Monday, February 13, 2012

We Took A Quick Trip To The South County Antique Mall This Afternoon. Found A Pair Of Under Appreciated Vintage Modern Lovelies. Status: Love When That Happens!


No, they aren't Knoll and definitely not original Groupo Australs but they are still great vintage modern knock offs (of which there are ba-zillions) of the Hardoy Butterfly Chair.  Stuck in a booth way in the back hidden behind a bunch of utterly incongruous antique mall fare, they were the bargain of the week.  Happy as a clam was I to free up a good amount of booth space for the seller!  Why am I writing like Yoda?


There's not a lot of information about identifying a genuine Knoll or Groupo Austral chair from

the torrent of knock off copies that came after their introduction 1940.  Seems as though the

Knoll chairs were delivered with a leather seat sling and I think the rear uprights had a subtle

inward bend at about the top 5 inches.  I have no doubt that these chairs are just a pair of the

millions of copies but that's quite alright.  They're Vintage copies!


The pair was priced so cheaply that I had to check all the welds for breaks and the canvas for

holes and tares!  None were found I'm happy to report.  One frame has been poorly repainted

and the other is covered in surface rust though.  These will be easy to clean up and will look

great again with a couple coats of black semi-gloss or bright white.


We actually only went to the antique mall to see if I could locate the booth that I thought would

have the Herman Miller / Eames conference dining table that was purchased at that shoe

business close out sale about a week ago
.  I finally found it...after looking through almost the

entire antique mall...and making the lucking find.  Pays to be persistent!  There were some

other cool items of note at the mall as well.  I'll share those with you tomorrow.  Meanwhile,

anybody aching for a pair of Butterfly Chairs for their upcoming mod patio season?  Get 'em

before I drop them on my ad!


  1. I will never really understand butterfly chairs. I want to like them but they just scream dorm room to me. Plus they are hard to sit in. But it seems like plenty of other people are into them so I'm sure you won't have any trouble finding them a home.

    1. Hi Vintage H. I can totally understand and empathize with you on the association thing. It took a long time for me to stop associating Eames shell chairs solely with the laundramat visits and the waiting rooms of my formative youth. Lot's of the stuff I love now are things that I looked at with derision between my teens and thirties. Sometimes it takes seeing a particular item in the right context to change your mind.

      Try this one...

      ...or this one...

      ...or maybe this one!


    2. Ha! I can see how the hot women lounging on a butterfly chair could work on the male persuasion but it's not doing a lot for me! I do like the third example with them used outside. I can see them in that context. I've noticed several laudromats around the area that still have old shell setups outside. Been tempted to see if any would consider selling them. Not that I need any more!

  2. I found a pair of these at an estate sale not too long ago. I paid $40 for the pair, they had bright yellow slings, that i dyed brown. They do have the inward flare on the back pieces, and we love them! They are great, with the kids, the baby often naps in one. I put sheep skins in both, and you don't have to fight the animals for a spot to sit, and you don't have to worry about the cats scratching them up. I have never found a way to tell if they are knockoffs or not, they are vintage, but with the knoll butterflies not being made as long as the knockoffs have beehive produced. I would love brown leather slings, but with them being so pricey, i'ge been thinking of sewing new slings out of old military canvas.

    1. Hi Hannah. $40 is a great deal for a pair in my opinion. I drove to Chicago a few years ago and paid $100 for a pair (that I still have!). I'm of the opinion that unless a seller has some sort of receipt or other provenance, any butterfly chair should be considered a knock off. I've never heard of a Knoll butterfly chair being marked but perhaps the covers, like the Bertoia chair pads, might have the label sewn on to it. Anybody?

    2. ...Oh, and if you do happen to make up a set of slings let me know! I might want to have you make me some! The options for fabric and patterns is mind boggling!

  3. The sling/butterfly chairs are great even though as you mentioned they were knocked off many times over. These look like great "vintage" examples and we've moved some through my wifes store before we got the new place up and running. I would have no problem showcasing in the new digs...