A Little History About…Russel Wright Folding Chairs

by Landis Carey on February 23, 2011

Remember these Russel Wright chairs I picked-up two weeks ago while Décor Hunting at Zonal Home? I learned they were originally designed by Wright in the early 1950s for Samsonite. Yes, Samsonite the luggage maker. They sold for $9.95 each and Samsonite marketed them as ”the outdoor folding furniture with the weather-proof automobile finish.”

Here’s copy from the vintage ad I found, complete with bold and italics:

Get real enjoyment out of the good weather ahead with Samsonite. It’s the outdoor furniture that’s easy to relax in and easy to care for! Don’t worry about it when it rains. It comes clean and dry with the wipe of a cloth because it has the same weather-proof finish as your car! The seat and back are posture-curved. The arms are extra wide. And because these remarkable chairs fold, you can store a lawnfull of them in practically no space at all. They make wonderful extra chairs indoors, too, all winter!”

Loving (loving!) that this ad agency was thinking multi-use and longevity. The two chairs will arrive later this week (woohoo!) and I’m so curious how we’ll make them once again useful.

(Image: Landis Carey)

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Dubois March 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Hi, I have four of these Russel Wright folding chairs and I love them. I have been contemplating restoring (painting) them for years. What stops me is that I don’t want to damage the wonderful gold colored labels on the underside. They have the original paint and the white rubber feet where they rest on the ground. Can’t wait to see what you are going to do with yours when you get them. Enjoy.


Landis Carey March 29, 2012 at 8:57 am

It sounds like your set of chairs might be in a little better condition than ours, Larry! It seems ours have already been painted over several times by previous owners, so I’m not all that reluctant to just go for it. We’ll see, keep an eye out this summer for these little chairs adorning our backyard.


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