Production and design of quality furniture by the iconic brand Ercol dates as far back as 1920. Established in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire by Lucian R Ercolani. ‘The Old Man’ as he is affectionately known within the company, trained as a furniture designer at Shoreditch Technical Institute, making his first piece of furniture in 1907.
In 1932 Lucian was offered the opportunity to take over Walter Skulls Limited who were a well-respected firm of high class chair makers and this gave Lucian the perfect opportunity to expand his business.
With the onset of World War 2 the Ercol factory worked for the government; making 25,000 tent pegs a day, as well as munitions boxes and other supplies. The Utility Furniture Scheme that was set-up in 1942, as a way to ensure that scarce materials were used in a sensible way, secured Ercol as a leading producer of strong well-designed furniture by making the most efficient use of the precious timber.
In 1944 Ercol was contracted by the government to produce 1000,000 low cost Windsor chairs with a bentwood frame and an arched back. Ercol perfected the steam-bending of large quantities of elm in large quantities, assembling one of these chairs every twenty seconds from fourteen pre-formed components. The cost of each chair at the time was only 10s, equivalent to 6p! It’s hard to believe that with the quantity made and the low production costs, that these pieces are now worth far more than could ever have been predicted at the time.
In 1946 Ercol successfully exhibited it’s steamed, bentwood furniture at the Britain Can Make It exhibition at the V&A Museum, which enabled them to showcase to a much broader audience. With positive feedback from this Ercol went on to design many more pieces which formed the basis of the classic Ercol Windsor Range. The mass produced furniture had found a ready market in Post War Britain.
* The beautifully slender and graceful ‘Loveseat’ in American elm with beech frame was introduced in 1956. The Loveseat has an American elm seat and a beech frame with a beautiful steam bent top rail.
* In 1979 Ercol introduced a re-upholstery service to enable owners to replace their seat pads on their dining chairs and sofa cushions and to keep up to date with the changing trends.
Ercol does Eco!
In 2002 Ercol moved to a new purpose built facility in Princess Risborough where it continues to produce furniture made from North American elm, European ash, beech, oak and walnut from naturally regenerative forests. The buildings heat and hot water is provided from wood waste and the company has steered away from solvent based stains and lacquers to use more environmentally friendly water based versions.