5 Tips on How to Spot an Authentic Ercol Chair

CEO Khai Intela
It's not every day that you get to sit in a design classic - and that's always the case when you're relaxing in an Ercol chair. Whether it's the iconic Ercol stacking chairs, the model...

It's not every day that you get to sit in a design classic - and that's always the case when you're relaxing in an Ercol chair. Whether it's the iconic Ercol stacking chairs, the model 203 sofa and armchairs from the Windsor range, or the high stick-back dining chairs, you'll know that you're in good hands.

The company, founded in 1920 by Lucian Ercolani, has long been a stalwart of the furniture industry, and its designs can be seen in all walks of life - the Ercol factory even produced tent pegs for the army during the war!

In this article, we'll share expert insights on how to identify an original Ercol chair. Simon Andrews, one of our expert sellers, will walk us through the tips he uses to spot authenticity.

Is there an Ercol label?

The most obvious sign that you have a genuine Ercol piece is an Ercol label. All furniture is stamped with a sticker indicating the year it was manufactured. Ercol labels have changed over the years, but the ones you are most likely to find are either small, square blue labels printed on metallic paper or circular gold labels with a lion sitting above the name. While these labels are a great way to spot an authentic piece, they're not foolproof. The blue labels tend to come off easily, so a missing label doesn't necessarily mean it isn't genuine.

Ercol label Ercol label

What is the Ercol chair made of?

During the mid-century period, Ercol used only two woods in the Windsor range: beech and elm. Beechwood was used for table and sideboard legs, as well as most of the chairs (except for the solid seats). Beech is a light wood with a noticeable fleck in the grain, while elm is somewhat darker with an attractive swirly grain pattern.

Consider the style of the Ercol piece

A classic feature of the Windsor range chairs is the presence of the Windsor wedge joint, or wedge-through-seat joint. To spot this, look for small circles on the base with a different wood grain than the rest of the seat, where the legs meet the seat.

The style of an ercol chair

Webbing

Almost every Ercol chair from the Windsor range will be webbed, except for some very early chairs that used tension springs. 'Webbing' refers to the straps that make up the base of the chair, underneath the cushion. The webbing patterns have changed over the years, but the traditional webbing on many chairs is 'Pirelli' webbing, which has a canvas interior and rubber exterior.

Stick backrests

Another key feature to check is the sticks that make up the backrests of chairs. On Ercol chairs, the stick backrests are always round, while many 'Ercol style' chairs have oval or squared-off sticks.

Color & finish of the Ercol chair

Color causes much confusion. Windsor chairs up until 1981 were finished in natural 'light wood' with a clear lacquer. Chairs in darker colors come from the Old Colonial range. From around 1982, Golden Dawn was introduced as an option, and the old colonial dark finish became Traditional. Be careful when buying furniture in darker colors.

Is the price right?

'Ercol inspired' pieces will often have a far lower price than genuine ones, especially in the sought-after Windsor range. Cross-check prices across different sites to see the average fetch for different pieces. If the price is vastly different from the price on Ercol's website, it's best to give it a miss.

Getting Serious About Identifying Ercol Furniture

If you want to dive deeper, there is an excellent book called Ercol Furniture in the Making by Lesley Jackson, which can help identify Ercol pieces. Additionally, there is an archive with some old Ercol brochures available. Our vintage marketplace offers a carefully curated selection of genuine and authentic Ercol furniture and seating. Browse our range and trust our expert sellers to ensure you get the real deal.

Remember, the joy of sitting in an Ercol chair lies not only in its design and craftsmanship but also in the knowledge that you are experiencing a piece of history. So take your time, appreciate the details, and find your perfect Ercol chair.

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