Adrian Pearsall – Craft Associates Inc. – Mid Century Modern

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Andrian Pearsall AntiqueOutings Retro Atomic MidCentury DanishKathleen and I have been on a quest for furniture these days.  Kathleen fell in love with this classic yet, totally atomic retro green chair by Adrian Pearsall.  Kathleen found it on Etsy from FindFurnish.  I contacted Marie at FindFurnish and this chair will be ours in a few weeks.  The color and styling just spoke to us in a way most furniture doesn’t.  That was the genius of Adrian Pearsall, coming up with designs that transcend generations.

Here at Antique Outings we really don’t know much about mid century furniture (often called retro, atomic, danish…), so I thought it was time to start learning a little bit about mid century modern furniture and companies and artists we like.  One of the great US craftsman of this era was a man by the name of Adrian Pearsall who owned Craft Associates in Kingston, Pennsylvania from 1952 – 1969.  Prior to this he owned Davison-Pearsall in Ashville, North Carolina.

History
Adrian Persall was born September 18, 1925, in Trumansburg, NY.  At the Age of 17 he met his future wife on a Adrian Pearsalltrain ride from Ithaca, N.Y., to Wilkes-Barre.  WWII was starting up and at the age of 17, Adrian was taking the train to join the US Navy.  During the trip he chatted it up with a female named Dorie who he promised to marry after the war.  On October 1950 in Forty Fort they were officially joined in marriage.  Pearsall began building furniture in his basement, after getting a degree from the University of Illinois in architectural engineering.  In the early days, he would sell his designs to department stores in and around New York.

Dorie and Adrian were happily married for over 61 years.  Adrian died September 6, 2011 with his wife and and daughter at his bedside.

Craft Associates Adrian PearsallCraft Associates Inc
The company, which Adrian is most famous for, is Craft Associates, founded in 1952 and continued through 1969 when it was sold to the Lane Company.  During this period of time Adrian submitted quite a few patents on his furniture designs.  Later Adrian along with John Graham would form the company Comfort Designs.

Here are just a few news clips and magazine articles on Craft Associates and the Pearsall line of furniture.

Adrian was a master craftsman and many of the designs are considered pieces of art as well as furniture.  The Pearsall designs incorporate flowing lines, which may have been influenced by Adrian’s passion for sailing and his service in the US Navy during WWII.  The designs were also greatly influenced by Adrian’s mentor Vladimir Kagan, a very well sought after master furniture maker.

Eventually Adrian found what was probably his true passion, that of restoring classic yachts from the early 1900’s.

Some of the more interesting Adrian Pearsall furniture include lounge chairs, gondola sofas and glass walnut coffee tables.

Below are some great examples.

Adrian Pearsall Chair

Adrian Pearsall Mid Century Modern Chair

Adrian Pearsall Atomic Retro Coffee Table

Adrian Pearsal Gondola Sofa Retro Atomic

Here is a great link to some of the furniture that Craft Associates sold.
http://www.adrianpearsall.com/catalogs.htm

Here are some links to Adrian Pearsall
http://www.adrianpearsall.com

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I share a passion for collecting all things vintage and antique and love to share that passion with others.

4 Comments

      • Yes prices are crazy but I learn that pearsall vintage pieces are poor quality wait to you get your chair and when your upholstery is ready to strip the chair go and look at the frame, and you’ll see is made of cheap plywood and 2X4 construction wood

        • Got the chair early this week. The legs were pretty nice, made out of some hardwood. The under side didn’t look too bad. It was a mixture of wood. Some hardwood and something that could have been plywood. It was hard to tell. Overall though the chair is really solid.

          The upholstery is in great shape, so we will probably not have to do anything to it for quite some time.

          We paid $500 for it vs Craftassociates site has similar ones going for $6,500. That is a huge difference just for quality, when realistically I could buy a couch + 2 chairs + buy a vintage scooter for that amount.

          A store here in Austin had one of Adrian Pearsalls sofas that was reupholstered and it was absolutely gorgeous. We sat on it and it was super solid. They had it listed for 2K and had a 20% off sale. If we had the $ and the room it would have been ours.

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