), the Long Hair Saucerchair. I bet it's more fun to say than to sit in. In truth, I just keep saying long-hair-saucer-chair over and over again -- but have no desire to sit in it.

This was the closest I could find to the chair. They make them for pets too, of course -- it would be cool to train a dog to take to his chair at the command of "Long Hair Saucer Chair."

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Back When Davenports Made The News

It's 1936 and women are being encouraged to have sleep-overs -- as long as the furniture is discreet. Why else would the newspaper be pushing sofa beds?

First it was a day bed and it was kept in the sewing room or the children's playroom where it served for guests. Then it evolved into the studio couch and it found a life of service in the one-room apartment. Now it is a sofa bed and has a definite place in the living room where it is hardly distinguishable from the ordinary sofa, davenport or love seat.

The newest versions of this two-purpose piece of furniture are offering interesting innovations both in appearance and in operation. Practically all of them are provided with backs of some sort, so that the cushions need not stand against a wall in order to maintain an upright position; and many of them have sides. Perhaps newest of them all is the love seat which opens into a four-foot bed.
Scans from The Milwaukee Journal (Sunday, August 9, 1936) sent from Silent Porn Star * (yup, adult content present at site), who wrote about the Sanity in Art movement article.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Sittin' On My TV Tuffet

From a 1955 Osco Drug ad; I'm still of an age where "drug store" meant "cheap department store," not "pharmacy and nothing else." You went to the drug store to buy comics, tap on the goldfish tanks, talk Mom into a pack of fake money and a squirt gun (because the allowance was being saved for comics, of course), oh, and Mom might need to find aspirin, band-aids, and nylons. Anyhow, this ad informs us that the drug store had an ample supply of this amazing piece of furniture: Tough, Rugged, Covered With Washable Plastic -- The TV Tuffet from Meljax!
These high-grade pieces of furniture came in numerous fashion colors that matched any decor: red, blue, yellow, and green. And you could get one of three different images silkscreened on the back: a cowboy, a Raggedy Ann, and a poorly-balanced elephant. As any parent of multiple children knows, these options aren't just for aesthetic purposes: the possibility of 12 combinations of color and picture means you're unlikely to buy identical chairs for any of your kids. If you've got two girls and a boy, you get a red Raggedy Ann, a blue Raggedy Ann, and a green Cowboy; simple as pie! And, in the fifties, you were willing to accept that the plastic was going to crack and split within a couple days of the chairs getting home, but the kids got used to the duct tape on their high chair, they can deal with duct tape on their tuffet. It was almost half-price even, marked down to $2.99 from $5.95.

Most amazing, and appropriate to the time, were the multiple uses of the tuffet -- you could, of course, watch TV, but it could also be used as a booster chair at the dinner table and in the car. Yes, look at that smiley kid at the bottom, relaxing seatbeltless with his hands behind his head, nary a care in the world -- you know, that care-free look you had shortly before you awaken to find teeth marks in the vinyl dashboard, blood seeping from one nostril, and a throbbing headache. Ah, the fifties were a wonderful time for children!

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Children of the Atomic Age

This week's Craft-Scan Friday is the bedroom of the kids of a 1950s rocket scientist -- no Beatles or football or Vietnam here. We're looking to the skies and the future!

The english-mangling caption reads:

In-orbit room for boy has atomic motifs on bedspread, rug with radiant northern lights, sleek tables. String circle, the pillows symbolize sun, moon, and earth. Plane, balloon, show the progress of flight. Setting is by Irma Bolley.

Irma Bolley, it appears, affected a generation with her string art, so it's no surprise she reproduced, as funky string art, something Dave Bowman saw in his descent into spaciness. While she did her best to interpret what a sky-obsessed kid would like, it's obviously what a kid would get if his grandma designed his bedroom using a handful of random space terms pulled from a hat. It even goes so far as to assume some important facts. For example, from the diorama, we can assume that kids who idolize astronauts drink Coca-Cola, eat uncut raw tomatoes, and snack on Shake-n-Bake pork chops. They enjoy the letter M, globes, chess, and Montgolfier. They will appreciate the opportunity to tell their friends that their afghan is decorated with an atomic diagram of beryllium. A truly geeky kid can understand the planetary symbolism depicted on the pillows, and will snort loudly while mocking less-nerdy kids who don't get it. Personally, I think the shag rug might actually be rather enjoyable, lying on my stomach with my nose an inch from that 12" black-and-white TV, even though the 'northern lights' symbolism is invisible even to my tolerant eye.

The amount of media in the room is a nice forward-looking touch, though. Not only is the space-faring child a TV watcher, they're a radio-listener and a record-player-player. Bolley also took the time to make rudimentally-accurate wooden model of the X-15, complete with external fuel tanks, to hang in the room. I admit, without a note on another page I probably wouldn't have recognized it as a real plane, but in comparison they did an adequate job of representing it. The abacus on the wall is nicely geeky, but it was probably as foreign to a kid of the 60s as a slide rule is to a kid today; although, I'd wager that once this kid reached his teenage years, having a counting/adding machine mounted above his couch-cum-bed would lead to knowing looks and innuendo. Having that, his friends might even overlook the creepy string art.

(source: McCall's Needlework & Crafts, Fall-Winter 1968-69)

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