Back in October while driving home from work, I spotted three chairs put to the curb for trash. The seats were an awful orange and brown, but I liked the backs and legs, so I threw them in my car and brought them home (my wife is very supportive, or at least tolerant). As you can see, they were fairly worse for wear. Someone had even spray-painted a nice purple splotch on the back of this one.
I took the seat off to begin sanding and noticed this tag underneath.
I'm not sure how the punch card was used in furniture manufacturing, but Howell must have been pretty high tech.
The underside the seats are stamped "Howell Modern Metal Furniture St. Charles, ILL".
After sanding, re-staining (Minwax Provincial) and applying a satin polyurethane coat.
I covered the existing seat with the same fabric I used on my desk chair. Upholstery is not one of my skills, so I just went right over the old fabric and padding.
The Howell company began in 1867 producing iron door stops and stove-heated irons. They switched to furniture production in the 1920's and introduced a line of chrome-plated bent tubular steel furniture in 1933. A year later they brought in Viennese designer Wolfgang Hoffman and began a very successful run of modern furniture production, pausing to produce bombs, artillery shells and airplan wings during World War II. Howell was bought out by the Acme Steel Company in 1954 and after being bought out once again in 1975, closed its doors in 1979.