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Kovels Antiques and Collecting: Sometimes furniture is something more

September 22, 2012
By Terry Kovel , The Inter-Mountain

Sometimes an unusual piece of furniture is offered for sale, and many collectors fight over it. A "Dr. Byrne's Medical Examination Chair" was offered by Skinner Auctioneers of Boston. The odd chair was clearly labeled with its name and the maker, S. Betz & Co. of Chicago. The red-painted steel chair also was marked on the footrests with the maker's name and the words "Model 1901 Prof. A.H. Ferguson." The chair has levers to adjust the back, footrest and height, and it can be flattened to use as a table with stirrups. It is about 56 inches high. Nineteenth-century medical chairs are not often sold. This one brought $475. Would you buy a 1930 permanent-wave machine with a chair hood and dangling cords? Would you put a 1940s washing machine in your living room near a wall of polished steel school lockers? Few pieces of furniture representing technology (rather than decorative arts) have survived, but all of the ones we mentioned have sold at recent auctions.

 
 
 

 

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