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France & Son sofa cushions, what kind of filling originally?

Product design
- 29 Oct 2014 -
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Product design

I wonder if anyone can help me with this. I'm looking at an Ole Wanscher Senator sofa with France & Son metal tag. It's advertised as being all original, and the wool covers indeed seem like they might be. But the cushions are foam filled instead of spring cushions! Would anyone know if France & Son also used foam filling in some cases? Websites selling mid-century France & Son sofas seem to sometimes mention the spring cushions but often times not.

How much should this affect the price, I suppose that having new spring cushions made would be much more expensive than repairing old ones?

1950 - 1959


- 29 Oct 2014

The only thing I know firsthand is that many (all?) of the original tufted leather cushions they used were not sprung, and were filled with foam or batting. By the 70's the cushions that Cado was using with the earlier France and Son stuff also got overstuffed, and not sprung. It might help to see an image of the sofa in question.

- 29 Oct 2014

Perhaps a photo with the cushion open would be helpful.

I have two Great Dane sofas and a France and Søn catalog. Both sofas have cushions with foam wrapped around a metal spring assembly. This is F&S's standard cushion. Inside all the cushions there was even a crumbling France and Søn paper tag.

Per the catalog, the Jupiter, Juno, and Arne Vodder recliner use a "new" cushion, Lastofran foam.  I have no idea what that was really.

The Senator group used the standard upholstery.  Although it is possible they changed it in the later 60s.

If the foam looks old, then perhaps they are original, or just an old replacement. 

Regardless, without a spring core I would be very suspicious of the upholstery and would adjust my estimation of value accordingly. Replacing the foam wrapping is to be expected, but gutting the cushion is not a respectful restoration.

- 29 Oct 2014

Thank you very much for the answers!

Unfortunately I don't have photos, I'll try to get some later on this week. Actually, thinking of the appearance of the cushion covers they might very well rather be from the 70's.

- 17 Nov 2014

This may be a tad difficult to find out, but if you do manage to find stores that import their furniture from countries that provide good quality furniture, you are likely to get it at a cheaper rate than other stores. Although Canadian made furniture can boast of good quality wood, if budget is what you choose to compromise on, then it wouldn’t hurt to find a local sofa store in Edmonton.

- 22 Feb 2016

I was hoping to reintroduce this topic to clarify....I have already sent my sprung cushions to the upholsterer on a couple of Grete Jalk for France & Son teak lounge chairs and a Arne Vodder lounge chair so I cannot send pictures unfortunately...and they must be redone as the previous owner was a very heavy smoker...

The cushions had been reupholstered at some point likely in the 90's. Inside the muslin covers the sprung frame was filled with cotton fill (felt) ...

I also opened the wool (original?) fabric on the sprung cushions on the Vodder lounge chair sprung cushions I have and it was filled with crumbling foam...

Can anyone confirm that the appropriate path to restore as close as possible is as above ..."foam wrapped around a spring assembly?"Is that true for both of these models?

So... it is the sprung frame and then that is wrapped in foam and then a muslin or heavier slip cover is made to then put a zippered cushion cover on? Is something supposed to be in the spring frame or is that simply wrapped with foam?

If any one is willing to measure their Jalk lounge chair cushions/ and/or arne vodder lounge chair I would also love to confirm
the dimensions since I do not have the original covers

my final question has to do with the ottoman or footstool with the Vodder lounger...I have seen a variety of cushion types online...can anyone confirm the original style of cushion on the footstool.
Was the base wrapped and a cushion attached to the top or was the base just foamed and wrapped in fabric like shown....was the button tucked upholstery used on the leather versions? or did someone just redo their vodder with that as their personal preference

sure would appreciate any comments you could offer

**vodder lounge chair pics are not mine and were borrowed from 1st dibs

- 22 Feb 2016

I have seen numerous Vodder recliners with the original leather upholstery. Some of the leather cushions even have a France and Son fabric tag on them. The original leather ones I have seen have all been tufted with buttons, and I have never seen ones of this style that are sprung. Rather, they are soft cushions filled with foam and batting. The Vodder recliner I owned until recently had sprung cushions with fabric. Some Vodder recliners have a taller backrest cushion than others. The original un-sprung leather ones come lower on the backrest.

The Vodder ottoman does not have a loose cushion. It is upholstered with a stitched fabric, and does not originally have a single piece of fabric pulled over a cushion and tacked to the bottom, like some of the ones you see for sale online. All of the ones I have seen are stitched like a box cushion. I have attached a photo of a Vodder ottoman with original fabric upholstery. It looks saggy because the interior foam has deteriorated.

- 22 Feb 2016

Hi tchp,

I have had Model 164 and Ole Wanscher chairs with tufted leather & sprung cushions as well as non tufted leather filled with Lastofran as per the image provided.

The simple non tufted version with Lastofran is the one to look for in my opinion. The cushions are very comfortable and have a nice triple stitched seam. The workmanship on these cushions is beautiful.

Lastofran appears to be a Latex type material wrapped in cotton batting, I have included an image of a Jupiter chair cushion.

With regard to the OP question about the interior of the sprung cushions, I have a back cushion for a 164 here and I just opened it up. I can't say for definite if the interior of the cushion is original (the fabric certainly isn't) but the metal frame is simply wrapped in quarter inch foam. This does give the desired comfort and thickness. I suspect the cushion is pulled in and compressed to get it to fit inside the covers.

Do make sure your upholsterer does not over stuff the cushions as this does tend to detract from the lines of the chair. As tchp mentioned some 164 chairs have a headrest that sits just proud of the backrest timber, you can see an example of this in the image provided. I would look into replicating this if it is an option as I think it works better aesthetically.

- 22 Feb 2016

Howard Moon,
I have never seen a non-tufted leather 164 cushion in person, so it is nice to know that it was something original. The 164 seems to offer a lot of options when it comes to restoration, and one would not need to feel the chair was lacking in some way due to not having sprung cushions. The 164 I owned, and have since traded off, had the tall headrest cushion, and I also came to prefer the aesthetic of the lower one.

- 22 Feb 2016

I appreciate this discussion and the photos very much.

Just to clarify...I have the tall, sprung 3 cushion, non leather version.

Besides trying to determine how to 'handle' the sprung cushion as far as 'stuffing' vs 'wrapping'
(since we found the two interiors we opened and looked at quite different with foam vs cotton felt)
both of the cushions we opened had muslin (or thicker) covers prior to be slipped into the cushion does not look like your fabric covered cushion had a muslin slipcover holding everything in place....

without the slip cover how do you keep the foam wrapped around the sprung frame in place once the cushion cover is put on so your finish is smooth and flat? For that matter how would you get it into the cushion cover with foam in place?

I wonder what the modern equivalent of 'Lastofran' is.

I assume the way the top cushion is attached to the middle cushion with that fabric flap is a standard procedure.

thanks very much for your time and attention

- 22 Feb 2016

also, I am currently reupholstering cushions for both the Jalk lounger as well as the Vodder non leather lounger with foot stool.

If anyone has any information that would show that the sprung cushions for one were handled (wrapped, foamed, felted, slip covered)
differently than the other I would appreciate any comments you can add.

again sincere thanks

- 22 Feb 2016

I have redone old sprung cushions but can't remember how they were wrapped originally, if at all---seems like the Marshall units (innersprings that are linked together) were covered in muslin.

Back then the foam would have been latex, which has a very different feel than urethane foam. It may have been glued to a fabric covering on the springs. I doubt there was one method that everyone used, or even one method used consistently by one manufacturer.

Also, what do you mean by "cotton felt"? Are you talking about cotton batting? Felt is a fabric, rarely more than 1/4" thick, and always made of wool, wool/rayon blend, or (nowadays) icky poyester. The definition of felt is nonwoven fibers matted together into a fabric. Thick cotton batting was used as furniture padding for many decades, even centuries, until foam and polyester came along. But it's just loose fluff, even when compressed. Cotton fibers will not felt.

I've seen innersprings with wads of cotton batting stuff into them, possibly to keep them from creaking when sat on?

you should consider using latex foam around the springs! It will hold up longer than urethane and it's more comfortable to sit on. It has way more resiliency than urethane foam and will not develop hollows over time. It costs more but it's worth it. You can get an idea of pricing at and other sites.

- 22 Feb 2016

I have a pair of Grete Jalk for France and Søn sofa, model 128 and 168 (note that the design credit is a bit complicated). They have spring cushions that look just like the photo Howard Moon showed above.

The top and bottom of the springs are covered in burlap, wrapped around the edges, then a layer of cotton batting maybe 1/4 inch thick, then the polyurethane foam, which is maybe 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick. Foam spray glue or contact cement was used to wrap the foam around the edges. As the photo shows you can see into the inside of the cushion.

There is no muslin cover. And you do have to squeeze and fold the cushion to get it inside the cover. It requires two people and some wrestling. I imagine the factory had some sort of vise to facilitate this.

- 23 Feb 2016

thank you so much tchp, howardmoon, spanky and leif sincerely for taking the time to respond and especially to post pictures.

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