The Infamous Mr. Chair

IMG_1511

Mr. Chair designed by George Mulhauser for Plycraft

I recently acquired a Mr. Chair designed by George Mulhauser for Plycraft in the 1950s. Given that I have a background in industrial design, I am in love with this chair! George Mulhauser was a pioneer in the field and designed the chair to be made of a single sheet of plywood formed via a steam process. He is also known for the coconut chair that he designed alongside George Nelson for Herman Miller.

I restored the chair’s plywood and carefully cleaned the naugahyde which is in overall great shape, despite a couple minor picks to the seat cushion. Unexpectedly, the restoration process ended up being fairly quick. First I removed some paint scuffs from the back of the chair with acetone. (Pro tip: Acetone is the main ingredient in nail polish removers so they often work as a paint remover as well.) Next I used a stain touch up pen to conceal areas where the stain had been scratched off. This did the trick!

There was an area where duct tape had been stuck to the back of the chair, and I was able to remove the residue with a little “GooGone.” Finally, I used orange oil to condition the wood and it shined up like new. See before and after pictures below.

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Back of chair “Before”

"Before"

Back of chair "After"

Back of chair “After”

I was so happy to discover the original ad for this chair online! My chair has the exact same dimensions and base style featured in the ad.

Vintage Ad

Vintage Ad

Interestingly, my chair came with a headrest that was detached.I have seen newer versions of the chair with headrests, but they usually have a different base style. The ad above doesn’t depict a headrest for this version of the chair, so perhaps it isn’t original. Nonetheless, I’ve been trying to figure out how to reattach it to the chair. If you know more about this version of the Mr. Chair, I’d love your feedback in the comments below.

Headrest

Headrest

I found a nice article about the Mr. chair in a recent Dwell magazine article: http://www.dwell.com/product/article/mr-chair-george-mulhauser-plycraft

The chairs pictured in the article also do not have headrests.

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