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How to identify a Parker Knoll chair

Parker Knoll has a rich and vibrant heritage. You may be lucky enough to own an original recliner. Or perhaps you inherited a chair from your favourite aunt, and you want to know whether or not it’s a genuine Parker Knoll classic. We have plenty of tips on identifying the real thing and bringing your Parker Knoll wingback chair, sofa, or recliner back to life with fresh upholstery fabric.

What is Parker Knoll furniture?

The Parker Knoll company was founded in 1869 to produce high-quality, beautifully crafted furniture. Driven forward by a passion for design and technology, Parker Knoll is synonymous with comfort, integrating modern and classic design. 

It’s perhaps not surprising when you know that founder Frederick Parker was an upholsterer, and partner Willi Knoll patented a groundbreaking suspension spring system. The furniture that bears their names is still handcrafted in Britain.

Iconic design: the Parker Knoll Recliner 

Parker Knoll has produced many iconic designs, from classic wingback chairs like the Penshurst to rocking chairs like the stunning Orleans rocker. But the 1960s recliner is arguably one of the most iconic. 

Not only was the recliner highly desirable, but Parker Knoll was the first company to advertise nationally, creating a huge demand. The recliner was a giant leap forward technologically, and Parker Knoll was soon the number one UK furniture company.

What to look out for in genuine Parker Knoll furniture

So how can you tell if your Statesman chair or Hawkhurst sofa is the genuine article? The first thing is to turn it upside down and look for a label or brand directly on the wooden frame. Your furniture should be clearly marked with the name Parker Knoll and a model number. 

For example, the Burleigh armchair, which first appeared in 1952, has the serial number PK716. Later chairs and sofas like the Norton Recliner bear a serial number starting with N followed by a two-digit code. 

Some models like the Froxfield had a long lease of life, while others like Edward VIII’s famous ‘Abdication chair’ are no longer produced. However, modern classics like the Penshurst wingback chair have continuously been in production since the 1950s.

Popular wood used

Another way to identify genuine Parker Knoll furniture is the quality of the wooden finishes. For example, you can often date a chair from the colour of the wood frame. 

Beech and light walnut were popular in the early 1950s, while darker woods like mahogany and pieces with an ebonised finish were popular in the latter half of the decade. The Penshurst chair, for example, is usually finished in antique walnut. 

If your Parker Knoll chair is teak or rosewood, it probably dates from the 1960s, reflecting the interest in Scandinavian design.  

Other pointers to look for are strong, beautifully crafted wooden frames, comfortable sprung upholstery and unrivalled build quality.

How to reupholster a Parker Knoll chair 

If your Parker Knoll chair has seen better days, you may wish to consider reupholstery. Parker Knoll has a gallery of reupholstered classic chairs featuring colours that pop and fabulous patterns that are bang on-trend.

However, reupholstering your classic chair is not an easy job, and you may prefer to trust your renovation to the experts, especially for leather upholstered chairs like the Statesman chair. At South West Upholstery, we’re specialists in Parker Knoll upholstery and will be happy to bring your chair back to its original levels of comfort and style. 

Parker Knoll at South West Upholstery

Whether you want to know how to take care of your Parker Knoll furniture or you’re looking to give your Parker Knoll chair a new lease of life, South West Upholstery can help. We’re Parker Knoll specialists, so get in touch or drop into one of our Bristol showrooms to discuss your upholstery project.

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