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Arne Jacobsen Egg chair identification

Product design
- 10 Dec 2012 -
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Product design

Peace be with all of you, I am in need of assistance in authenticating this Arne Jacobsen egg chair. Moreover, some of the information that the seller has provided is that the chair has been in her family since the early 60's and it has a tilt mechanism. However, there is no sticker label. Nonetheless, when did they begin offering the tilt mechanism? Could this possibly be the real thing and how much of a hassle will it be for an upholsterer to adhere the fabric back to the foam? Lastly, she mentioned that the foam is still pliable and it doesn?t seem to have hardened. With this in mind, do you folks think that this is a good buy or should I walk away from the purchase? As always may you remain continually blessed

lounge & easy chairs


- 10 Dec 2012

I was able to upload the photographs. Thank you in advance

- 10 Dec 2012

I just emailed Fritz Hansen, however, are there any egg chair owners that can tell me whether or not there are any part numbers under the base that I should look for? Viz, some Knoll model Saarinen chairs have BR 51, therefore, does the egg chair have identifiable part numbers? Thank you in advance

- 11 Dec 2012

I'd walk away
That looks like a knock-off to me. Additionally, they are not telling you the truth. The tilt function did not appear on the Egg chair until circa 1980. There were no Egg chairs produced in the 1960s with the tilt.

When Fritz Hansen began to produce the Egg chair with tilt function they also switched from the one-piece cast base with the fluted column to the two-part base with the central column being a cylindrical tube. The two-part base is not nearly as elegant as the one-piece base, but conversely the tilt function adds significantly to the comfort of the Egg chair.

If that Egg chair were real, and worth buying and restoring, you could have a qualified upholster re-glue the loose fabric. However, it would be nearly as expensive as having it reupholstered as they would have to open up the hand-stitched seam on the edge to apply the glue before re-stitching the seam back together by hand.

- 11 Dec 2012

Oh, yeah.
And regarding your question about the base, the only Egg chairs I have seen with no marking on the base were early examples. Anything from about the mid-1960s onward was always marked in the mould.

- 11 Dec 2012

Thank you
Naturally, she is going off of memory and when I asked she stated that she definitely remembers that they had at their home at or around 1978. I will take detail photographs tomorrow with the hope that they will help solve this inquiry. Moreover, the seller is giving me time to authenticate the piece before I purchase it.


- 11 Dec 2012

interesting the base on this 1975 issue looks completely different then the one that we are looking at, in that, the column tube is as you said a shiny cylinder. Is this example from the radar section a one piece or two piece combination?

- 11 Dec 2012

wow, 256
people have read this thread. Arne Jacobsen threads seem to garner a heavy following. Pegboard any further thoughts into the matter? Blessings

- 12 Dec 2012

Any further help
Does anyone have anything further to add? Thank you in advance

- 12 Dec 2012

I do!
Lenox has great taste, and Pegboard has priceless knowledge (in addition to great taste).

And I'm feeling pretty.

- 12 Dec 2012

Here we go...
So in lieu of some questions that were offered to the seller she contacted her father who is in his late 80's and he mentioned that he either fixed or replaced the tilt mechanism.

Moreover, an interesting fact that has been observed within prior auctions is that sellers report that there is a hole in their chair, however, they do not know what it is for. Therefore, was the tilt mechanism prone to failure and often removed completely?

Additionally, here is a recent comment from Fritz Hansen in regards to this chair:

Good morning,

we are not sure if this is an original arne jacobsen 3316 egg chair. the shell looks authentic, but the tilt mechanism and the cushion are not original for sure. I have forwarded your pictures to the expert in our company who knows all about the fritz hansen collection. he only works 1 day a week which is the tuesday, so hopefully I will have an answer from him next week tuesday. Of course I will contact you as soon as I know more.
if you have further questions please let us know.
kind regards,

- 12 Dec 2012

the upholstery looks
new, although it's 'an old chair'.
re-upholstering gone wrong?
the foot seems a bit crude, or is that my impression?

great to hear you've got feedback from Fritz Hansen.

- 12 Dec 2012

one piece base and tilt function
Personnally i own a chair marked Fritz Hanssen 520015 on the one-piece-base with a tilt function!
So you tell me its a fake pegboard modern?

- 13 Dec 2012

OK, well...
Lenox, I'm sorry I usually don't get to check the forum multiple time a day, so it can be a while between posts.

The additional photos you posted are small, so it's difficult to make out a lot, but what I can see only raises more questions. As noted by your response from FH, there are things that clearly appear wrong. They mention the "tilt mechanism" but I assume they mean the handle to adjust the tilt tension. It should not be as long, nor straight. It should be shorter and have an angled bend. The seat cushion looks like the wrong shape, backwards in the seat, or both. Though they say that the shell looks correct, it's hard to get a good sense from the photos you show and the poor upholstery job which gives it an overstuffed appearance. The net is that I stand by my original assessment and think it's likely not a Fritz Hansen chair. I could well be wrong, but sometimes it's better to be safe than sorry. Especially if it is a substantial investment.

Xanax, I am not telling you your chair is a fake. Perhaps I should be more careful with my words and be sure not to make definitive statements. I do not consider myself an "expert," rather a genuine enthusiast with a fair amount of knowledge from experience. I have had quite a few egg chairs, handled and a great number of them from different periods and generations and spent time trying to figure out exactly when these minor changes took place.

If your chair does in fact have the one-piece cast base with the fluted column, I would suggest that your egg chair is very desirable and I would love to see pictures of it. As I said, I think the one-piece base is the most attractive, yet the tilt function adds so greatly to the comfort. To have both features would be ideal in my book. Your post made me very curious to find another example of an egg chair with both features and the only one I could find on line was one being offered for sale by Tom Gibbs. They list it as "swivel/tilt" yet the pictures do not show a handle to adjust the tilt tension. I might also expect to see a hole for the missing handle, but the chair has been reupholstered.

If there are egg chairs with the original base design and also the tilt function, it makes me wonder when they were produced and if there was some short transitional period.

- 13 Dec 2012

While we are on the subject... ...I had a few more thoughts. Lenox, while much that appears wrong with this chair could be attributed to a poor upholstery job, I think there are issues that point to it not being authentic. Aside from what I've already mentioned, I took one of your small photos and brightened it to better see and it appears that the base is attached to the column with an allen screw. Something I've never seen on a FH egg chair. Also, I've not seen a later production (two-part base) such as this one that did not bear any marking in the mold. I've had early egg chairs that did not, but never later production. While I was thinking about this I realized that we have not mentioned the swan chair which shares many characteristics with the egg. However, I have had vintage swan chairs with a one-piece base that had the tilt function. Again, the tilt made them much more comfortable than the swivel only version, but unlike the egg chair, there is no handle to adjust the tilt tension, just a small access hole on the side/ bottom where you could insert an allen wrench and tighten or loosen as needed. So considering that there were swan chairs produced with the original base design and the tilt function, it would seem logical that there might also be egg chairs with these qualities. However, again, I have not seen one myself. Perhaps some others with knowledge or experience with vintage egg chairs would care to contribute?

- 13 Dec 2012

tilt function was for shure made with the one cast star bases in the late sixties early 70's. we also have at least one in stock...

- 13 Dec 2012

I would love to see a picure of it! Since mine is reupholstered it's not so obvious!

- 18 Mar 2013

This post could go under a number of Egg Chair threads, but this one seemed recent and relevant enough. I am not very familiar with Jacobsen pieces, but thought I'd try a little ID verification from a single not-so-good online photo (see below) to see if it was worth going to see in person. This is what I came up with: Not authentic, and looks to be Restoration Hardware's "Copenhagen" chair with distressed leather. Form, edge seam, and smaller cuts of leather were the tip-off for me. Besides the seams, the leather just looks too perfectly distressed. How'd I do? Any other features that are easy giveaways?

- 19 Mar 2013

Skimpy four-prong base
though the distressed leather is the best one. It looks like they had some device---maybe something like a sanding attachment on a drill---and just applied it every 10 inches or so to the hide. Kinda like those distressed painted pieces where they sand away the finish in places that would not get that kind of wear at all. So silly!

p.s. I despise Restoration Hardware.

- 15 Apr 2013

So! The Swan chair that I just got
turns out to be a tilt model with the one-piece base!

I stripped the bad reupholstery fabric off and now there are two things that are a mystery to me:

1. What covered the void in the bottom of the foam shell where the tilt bar is housed? I can see adhesive residue in a rectangular shape where something was glued over it, but what material?

2. How is the fabric finished around the hexagon screw where you adjust the tilt? It's only a little 3/8" thing or so and it looks pretty much flush with the surface of the shell. The outer fabric on the chair is supposed to be one piece, so there's nothing extra to tuck under there. Do raw edges show? That seems rather barbaric for this chair.

3. Ok, i forgot one thing---how is the fabric finished around the post underneath? See #2, but on a larger scale.

I think that's it. I am going to redo the chair in Maharam/Kvadrat "Tonus". There are a few threads of the original fabric left (mired in the HOT GLUE the previous person used---GRRRRR). It is a lovely brilliant green. Not what I will use but still, it was good to see after getting that mauve cotton dobby fabric off (think Grandma's front parlor).

- 26 Jan 2014

Is my Arne Jacobsen Egg chair from the 1960's
Hi... just picked up an old Arne Jacobsen Egg chair. It was buried at an upholsterers studio... I was lucky enough to spot it and he sold it to me. Looks like it could be from the 1960's.... has no tilt lever, base is one piece.

- 26 Jan 2014

Photos for last post
Trying to get the photos uploaded. :)

- 26 Jan 2014

my goodness
that is handsome. That must be the original upholstery, yes?

- 26 Jan 2014

Original Egg Chair?
Not sure if the upholstery is original.... could be though! Just watched a video by Fritz Hansen that says original Egg chair did not have a seat cushion. Mine doesn't have a cushion. What do you think?

- 26 Jan 2014

fix it
inject with diluted adhesive in lifted areas in multiple locations, duct tape a semi-flat, inflatable stretching ball to it, inflate ball, wait, enjoy.

- 26 Jan 2014

Early chairs, pre 1960 were produced with a one piece base and without cushion. I have only seen these, though, in leather. Seems like the cushion for your chair was misplaced. Maybe go back to where you got it and seem if maybe its still hanging around?

- 26 Jan 2014

Wonderful, Modme!
Uphostery seems very nice.

- 26 Jan 2014

Were these done with welt
on the seams at the seat? I really don't know. And the welt around the perimeter? Most of the Eggs I've seen with original fabric did not have welt around the perimeter and I've never seen any with welt on the seat seams. The fabric also looks like a very bulky weave for this chair. It looks to me more like one of the tweedy acrylics that were popular on ready-made furniture and with upholsterers in the 70s-90s and probably still. I just redid a couple of American lounge chairs that had this type of fabric on them (80s re-do?).

I have no doubt that the chair is the real thing, I'm just wondering about the upholstery. And of course, I could be totally wrong. I'd love to see a very clear closeup of the fabric with a bit of the welt in the frame for scale.

- 26 Jan 2014

That is a nice vintage chair. Authenic Fritz Hansen, but the upholstery is not original.

As jesgord said fabric egg chairs have a hand-sewn seam and no welt cord. Leather and vinyl egg and swan chairs were originally done with a welt cord around the edge.

You need to loosen the set screw on the sleeve at the bottom of your chair and insert the base fully inside. The bearing should not be visible like that and there should be no gap.

Now, tell me about your #45 chair...

- 26 Jan 2014

Pics of Egg upholstery
Here are some more pics. Thanks everyone for responding! (and Pegboard..... we love our Juhl rosewood chair. :)
The Egg chair was at an upholsterers for many many years... waiting to be re-upholstered but never was. Upholstery doesn't look new.... some wear in places.

- 26 Jan 2014

If it was original, that would be wool
and it just doesn't look like wool to me. Or rather, it looks like a lot of older synthetics that are made to look like wool. But the welt is the clincher.

- 27 Jan 2014

The upholstery is clearly not original. There would not be a welt cord around the perimeter, and especially around the seat. It makes me wonder if they used plygrip when it was reupholstered rather than hand sewing it.

Also, you seat cushion is missing. The earliest chairs from 1958 which were made without a seat cushion also had thinner plastic feet. Yours has the later thicker black plastic feet.

Is your #45 a Vodder produced chair? If so, does it have any interesting history? Neils Vodder production in rosewood are very rare.

- 27 Jan 2014

Thanks Pegboard for your input. Any idea what year the Egg chair would be from... there isn't a marking on the base. As for the Juhl.... see photos. Stamped on bottom of chair :). Leather looks like it's been redone, note the back of chair. We believe it's rosewood... very heavy chair and it looks like rosewood :)

- 27 Jan 2014

Hard to say the age of your egg chair, i could be anywhere from the mid 60s to the late 70s. I think they switched from the one piece cast base to the two part base around 1980.

Your #45 chair is beautiful and to think that you found it in a thrift is amazing! What part of the world do you live in?

Couple of questions: what makes you think the leather is not original? You mention the back, but I'm guess you are shooting with a cell phone as your pictures are kinda distorted with the wide angle. if you can post a nice shot of the chair, I could better tell if the upholstery details are correct. The color of the leather looks right. Perfect in fact. The upholstery tacks in your detail photo tell me that if the upholstery is not original, it was redone quite a long time ago or redone by someone who spent the time to redo it as close to the original as possible. Upholsterers have been using staples rather than tacks for some time now.

You said it was rosewood, but in your close-up of the brand, the wood looks to me like teak. A teak Vodder #45 is still a VERY desirable and important chair (and a legendary thrift store find!) but like I said the rosewood chairs are very rare. Can you share a picture of another part of the fame that would show the wood?

- 27 Jan 2014

Here are more pics.... had to move chair to outside to get better light :)

- 27 Jan 2014

More pics. Also note the chair is VERY heavy. It's surprising since it doesn't look very heavy. Heard that rosewood is a very heavy wood. Note on this pic below... a crack in the wood. :(

- 27 Jan 2014

Thanks for the extra pictures
...and I'm sorry if we've hijacked this egg chair thread.

However, I think in a way it speaks to the same issue. Originality and details. ModMe, your #45 chair ( just like your egg chair) appear to be original vintage pieces. However, based on your photos I think they have both been reupholstered and I think your #45 chair is teak rather than rosewood. Again, some good overall shots of the chair would be helpful, but a tell-take sign is the lack of welt cord where the back meets the frame at the top outside corners.

Please do not think I am trying to diminish either chair. The fact that you got the #45 at a thrift store and your egg chair from your upholstery shop makes me assume you got a terrific deal on both. And as original vintage pieces, they still have substantial intrinsic value. I would have bought either in an instant.

When we discuss whether the upholstery is original and the wood is either teak or rosewood we are splitting hairs. It is a matter of determining if a piece is rare, desirable, valuable etc or a museum-worthy piece. Vodder #45 chairs are rare. Rosewood #45 chairs are crazy rare. You need only look at auction results to see the difference in valuation.

In my mind, what you have are fantastic, enviable vintage examples of two very important Danish mid-century modern designs by the original makers. I would buy and be happy to live with ether chair in my home, and I suspect you bought both for far less than I would be willing to pay. The fine line (to me) would be if either still had their original upholstery in excellent condition. The fact that upholstery wears out over time with age and use (especially if it is not afforded extra care) makes original upholstery very uncommon, especially in good condition.

It's accepted that things like upholstery are fugitive and prone to replacement, and a good restoration or reupholstery of a nice vintage example rarely does little to diminish its value. However, an example of either of those designs in very good unrestored original condition needs to be treated with special care and I think are candidates for a place in a museum design collection.

Congratulations on both your terrific chairs.

*edited for embarrassing typos.

- 27 Jan 2014

I'm being told by a seller that early (pre 1960) egg chair bases did not swivel. Is that true? Apparently Fritz Hansen is the source of the info...

I'm going to look at a chair later today that has an ink stamp and no cushion. I'll post some photos to get your opinion, if you're all interested?

- 27 Jan 2014

Not true
I have a 1958 egg chair, all original in black leather. It swivels. So has every other early example like it I've seen.

If it is stamped rather than labeled, that would indicate early production. Likewise the absence of a loose seat cushion. However, the early chairs which were made without seat cushions have more foam padding under the upholstery than later chairs which had the loose cushion. It's subtle, but if you see them side-by-side or have scrutinized some in person it is not difficult to discern.

- 27 Jan 2014

That's kind-of what I thought. So it turns out that the owner has already stripped the chair down. It had a really bad upholstery job and the foam was gone. The ink stamp was on the original fabric, under the new. I believe the seller wants $1k for it. I want a restoration project, but I assume at that price it better be a very early example. Ebay is not helping me find any com parables... I'll post some photos tonight.

- 28 Jan 2014

Some Photos
Hi all,

Here some photos of the chair I'm looking at. It was pulled out of a dumpster! I've been able to clarify some details.... Apparently Fritz Hansen has said it dates from 1958 - 1960. What do you guys think?

There is no tilt.

The base swivels.

The hard foam is stamped FH, made in Denmark.

There is no mark/number/etc cast in the aluminum base.

There is a rather small screw hole in the bottom center of the base.

It may or may not have had a seat cushion.

New foam and upholstery will be required (obviously).

- 28 Jan 2014

That is obviously a real egg chair
... however, I have to disagree with the dates you were given. The thicker plastic foot glides suggest post-1960 to me. The earliest chairs had black feet which were a tad thinner.

Buy it, have it reupholstered correctly, and enjoy it.

- 28 Jan 2014

Finn Juhl #45 chairs ... in thrift stores, Jacobsen egg chairs in dumpsters... what is going on out there?!?

- 28 Jan 2014

Thanks Pegboard! Does anyone have a close-up photo of an early plastic foot? It's really hard to tell the difference from photos online. Also, is the width of the upper chair base a give-away of age? Sometimes it is the same width as the aluminum, sometimes it is thinner...

- 29 Jan 2014

Juhl 45 ModMe, I am very very interested in your 45 chair. Very best, Anders


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