Saturday, September 3, 2022

Vintage Folding Chair Clean Up


Estate sale season has been fun this year!  Lots of great finds . . . some were sold to put money towards my daughter's wedding gown.  Some are going nowhere - like this adorable little folding chair!  I paid a mere 3.00 for this.  It was in a dark, dank basement under piles of boxes and junk but the vinyl print was peeking out and I'm SO glad I rescued it.

Considering the age, it was in suprisingly (although gunky) condition. Three of these clips were broken but fortunately I have a very handy brother who was able to make me three replacements!

Mainly, it was just plain dirty . . . but I had no idea just HOW dirty until I began to clean it.  After doing a little research online for how to clean old vinyl, I mixed a paste of baking soda, dish soap and water and just slathered it on.  I only let it sit for about 15 minutes and then began wiping it off with a rag (not even brushing or scrubbing . . . just wiping!) and I couldn't believe my eyes!!

On the right you can see just how much dirt there was! The great thing is this didn't bleach out or damage the beautiful colors of the vinyl.

Look how bright and pretty this pattern is!

This was the back of the chair . . . you can see the paste sitting on chair in the 'before' picture.

The aluminum was in pretty good condition.  There was a lot of 'gunk' on it so I used the same solution to clean it and then went over it very gently with a VERY fine steel wool.

It even still has the original tag stapled to the bottom.  I did a little bit of research and it's interesting the on the Balcrank website (which is still in existence) it mentions NOTHING about aluminum chairs in their history.  It seems that a man named Allen Shott had some involvement in the company and his company made the aluminum chairs, most of which we think of today when we remember the beautiful shell-shaped metal chairs and gliders of the 1940's-50's. A March 14, 1955 edition of Life magazine mentions that Shott was a division of Balcrank, Inc. It's so interesting that there is no mention of him or the chairs on the Balcrank site/history.  Hmmmm . . . 

I don't have a spot for this in my house as none of these colors go with anything BUT, I'll definitely be using it as extra seating when we have groups over.  I'm so glad I kept this purchase!!


  1. You definitely did find a treasure! Most people would have looked at the dirt and not recognized it as being such. Good for you!

  2. Oh my, Lauren, you bring everything to life. Your vintage chair looks great! I like the colors and pattern on it. Great job!

    I hope you have happy September days.


  3. Part of the fun of treasure hunting is spotting items that can be revived with some TLC.

    Great job cleaning up the folding chair. I've always found it satisfying to clean up a dusty/dirty-looking teaware. Hee!

  4. What a sweet little chair. You cleaned it up really well! How wonderful that the vinyl fabric is so vibrant still.


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