Vintage aluminum folding chairs are a triumph of modern engineering and a staple of mid-century outdoor living. They invoke a strong sense of nostalgia every time you fold one open, too. There were numerous manufacturers of aluminum folding chairs and loungers. Some of the more prolific and popular were from Telescope (who are still around today) and Adams Engineering. We have been collecting, and using, vintage aluminum folding chairs for years, and here are just a few of our favorites.
This Telescope brand vintage aluminum folding chair is one of the more rugged and substantial folding lawn chairs you will come across. It is also one of the more design-conscious examples out there, too, with an almost Danish Modern vibe. It has solid hardwood arms (a trademark feature of any good Telescope chair), leg braces, and seat and back frames. There are also nice hardwood leg tips, adding even more detail to the chair’s thoughtful design. The seat and back are covered in a weather-resistant plastic-coated wicker weave, and the chair framing is made of shiny gold anodized aluminum tubing. Its such a comfortable, stylish and well-crafted chair that it deserves to used inside the home as much as the outdoors.
This vintage aluminum folding chair is a convertible lounge model from Adams Engineering Inc. of Miami, Florida. By 1955, Adams Engineering manufactured over 50 percent of all tubular aluminum folding chairs in America. These ABC chairs (“America’s Best Chair!”) were made from scratch at their Miami facility. This means unprocessed aluminum came in through the front of the factory and finished chairs came out of the back. They smelted their own aluminum alloy, and extruded and formed all the metal tubing at the factory. The curves and bends are made by hand, not a programmed machine. Webbing in a rainbow of colors was made there, too, and hand-stretched and assembled onto the chair frames. The lounge chair pictured has a quintessential mid-century turquoise blue webbing with shiny metallic gold trim. It has an adjustable back that lowers almost to a perpendicular position. The leg rest segment of the frame can be folded under to create a standard lawn chair, too.
This stunning vintage lawn chair was manufactured around 1970-1972 by Sun Terrace Casual Furniture of Stanley, NC. It has a bright mod yellow plastic seat and back with eye-catching designs. The back has a highly detailed filigree cutout pattern, and the seat has a geometric sunburst pattern. It is sturdy and very comfortable. These plastic and aluminum Sun Terrace chairs came in yellow and white (possibly other colors, too), and the company also manufactured traditional aluminum folding chairs with webbing.
As far as vintage folding lawn chairs go, this one can’t be beat in style, comfort, or quality. It is very well-made and thoughtfully designed with smooth aluminum arms, a longer reclined back, and tapered legs with sturdy ball-joint feet. The steel pole that runs across between the seat and the back is even covered in a colorful plastic housing that matches the webbing, preventing the inevitable rust and corrosion that typically forms on it over the years.
This is a lawn chair fit for a king, and was built to last for decades to come. Sadly, I haven’t discovered this chair’s manufacturer…yet.