A Guide to Vintage Ercol Dining Chairs
Vintage Ercol furniture always forms a large part of our inventory.
We have spoken at length about why we love Ercol before so we won’t waste any time doing that here.
However, one thing we have noticed since we started trading is that our customers can get confused about which Ercol items they are trying to source.
For example, they might know the shape of what they are looking for but not the name.
And since all Ercol has similar design features, this can lead to an awkward conversation as someone tries to draw the shape of a chair in mid-air.
As such, we thought we’d put together a guide on the different types of Ercol dining chairs.
Here we will look at how easy they are to find, how much you can expect to pay second hand and, where applicable, how much they cost new.
We’ll start with the chairs we feel are the easiest to source at a reasonable price and work backwards until we reach the fiendishly difficult.
Ercol Quaker Dining Chair
The Quaker is probably the easiest of all Ercol dining chairs to source.
Don’t let that fool you into thinking that you won’t have to look hard to get a deal as most sellers now know there is a strong seconds market for Ercol furniture.
They are often chosen for their striking look and for the high back, which provides extra support for taller users.
Do be aware, however, that this shape can also make them more susceptible to coming loose over time than other Ercol designs.
It is impossible to know how sturdy they are when purchasing them blind through the likes of eBay and this is the risk you take when you buy from private sellers.
Buy from us, however, and you can rest assured that everything has been tested and restored.
All in all, this is a great dining chair that will sit perfectly around any blonde wood table and a good set will almost always deliver what you want for many years to come.
Our Price: £85 per chair
Price New: £495 per chair (RRP)
Ercol Goldsmith's Dining Chair
Similar to the Quaker in height but different in shape, the Ercol Goldsmith's is the sort of chair that engenders strong feelings.
By that we mean that, more often than not, if someone comes into our store looking for a Goldsmith's chair that we don’t have in stock, they’d rather wait than consider another style.
This cannot be said about other Ercol shapes. Someone shopping for a Quaker chair, for example, might conceivably be drawn to the similar style of the Windsor.
Either way, this chair boasts a real sense of presence that few can match.
As with the Quaker, the extra height may make them susceptible to a bit of wobble so be sure, where possible, to check condition before you buy.
Remember, every chair we sell is checked and ready to go.
These chairs can be found, but they have become increasingly hard to source over the past 18 months.
Our Price: £75 per chair
Price New: Unavailable
Ercol Windsor Dining Chair
The Windsor is the original Ercol dining chair.
In fact, every Ercol dining chair is a Windsor of some sort. The full title of the Quaker, for example, is the Ercol Quaker Back Windsor Dining Chair.
It’s a bit of a mouthful, so we all just contract it.
These chairs are shorter than the two that have come before it in this list but don’t let that fool you into thinking that they are any less striking. They look superb around a complementary dining table.
The reduced height also means they are a safer bet when buying them through sites such as eBay as they are usually sturdier than Quakers and Goldsmith's.
Don’t expect to find a reasonably priced set easily. They are significantly harder to source than the Quaker or the Goldsmith's.
Our Price: £70 per chair
Price New: from £390 per chair
Ercol 391 Dining Chair
Robust, compact and striking in their simplicity, the Ercol 391 Dining Chair (also known as the Ercol All Purpose Dining Chair) may well be our favourite.
They retain the same splayed-leg design as many of the more recognisable shapes, but include subtle variations.
For example, the seat shape is square, there are less spindles and the underpart is an altogether different design.
Don’t let any of those differences fool you into thinking that there is a drop in quality, durability or comfort.
If anything, the opposite is true. The subtle curve in the back rest makes for a comfortable dining experience and the changes to the structure make them as robust a chair as you’ll find.
We also love the old, school-chair feel about them. Won’t work for everyone but it does for us.
They are, however, hard to source. They just don’t come up all that much.
Our Price: £95 per chair
Price New: from £370 per chair
Ercol Candlestick Dining Chair
Hard to find but impossible to overlook, the Ercol Candlestick Chair (also known as the Ercol Shalstone Dining Chair) is a rare thing of beauty.
We have only ever managed to source a handful of these and when you get up close and personal with one you’ll see why someone wouldn’t want to part ways with it.
For starters it looks like the back shouldn’t be able to stand up on its own. It appears as though something structural is missing but it really isn’t.
They’re plenty sturdy and perfectly suited to home use. We wouldn’t recommend putting one in a café or a bar, though.
The lattice effect on the back is also carried through into the underpart to create a balanced look that takes the classic Ercol design and gives it a decorative twist.
If you can grab one, or some, we recommend you do. Just expect to have to work hard and pay a little more for the privilege.
Our Price: £105 per chair
Price New: £229 per chair
Ercol Stacking Chairs
The Stacking Chairs are easily the hardest to find of all the Ercol dining chairs.
You might not expect it if you saw one in isolation.
Put simply, they lack some of the defining features of the best vintage Ercol furniture to the point that if they weren’t marked as Ercol you might be forgiven for thinking they were produced by another manufacturer.
However, see one piled on top of the other and you get a different picture. The design value of these pieces becomes instantly obvious.
Perfect for smaller homes and flats, they are a no-brainer for anyone looking to create a versatile dining area that makes the best use of the available space.
And of course, because they are elm and beech, they are lightweight and sturdy so you can just use them and stack them without fear that they will damage easily.
But they are at the end of our list for a reason. They really don’t come available that often and certainly not at a price that we consider reasonable.
Long story short, seek them out because you want them not because you think you might get the deal of the century. And don’t be disappointed if you come up short.
Our Price: £80 per chair
Price New: from £360 per chair
If this article has reminded just how much you enjoy vintage Ercol furniture, you can head to our Ercol collection to see what's currently available.
If you'd like to find out more about Ercol in general, visit our mid century makers guide for a full breakdown.