Lauren and Michael K. are young professionals who live in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. Last fall they set out to replace the 15 year old desk chair that Michael purchased while in college. They were looking for something classic, comfortable, and durable. Lauren happened to mention their search to her father, Howard, who recalled that he had in the basement of his small office building in New Jersey two old wooden chairs that he rescued from a departing tenant years earlier. Howard recalled from his youth that the 42nd Street Library in Manhattan used to have chairs like these. He made a note to himself to retrieve the chairs from the basement the next time Lauren and Michael were in New Jersey.
When Lauren and Michael visited her parents for Thanksgiving, Howard surprised them with the chairs. Having spent a lot of time in libraries during the course of college and graduate school, Lauren and Michael instantly recognized the chairs as classics. Though the chairs had suffered some damage over the years, these were just what Lauren and Michael were looking for.
Michael flipped over one of the chairs to see if it bore any marks indicating the manufacturer or the age. Attached to the bottom of each was a small leather tag, firmly attached with rivets. On each tag was printed “W.H. Gunlocke Chair Co. Wayland, N.Y.” In addition, the tags each were stamped “1947”, along with “1017” on one, and “1172” on the other. These tags were clearly intended to last a long time, and they had succeeded in that mission.
Eager to bring them back to their original splendor, but concerned about doing that properly, he wrote to Gunlocke seeking guidance. Gunlocke craftsmen advised Michael that he could have the chairs refinished locally.
Packing the chairs into their car for the drive back to Maryland, Lauren and Michael were happy to be near the end of their quest. Upon returning home, Michael, having had some other pieces refinished over the years, called Sam Twyman, an expert refinisher who could be trusted with this project. Sam quickly came to see the chairs, and he was confident that he could restore them.
A few weeks later, shortly before Christmas, Sam called to say that the chairs were finished. The chairs looked magnificent, and they even still had their original Gunlocke leather tags. Michael and Lauren made sure that the chairs now enjoy places of prominence where they are used and enjoyed.
Lauren and Michael feel very fortunate to have these chairs, and thank Gunlocke for making them and for continuing to provide personalized support 60 years later.
Michael & Lauren K.
Michael K. Washington, DC
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