The main thing I did during my August break was to take a road trip through the state of Washington. But I also acquired some interesting vintage items, including an absolutely spectacular 1957 catalog from American Seating, whose cover is shown above. I picked it up at a flea market the day before I left for Washington.
American Seating is an old company that still exists today. These days they specialize in seats for the transportation industry — trains, airplanes, buses, and so on. But they were founded in 1886 as the Grand Rapids School Furniture Company, and school furniture was still the focus of their business when this 1957 catalog came out, although they also did some stadium and theater seating at the time.
You can get a sense of the catalog’s offerings by looking at the inside front cover, which features this spectacular fold-out image:
If you’re of a certain age, those school desk-chair combos probably look v-e-r-y familiar to you (as they do to me). Here’s a closer look:
Oh, man — those images are pushing some serious nostalgic buttons in my brain. I feel like I sat at that very desk in grade school!
Here’s another one that looks mighty familiar:
Aside from the gorgeous chair designs and the nostalgia factor, I also love the look of the catalog itself. The colors, the silhouetted images, the little inset diagrams — it’s a classic piece of midcentury graphic design.
Speaking of colors, check out the inside back cover:
I’ve photographed the entire catalog for your enjoyment. Here you go:
I acquired one other really special vintage item last month. I’ll tell you about that one soon.