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Friday, September 17, 2010

Scoop chair by Carter Brothers, Inc.

While looking for pictures to include in my previous post about chairs, I lucked upon information about a molded plywood chair I’ve owned for a few months but knew very little about….but, first, a little back story.

My daughter, son-in-law and I got the chair from a wholesaler of mid-century furniture in Oklahoma City.  We had made a buying trip to Austin and Houston the day before…about 10 hours of driving…and then had driven to OKC the next day…another 6 hour round trip.  We had bought about $3000 worth of furniture to sell in our booth at an antique mall, so in addition to the driving (and changing diapers and mixing bottles for Holden), we had done a lot of loading and unloading and were beyond exhaustion when we finally called it a day…sometime after midnight.  We were dragging ourselves into comfy chairs when we realized we had forgotten to close the garage door. Without turning on the light in the garage, I fumbled for the button and heard the door start down, followed seconds later by a horrifying crunch. Yep…whoever had unloaded the chair hadn’t put it far enough into the garage, and the door had smashed it to smithereens, pushing the back legs up into the chair and splintering the plywood.

I loved the design of the chair and had spent a good part of the trip back from Oklahoma trying to justify keeping it for myself, and now it looked like it might be a total write-off. I was sick! The next day I took it to a furniture restorer, and he said he could salvage it for $175.  We only had $100 in the chair, so making the decision to pay for repairs out of pocket that were almost double what we’d paid for it in the first place gave me the excuse I needed to “adopt” it for my home.  It took almost two months for the man to painstakingly rebuild the plywood, layer by layer, but when I picked it up, it looked beautiful.

Ever since the chair’s unfortunate accident and slow but complete rehabilitation, it has held a special place in my heart, but its history remained mysterious.  With the click of a mouse, however, it had a name and a pedigree yesterday.  It’s the #200 scoop chair by Carter Brothers, Inc., Salisbury, North Carolina.  According to an employee who started working for the company almost 50 years ago, the two-cushion model was discontinued around 1958.  After that, they produced a 1-cushion model. 

Once I had a name for the chair, I was able to search further and find a post by the granddaughter of one of the founders of the company.  Her grandfather told her that the chairs retailed back in the Fifties for $19.95-24.95, depending on the upholstery.

As a bonus, I found out that they chairs are now going for around $500-600, which made me feel considerably better about paying to have mine repaired.

#200 Scoop chair by Carter Brothers, Inc. - c. 1958


  1. Was your restoration expert able to save the original upholstery, or was that replaced as well? I'm curious because I've found one of these that might need some repair.

  2. @GreenEyedMonster: The upholstery wasn't hurt in the mishap, so what you see is the original. I'll eventually replace it though, because an owner in the past obviously had cats, and the top cushion has little claw holes. I've found an upholsterer who will recover the cushions for $45, which sounds very fair.