Uncovering The Fascinating History Of Ercol Furniture

Uncovering The Fascinating History Of Ercol Furniture

Are you intrigued by timeless designs and superior craftsmanship in furniture? You must have come across Ercol, a British brand synonymous with quality since 1920. In this post, we dive into the rich history of this celebrated furniture maker – from humble beginnings to iconic status.

Let's reveal the fascinating story behind your favourite Ercol pieces!

Key Takeaways

  • Ercol Furniture was founded by Italian designer Lucian R. Ercolani in 1920 with the goal of creating well-designed and high-quality furniture.
  • During World War II, Ercol shifted its focus to producing utility furniture for the war effort, showcasing their adaptability and commitment to quality craftsmanship even during challenging times.
  • The introduction of the iconic Windsor Chair in 1956 marked the birth of Ercol's mid-century modern style, which continues to be a timeless choice for those seeking luxury and elegance in their homes.
  • With collaborations from notable designers like Rachel Galbraith and Tim Fenby, Ercol collections offer a range of high-quality pieces inspired by mid-century design principles that combine form and function.

The Origins of Ercol Furniture

Italian designer Lucian R. Ercolani founded Ercol in 1920. He was born in Italy but moved to London in the later part of the 1890s.

Lucian R. Ercolani had a dream – to make furniture that was both nice to look at and well put together. His main idea was to use top quality wood for his pieces. They were not just things people used, they were works of art too.

Ercolani made sure every piece of Ercol furniture stood out in its own way. It took skill from good craftsmen who cared about their work a lot. Quality was very important for him. That's why every dining chair, table or sofa had its own character while still being useful for daily life.

Exploring the Ercol Collection

Ercol makes many kinds of furniture. The range is wide and includes furniture for the living room, dining room and bedroom. You will find chairs, beds, tables, sofas and more.

The designs are sleek yet sturdy. They bring together style and comfort perfectly. Every piece tells a story of fine design and craft work. Ercol brings the best parts of British furniture-making to your home!

Ercol during the Second World War

Ercol faced significant challenges during the Second World War as they shifted their focus to producing utility furniture for the war effort, which led to a struggle in maintaining their business operations.

Production of utility furniture for war effort

Ercol made furniture for war needs. In the Second World War, the British government asked them to help. They became part of the Utility Furniture Scheme. This was a plan by the government to control how furniture was made and sold during the war.

Ercol had a big role in this scheme. They made durable furniture that looked good too. The company mostly used natural wood for their pieces. Now, this is what people know Ercol for.

Struggle to maintain business during war

The Second World War proved tough for Ercol Furniture. The war put limits on what could be made. This was the utility furniture scheme's rules. They said how much wood and other things could be used to make each piece of furniture.

Undaunted, Ercol started making simple but useful pieces of furniture that still met the guidelines set by the government during this time. They faced hitches head-on and kept going in spite of them.

This is a testament to their gumption and skill, keeping up with their passion for well-made furniture even during trying times.

The Birth of Mid-Century Modern Ercol

In 1956, Ercol introduced the iconic Windsor Chair, marking the birth of their mid-century modern style. They focused on maintaining high quality craftsmanship in their designs.

This chair is now made totally of solid ash. Small changes have been made to its design over years. But its quality and craft stay strong as ever before, making it an iconic part of Ercol's collection.

Focus on quality and craftsmanship

Ercol furniture stands for top quality and fine work. Every piece gets a lot of care. From beds to chairs, each item shows this love for detail. The company uses good materials and skilled workers.

They make sure their products last long and look good. This focus has made Ercol a big name in the market today.

Ercol's Legacy

Ercol's legacy continues to thrive today as the brand remains popular and recognized as a British design classic. They have managed to adapt to modern trends while still maintaining their traditional values of quality craftsmanship and well-designed furniture.

Continued popularity and recognition as a British design classic

Ercol furniture continues to be extremely popular and is widely recognised as a classic of British design. With its exceptional attention to detail and high-quality craftsmanship, Ercol sets the standard for Great British manufacturing.

The enduring appeal of Ercol furniture, particularly their Windsor range of dining furniture and cabinetry, has made it a timeless choice for those seeking luxury and elegance in their homes.

In recent years, vintage Ercol pieces have seen a surge in popularity, further cementing the brand's prestige and heritage. As trends evolve, Ercol adapts while staying true to its traditional values, ensuring that its reputation as a British design icon remains strong.

Adapting to modern trends while maintaining traditional values

Ercol furniture has successfully adapted to modern trends while still staying true to its traditional values. They understand that people's lifestyles and preferences have changed over time and they have embraced these changes in their designs.

By combining trend-led ideals with their rich heritage, Ercol creates furniture that is both stylish and timeless. Drawing inspiration from the Nordic design movement of the mid-20th century, Ercol values beauty, simplicity and functionality in their pieces.

This means that you can enjoy furniture that not only looks great but also serves a practical purpose in your home. Whether it's a sofa or an armchair made with solid ash wood, Ercol understands how to make furniture that fits seamlessly into modern living spaces while still maintaining the quality and craftsmanship they are known for.

Notable Ercol Designers

Ercol has collaborated with several notable designers, including Rachel Galbraith, Dylan Freeth, Lisa Gould Sandall, Sam Wilkin, Ben Fowler, Ben Frost and Tim Fenby.

Rachel Galbraith

Rachel Galbraith has been the Creative Director for Ercol since 2014. With a background in furniture design, she brings her expertise to lead the design studio and shape the brand's direction.

Rachel draws inspiration from the ethos of 19th-century Shaker furniture makers, creating timeless and elegant pieces. She has worked on various types of furniture designs and even freelanced for companies like Frank Hudson.

As an integral part of Ercol, Rachel continues to contribute to their success by combining traditional values with modern trends in luxury furniture design.

Dylan Freeth

Dylan Freeth is a furniture designer who has been working at Ercol since 2011. He spent 10 years there, starting as a Designer and working his way up to Senior Designer. His studio was located within the factory where the furniture is made, allowing him to be closely involved in the production process.

Dylan is known for his designs that balance exquisite detail with practical function. He has played a significant role in uncovering the fascinating history of Ercol furniture and continues to contribute to its legacy.

Lisa Gould Sandall

Lisa Gould Sandall is a furniture designer at Ercol, a company known for its luxury and well-crafted furniture. She was part of the Ercol design studio from 2011 to 2023. Lisa graduated from Nottingham Trent University with a degree in Furniture, making her highly knowledgeable about the art and craftsmanship behind Ercol's pieces.

Alongside other notable designers, Lisa has made significant contributions to uncovering the fascinating history of Ercol furniture. Her expertise and passion shine through in the beautiful designs she creates for Ercol's discerning customers.

Sam Wilkin

Sam Wilkin is a valuable member of the Ercol design team, joining in 2020. She brings expertise in upholstery, fabric and trend analysis to create beautiful furniture designs. With a lifelong passion for fabric and textiles, Sam's eye for detail and understanding of luxury furniture trends ensures that each piece she works on is both stylish and comfortable.

Her contributions help to keep Ercol at the forefront of British design, catering to the tastes of people who appreciate quality and sophistication in their living spaces.

Ben Fowler

Ben Fowler is a well-established designer who has worked in various disciplines. In 2014, he collaborated with notable designers at Ercol. Ben has designed ranges of products for different retailers, focusing on creating both inspiring and practical designs.

Based in Sussex, UK, he offers valuable insights into the demands of the industry and the role of design in meeting commercial needs. Ben's perspective brings a fresh and informed viewpoint to the world of luxury furniture design.

Ben Frost

Ben Frost is a well-established designer who has worked with famous retailers. He is known for his bold and playful Pop Art paintings that often feature a unique twist on popular culture.

Ben Frost is one of the notable designers associated with Ercol, adding his creative touch to their collections. His designs bring a vibrant and modern feel to Ercol's traditional craftsmanship, making their furniture even more appealing to those interested in luxury furnishings.

Tim Fenby

Tim Fenby is an acclaimed British furniture designer known for his award-winning work. He is associated with other notable Ercol designers and plays a crucial role in uncovering the fascinating history of Ercol furniture.

With a focus on designing relevant and honest furniture, Fenby brings his expertise to create luxury pieces that appeal to people interested in high-quality furnishings. His contributions contribute to the enduring legacy of Ercol as a well-respected brand in the industry.

Ercol FAQs

Curious about vintage Ercol furniture? Learn how to identify it, discover popular dining chairs and find out about the value and collectibility of Ercol pieces.

How to identify vintage Ercol furniture

Genuine vintage Ercol furniture can be identified by checking for an Ercol label, which will indicate the year of production. This label is a simple way to determine if a piece is authentic.

Additionally, popular and valuable vintage Ercol pieces are often from the Windsor range, so keep an eye out for those. Vintage Ercol dining chairs, like the Goldsmith, Quaker, and Windsor chairs, are also sought-after and relatively easy to find.

So if you come across these styles with an Ercol label, chances are you've found a true vintage gem!

Popular vintage Ercol dining chairs

Vintage Ercol dining chairs, like the Ercol Goldsmith, Ercol Quaker, and Ercol Windsor Chairs, are highly sought after by collectors. These chairs have a timeless appeal and are known for their quality craftsmanship.

If you're interested in finding vintage Ercol dining chairs, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, do your research to identify genuine Ercol furniture from replicas or imitations.

Look for the distinctive features of each chair model, such as the spindles on the Windsor Chair or the curved backrest of the Quaker Chair. Second, consider exploring online marketplaces or antique shops that specialise in mid-century furniture.

Vintage Ercol dining chairs may be available in various conditions and prices, so it's important to determine your budget and restoration preferences beforehand. Lastly, remember that these chairs hold their value well over time and can be a great investment if properly cared for.

Whether you're looking to add character to your home or expand your collection of vintage treasures, popular vintage Ercol dining chairs offer both style and functionality that withstands the test of time.

Value and collectibility of Ercol furniture

Ercol furniture holds both value and collectability due to its exceptional design and craftsmanship. Pieces from the Windsor range, such as the iconic Windsor Chair, are particularly sought after by collectors.

The vintage Ercol dining chairs, like the Ercol Goldsmith, Ercol Quaker, and Ercol Windsor Chairs, are also popular among collectors. The value of Ercol furniture is further enhanced by its status as a British design classic.

If you come across an original Ercol label on a piece of furniture, it guarantees its authenticity and increases its worth. So if you're looking for luxury furniture with lasting value and collectibility, investing in Ercol pieces is definitely worth considering.


Ercol has a captivating history that spans over 100 years. Founded by Italian designer Lucian Ercolani in 1920, the company's goal was to create well-designed and well-made furniture.

From their iconic Windsor Chair to their adaptation to modern trends while maintaining traditional values, Ercol continues to be recognized as a British design classic. With notable designers like Rachel Galbraith and Tim Fenby, Ercol collections offer a range of high-quality pieces for every room.

Whether you're interested in vintage or contemporary designs, exploring the fascinating history of Ercol furniture is sure to inspire your love for luxury furnishings.


1. What types of Ercol furniture are there?

There are many types of Ercol furniture for your home including a choice from Ercol tables like dining tables and coffee tables, beds, sofas, armchairs and the famous rocking chair.

2. Can I get Ercol furniture for my whole house?

Yes! You can find beautiful pieces for every room in your house, ranging from an Ercol dining table for your dining room to bedroom items such as an Ercol bed or sideboard.

3. Why is the Ercol chair so popular?

The Ercol chair has become a hit because it combines style with comfort - it's not just pleasing to look at but also comfy to sit on!

4. Where else can I use my Ercol coffee table?

You can put your Ercol coffee table anywhere you want! It suits well in both living rooms and bedrooms thanks to its versatile design.

5. Are all Ercol sofas the same size?

No, they aren't!The sizes of Ercol sofas change based on their designs. This means you will be able to find one that fits perfectly into any space you have.

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