Meet Henry – no, I don’t know why either, but that’s his name – a traditional coat stand with a twist. Firstly, it fixes to the wall which solves an inherent problem with these stands which always look like they’ll topple over if you put too much on them.
Secondly, it’s finished in tarnished silver which gives a modern look and, I think, makes the whole thing much more appealing.
The original is something of a design classic these days. It was made by Michael Thonet (him of the bentwood chair fame) and was called the Cafe Daum stand after the Viennese cafe he used to frequent.
The cafe Daum was one of the many smoke-filled salons frequented by Viennese High Society. There were around 500 cafes in Vienna at the time, each with its own characteristics and clientele. The Daum was regarded as the most famous according to an article in The New York Times in 1897:
“There famous politicians, military aristocrats, statesmen and courtiers, some of the best known names in latter-day Austrian history, were to be met. The history of the Daum Cafe was, in fact, the history of Austria itself from 1848 down to the present decade.”
The stand was one of Thonet’s first commissions, along with a large order for his bentwood chairs – made using the steambending technique that he pioneered. That chair was number 4. Six years later he had arrived at No 14, which is still being manufactured today and is one of the world’s most successful commercial products. Indeed, some 15 million were sold between 1860 and 1930.
Coat stands were popular as well as practical. In private homes they were often placed in the window as a sign that the owners were people who took care of their possessions and outward appearances.
This one is from Rowen and Wren and costs £294