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Mid Century Makers: Stag

Posted by George Sims on

John and Sylvia Reid mid century furniture designers

Stag is one of those mid century furniture makers that divides opinion.

If we’re being totally honest, we can see why.

Stag was a brand, like many others at that time, that stood at the crossroads between craftsmanship and mass-production.

The truth about the direction it chose is this: Stag furniture was made en masse and sold for a relatively low price.

Dissenters would argue, then, that it shouldn’t be spoken of in the same breath as some of the great mid century modern designers and manufacturers.

But we would argue that there’s more to it than that.

Yes, it was mass produced. But it was made with quality materials. We’ve handled more than our fair share of vintage Stag furniture so we can attest to that much.

But what’s important to bear in mind here is that Stag wasn’t trying to pretend its furniture was handmade.

If you take a look at a C-Range chest of drawers by John and Sylvia Reid, which is probably our favourite, there is a lovely blend or organic materials and some fairly mechanical shapes.

It's as if they were saying: 'yes, this was built by robots but look at how well they handled the wood.'

And what's more those shapes have aged really well.

So, what then, we ask, is wrong with someone being honest about what they make, how they make it and how they price it? Isn’t that what we want from all our products, especially when they can comfortably last for half a century?

No, these pieces aren’t going to rival the work of the Danish masters.

But they’re solid, they look great and they’re a window onto how mid century furniture designers tried to bridge the gap between how they wanted to work and how the market was changing.

With that in mind, we have decided to answer some pertinent questions about vintage Stag furniture.

Mid century modern Stag chest of drawers

Where to Buy Vintage Stag Furniture?

As ever, the first place we will suggest is right here.

We usually have a healthy amount of Stag chest of drawers, Stag sideboards and Stag dressers in our collection.

What’s more, we can always source something for you if you can’t wait for it to come your way.

The seconds market for Stag furniture is quite strong. The usual platforms like Gumtree and eBay usually have something to offer.

You will, of course, face the age-old problem of buying something that’s not quite up to standard then having to buy something else to replace that.

Shop with us and you negate that risk. Vinterior is also usually quite well stocked for Stag furniture.

There is a company trading under the name Stag furniture (we understand the original company was purchased by Parker Knoll at the turn of the century).

We’ve never seen any of these items in the flesh but from what we can tell, the design value of the originals is, erm, lacking.

Where was Stag Furniture Made?

Right here in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

Stag’s most prolific manufacturing plants were in Nottingham.

What is Stag Furniture Made From?

Expect walnut, teak and oak.

The majority of the items we source have been veneer but they also made solid wood furniture in smaller quantities.

Vintage Stag furniture label

How to Identify Stag Furniture?

Stag were very good about labelling their furniture.

That label changed over the years, which should also help you date your pieces.

If the stamp is missing, you should still be able to identify a piece through archival footage or the thriving seconds market.

Remember, dimensions are usually the clincher.

What was Stag’s Most Famous Design?

This is a contentious one.

We would always tell you that the best design would be a piece from the C-Range by John and Sylvia Reid.

But this was probably not their most popular work.

That title belongs to the Minstrel range.

Can’t tell you why. What we can say is that the designs, or at least the legacy of them, are fairly ubiquitous.

Original mid century Stag furniture

Is Stag Furniture Valuable?

The short answer to the question is no, least not compared to some of the other famous designers and producers of the time.

A good condition chest of drawers could still set you back £600 but that’s about as far as it’s likely to go.

How to Care for Stag Furniture?

A coat of Danish oil or our very own beeswax every six months will go a long way to ensuring that the wood retains its natural lustre.

If you choose to go a different way just make sure that whatever you use is natural and contains no solvents.

Wipe down mess and stains with a damp (not wet) cloth.

Sand solid wood pieces with caution and always sand the whole piece to ensure a consistent finish.

Don’t sand veneer furniture. If there is a blemish that is driving you to distraction, seek the help of a professional.


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