Mission statement

To collect, preserve, and share history associated with Louis Dupuy's Hotel de Paris, and serve as a catalyst for heritage tourism in Georgetown, Colorado.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lounging About: Improved, Adjustable Folding Chairs Receive High Marks

 
Hotel de Paris Museum's collection of convertible furniture is a perennial favorite of visitors to the site.  With a history steeped in Napoleon Bonaparte's French Campaign in the Orient, and later adapted to the needs of railroads in the United States (as well as the style-conscious American middle class and space-constrained urban dwellers), it is no wonder proprietor Louis Dupuy furnished his world-famous hotel with these clever and inventive objects.



Country Living Magazine included in its June 2012 edition information about a late 19th Century chaise longue (seen above, without upholstery) by Cevedra Blake Sheldon, an inventor and architect from New York City.  Sheldon sold his idea to Marks Adjustable Folding Chair Company, which improved the design and patented the product in 1876.
The Marks Improved Adjustable Folding Chair came in a variety of styles that offered “solid comfort” and “luxurious ease.”  The mechanics of the chair allowed it to be adjusted by means of a lever located at the seat rail.  The manufacturer promoted its chairs for use in parlors and libraries.  It appears that by the end of 1900, Louis Dupuy had placed his Marks chair in Sample Room 2 (by this time, Louis had stopped renting his sample rooms to traveling salesmen and began using the space for reading and writing).


Several months after Louis' death in October 1900, an inventory for the sake of appraisement was taken; this document confirms the presence of an “iron folding chair and cushions” in the room where the chair remains to this day.

 
Louis, an avid cigar smoker, probably read the provocative question posed by Marks: “What thoroughbred American gentleman smoker can…not appreciate the luxury of an after-dinner Havana?  It [the folding chair] is the smoker’s paradise…”  Like many companies today, Marks used its catalogs to paint a picture of comfort, durability, style, and choice; therefore, sales were made by suggesting a desirable lifestyle.

 
 

4 comments:

  1. Very interesting, Kevin. So fascinating to learn the background of the chair that like so many other pieces in the Hotel de Paris, is practical, beautiful, and unusual.

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    1. comment to you Ruth and to you, Kevin: I've got a Marks Adjustable Chair. About 35 years ago in Ithaca, NY I caned all four surfaces. Now, I want to get cushions for the chair and try to keep its Victorian/turn-of-the-century look. Haven't had any luck yet. Nice to see the chair on line.

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  2. Amazing! what a unique design, thanks foe sharing.furniture company UK

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