FRANCE & SON FURNITURE フランス&ソン ファーニチャー

WE BUY FRANCE & SON FURNITURE. 


IF YOU HAVE SOME FURNITURE MADE BY FRANCE & SON AND ARE THINKING OF SELLING PLEASE GET IN TOUCH WITH US. WE ARE SPECIALIST DEALERS IN THIS FURNITURE AND CAN ARRANGE PICK UP FROM ANYWHERE IN THE UK OR MOST OF EUROPE. 

CONTACT TIM ON 07919117917

mcminteriors@yahoo.co.uk



THE FRANCE & SON MAKERS TAG


You may have noticed we have a particular fondness for the Furniture produced by France & Son, Denmark.

Founded in 1948 by the British businessman Charles France and his Danish partner Inger Daverkosen. In the early years the company was called France & Daverkosen, Charles's son James joined the company in 1957 which resulted in the name change to France & Son.

At the very beginning the company produced mattresses. They then developed the idea to use two simple loose sprung cushions on their first chairs which would pave the way for a whole new generation of minimalist framed modernist chairs.



AN IMPECCABLY DRESSED CHARLES FRANCE CIRCA 1958


In 1952 the company moved to their new factory in Hillerod around twenty miles north west of Copenhagen, France & Son was one of the first Danish furniture manufacturers to have a purpose built factory specifically designed for their needs, most other companies had evolved from very humble cabinet makers premises.

The company was at the very vanguard of modern design and came to epitomise the Danish modern aesthetic. They had an incredible rostra of designers producing work for them which reads like a who's who of design at the time, they included Arne Vodder, Grete Jalk, Peter Hvidt & Orla Molgaard Nielsen, Inger Klingenberg, Finn Juhl, Ole Wanscher, Greve Sigvard Bernadotte and Edvard & Tove Kindt Larsen.





THE FRANCE & SON FACTORY WITH THE RAW MATERIALS AWAITING
THE PRODUCTION LINE






The designer Finn Juhl was desperate to find a way to machine teak his favourite timber on an industrial scale.  
Teak has a very high gum content, previous attempts to machine it industrially had failed as the saw would be dull after a dozen uses.

In 1953 Charles France introduced an industrial technique that revolutionised the Danish furniture industry. He developed the use of a tungsten-carbide alloy saw which did not dull when sawing teak wood.

With this new method Charles France worked with Finn Juhl to launch the first industrially manufactured furniture produced from teak, the Model 133 Spadestolen chair.

Teak furniture became synonymous with the Danish Modern style and the furniture industry would never be the same again.

France & Daverkosen/Son would be the biggest importer of teak timber from Thailand for a number of years.



THE FIRST INDUSTRIALY MADE CHAIRS PRODUCED FROM TEAK,
FINN JUHL MODEL 133 SPADESTOLEN, FRANCE & DAVERKOSEN 1953.



THE RAW TIMBER UNDERGOING THE FIRST STAGES OF PREPARATION



Although this was mass produced furniture it was always forefront in Charles Frances mind from the very beginning that quality would not suffer as a consequence of the manufacturing process. What is fascinating to see in the following exclusive archive photos is that despite the machinery and production lines the furniture was still very much hand made.

Charles is quoted to have said that he wanted his furniture to be the 'Rolls Royce of furniture'.



THE ROUGHLY HEWN TIMBER BEGINS TO TAKE ON THE FORM OF A GRETE JALK ARMREST


When asked to comment on the introduction of the association for quality control for Danish Furniture (the little black sticker you often see on furniture of the period) Charles said 'France & Son would have little interest in joining such an association as no matter how elaborately this quality control was organised it would never reach the standard of control we have in our factory'.



STACKS & STACKS OF GRETE JALK CHAIRS

Interviews with employees suggest that Charles France was a stern but fair boss, he had a reputation for a fiery temper with a very demanding nature, however he paid his employees very well and gave them generous bonuses. The rival furniture company Fritz Hansen complained that too many of their employees were poached by France & son, tempted by the generous pay the company offered.

At its peak France & Son employed around 350 staff.


CUTTING THE FABRIC & PREPARING THE CUSHIONS



ADDING THE FINISHING TOUCHES ON THE UPHOLSTERY LINE



Part of France & Sons success can be attributed to the fact that they were the first furniture company to design their furniture to be dismantled very easily for shipping. Most of the furniture had a very simple but incredibly well designed metal joinery which could be 'knocked down' in seconds. The result was much cheaper transport costs, due to this one of the biggest markets for France & Son was the USA.

The company also had many commercial contracts including the supply of furniture to the various global offices of The International Monetary Fund.


THE FINISHED PRODUCT BEING PACKAGED UP READY FOR SHIPPING





AN EXHIBITION OF FRANCE & SON FURNITURE ORGANISED BY FINN JUHL IN FREDERICIA 1959






AN EXHIBITION OF FRANCE & SON FURNITURE ORGANISED BY FINN JUHL IN FREDERICIA 1959



AN EXHIBITION OF FRANCE & SON FURNITURE ORGANISED BY FINN JUHL IN FREDERICIA 1959



PROPHETIC ADVERT FROM 1961


France & Son furniture was marketed as a premium brand. Their main headquarters in the UK was to be found on Bond Street Mayfair with the furniture being retailed through high end outlets such as Harrods & Heals.
Interestingly we can see from old catalogue prices that a lounge chair finished in teak would have cost between £700-£1200 in todays money depending on design and upholstery finish. Leather options bumped up the price significantly. So far we have no record for the price of rosewood chairs.

France & Son was sold to the Danish designer Poul Cadovius in 1967, I suspect the company continued to trade under the France & Son name for a couple more years before Cadovius renamed the company Cado. Cado continued producing furniture from the factory for a further ten years or so.



THE PRODUCTION MARKS
EARLY FRANCE & DAVERKOSEN STAMP AND METAL BADGE, 
MOST LIKELY EARLY 1950'S UP TO 1957





EARLY FRANCE & SON METAL BADGE, THE LOGO IS AN ADAPTATION OF THE
PREVIOUS FRANCE & DAVERKOSEN DESIGN. DATES TO AROUND 1957





THE NEW DESIGN LOGO FOR FRANCE & SON, NOTE THE OLD TIMBER STOCK
STAMPED FROM THE FRANCE & DAVERKOSEN YEARS. DATES FROM AROUND
1957 TO EARLY 1960'S




PERHAPS THE MOST COMMONLY SEEN PRODUCTION STAMP WITH CHARLES
FRANCES SIGNITURE, DATES FROM AROUND THE MID 60'S UP TO 1969






All images and text owned by Tim Bubb at MCM Interiors
© MCM Interiors 2013

10 comments:

  1. This is solid gold info, where oh where did you find all those factory photos?
    I have a bunch of France and Son/Daverkosen pieces and really appreciate this little glimpse into what was the golden era of design meets manufacturing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the very useful article. We have just bought a two-seater with the 'fd' logo so appreciate finding out how old our new chair is (older than us!).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very nice design of your furniture
    This is the best reference sources that I was looking for
    I hope to get a lot of new ideas from you
    Thank you Furniture Jepara Mebel Jepara

    ReplyDelete
  4. Such a lot of great info and wonderful to see the factory photos - it makes you wonder where all that furniture is now. I have a 510 side/end table that I wanted some info on and thanks to this site I now have some evidence for the deductions I'd already made. I love the Danish Modern style and I'm accumulating rather too much of it - hence I'm having to sell some. Thanks for sharing all this great info.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have (what is evidently according to the marks you show here) a pre-1957 teak and cane convertible day bed--it has no back and no right arm, nor does it look like it ever had. Left arm folds down to make a longer surface. I have cushions but no idea if they are original. There are no signs of any holes ever drilled in the pre-routed right side..? Would love for this to go to a good home...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, are you still looking for a good home for this daybed? And you're in LA? I'm interested...

      Cheers,
      Tommy

      Delete
  7. Great article. Thank you for the pics. Do you happen to know who the fabric supplier was for F&D? I have a set of FJ197 chairs that that I am looking to reupholster.
    Regards, R

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for the info! We have a pair of chairs that, according to this article and the FD stamp & tags on them, are pre-1957. This info gives a us sense of what to sell them for.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I do use synthetic steel wool or a very high grit sanding sponge between coats to smooth it out and get any small fuzz or particles that may have landed in the finish while it was drying. Demir Leather

    ReplyDelete