If you see one of these chairs, BUY IT, they are the best.
July 15, 2011 11:17 AM   Subscribe

I have access to the best chairs in the world, but so far as I know there are only four of them. Can anyone help me find more of these fabulous springy outdoor chairs, probably from the mid-20th century? Details inside.

So, these chairs have been in use at my grandparents' various homes throughout my lifetime. All of my aunts and uncles remember them as having been around forever, meaning they would be 60-ish years old at least.

The chairs are made of bent flat metal pieces that act as springs (the lower pieces especially - the upper pieces are thinner and less springy), with wooden slats that make up the part you actually sit and lean on. Many of the slats have been replaced (also many of the rivets that hold the slats). The metal seems to be in good shape despite many years of being kept outside all summer. I suspect they've been painted several times (with marine paint?) but I could be wrong about that, and I don't know if they were always painted.

Other chair facts:
  • When you sit on them they have a lovely springy rocking motion.
  • They weigh about a million pounds; I can't really lift them, though you can drag them around pretty easily.
  • The chairs have been in Massachusetts or Maine for as long as I can remember, and I assume they're originally from New England.
  • We have three that are all the same size and one that is slightly different in construction and a little bit taller (and has armrests that are held on with duct tape).
Anyhow, I love these chairs, and I don't want to wait until everyone else in my family dies to get my hands on one of my own. And they'd make great family wedding/housewarming presents, etc.

Does anyone know if these are still made, what they're called, or any other pertinent information?
posted by mskyle to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I can't find the exact type that you have but you may want to search

metal lawn chair (search google images - ton of em)
sling/spring chairs
[vintage] motel chairs
posted by KogeLiz at 11:37 AM on July 15, 2011

They're cantilever chairs, or "bouncers" as they seem to be called in vintage furniture shop parlance. I've never seen any with wood slats before, but the all metal variety appear to be easy to come by.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:41 AM on July 15, 2011

Best answer: Not your treasures, alas, but the keywords might be helpful:

BOUNCY BOUNCE patio deck chair

Vintage Eames Bounce Chairs Patio/Lawn/Porch

Vintage Mid Century Modern Metal Patio Chairs
posted by MonkeyToes at 11:54 AM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have some too. just separated from my husband, I knew he liked them, but they were one of the few things he asked to keep at the house. He happily has them on the deck. His are wrought iron, mid-century. You may search that style too.
posted by jennstra at 12:40 PM on July 15, 2011

at least 5 in the universe as i have just one, handed down from grandma, toldeo ohio c 1950. we call it a patio bounce chair. here was what i found throwing it into gis:

[on preview] what they said.
posted by chasles at 1:08 PM on July 15, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks folks! The all-metal motel-type chairs are the next best thing, but in general I've found them to be significantly less bouncy/springy than our chairs. This might be a deliberate safety change for safety purposes, since our chairs are so bouncy that if you stand up at the right point in your bounce, they can bounce themselves over if they're on a bit of an incline. Maybe I need to sit in some older versions - I think the ones I've tried have been reproduction rather than vintage.

But at least there's hope that someday, if I hit the right yard sale at some ungodly hour of the morning, I could stumble across another one!
posted by mskyle at 1:12 PM on July 15, 2011

Response by poster: "...safety change for safety purposes," argh. The new ones are probably safer, is what I'm saying.
posted by mskyle at 1:16 PM on July 15, 2011

I found this beautiful set (Way down at the bottom of the page), but the blogger mentions that they are hand-me-downs from grandparents, also.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:12 PM on July 15, 2011 [1 favorite]

The patio deck of the dining hall at my college had chairs very similar to the last ones linked by SLC Mom, if not identical. They were super springy, but really, really heavy. Maybe look at furniture manufactured for institutions?
posted by dizziest at 8:41 AM on July 16, 2011

Response by poster: That's a really interesting idea, dizziest, about looking at institutional furniture! I know my grandparents bought a bunch of beds from a Catholic boarding school when it was converted to a day school, so they had a predilection for used institutional furniture :)
posted by mskyle at 8:38 AM on July 18, 2011

You've seen candybouncer.com, yes?
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:03 PM on July 19, 2011

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