If you are a fan of the industrial style in interior decoration, you have most certainly heard of the chair Nicolle , called “tail de baleine”. Today, we will be interested in this undeniable industrial design which, after more than eighty years of existence, has not finished to fill the aficionados of the genre.
History of the Nicolle chair
The industrial bar chair Nicolle was founded in Montreuil in the Paris region in the workshops of Nicolle establishments, founded by Paul Henry Nicolle in 1913 and whose main activity was the manufacture of metal washers.
Around 1930, Paul Henry Nicolle designed a 3-foot stool for his workshops. Stools in the form of washers then began to furnish the landscape of the Nicolle establishments as well as those of the neighboring factories. At that time, Paul Henry had no suspicion that he had just given birth to an icon, which was to conquer a great number of French workshops, whether specialized in the chemical industry , mechanical or textile, but especially of our interiors.
Very quickly, it adds a backsplash for the comfort of its employees. A detail, not the least, that would make the Nicolle chair an emblematic piece of design over the decades: a metal backrest evoking both the shape of a gooseneck and a tail of a whale. Then we move to 4 feet for stability. The world of work and safety are changing, so are the seats. Finally, it also creates a rotating model.
In 1954, the company was bought by Fichet Bauche who no longer wanted to produce the seats. Mr Félix, the workshop manager will then leave with the manufacturing tools and found a stamping company while continuing to produce the Nicolle chairs in subsidiary activity. He will then sell them through the Catalog Manutant anonymously until the 90s, even creating a model with wooden seat. The Nicolle chair and stool will therefore continue to equip the factories in France and Navarre in total anonymity until their production ceases with the new labor laws that impose seats at 5 feet.
But the chair Nicolle had not said his last word! Jérôme Lepert, industrial archaeologist, specialist passionate about old industrial furniture, wonders about the manufacture of these seats that he regularly finds in old workshops. By dint of pugnacity, it finds the traces of its manufacture and saves in extremis the tooling of manufacture destined to be destroyed because useless. He then revived the production of Nicolle chairs and stools in the establishment, retaining the original processes.
Today, industrial bar chair enthusiasts are spoiled for choice in the style and finish of Nicolle chairs and stools , as they are now available in many different colors and heights to meet need of each. The seating can also be trimmed with a leather cake with a smooth or grained finish, which offers a more chic rendering.
Manufacture of the Nicolle chair
The secret of manufacture of this industrial bar chair made in France, lies in the assembly of stamped metal parts, of which it is entirely constituted. The legs and struts of the seat are riveted together; the seat is secured to the feet by an ancestral technique: spot welding. These welding points remain visible and represent one of the major characteristics of the Nicolle seats.
Good to know: the back of the Nicolle chair , originally welded to the seat is now removable, because it is fixed by 2 butterfly screws.
An industrial bar chair that blends into the decor
As you will be able to see through these few examples of developments, this industrial bar chair made in France has the gift of blending into the decor.
You will cross it in water green or bubble-gum pink but also with colors of industrial style pure juice (black, gray, wood …), in perfect match with the spirit of this seat, on the margins of becoming cult .