Weekend Finds: The Real McCobb

Lately it just seems like things have hit a slump. I haven’t been finding much of any quality, but I’ve spent a lot of time (and gas) trying. So, this weekend when a friend and I decided to freestyle and drive around looking for random garage sales I didn’t have high expectations. I didn’t, that is, until I saw this sitting in a driveway.

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I believe my exact words were, “Ooooh. I have to buy those!” Which was followed by an impassioned plea from my friend to stop the car first. From the road the set appeared to be part of designer Paul McCobb’s ever popular Planner Group. But I’ve never actually seen any real pieces in person and there were no markings. I hemmed and hawed—the set does need to be refinished—but ultimately I decided to purchase it—even if it wasn’t the real deal it had a great look and the price was reasonable.

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Once I had time to properly research it, I realized it was indeed the real McCobb. A pace-setting collection in modern furniture, the Planner Group was produced by Winchendon Furniture from 1949–1964. Though there are several look-a-like designs from the period, the major tells are the shape of the chair backs and the joinery of the legs visible through the seat.

IMG_7537Though this was by far the best table and chairs I purchased all weekend, it wasn’t the only one. I also found this Willett cherry wood drop-leaf dining table that stretches out to next Tuesday with two additional leaves. A little research revealed that Willett furniture was once the nation’s largest producer of cherry and maple furniture. The company used craftsman quality techniques that yielded very finely crafted, hand built furniture. Ultimately that led to their inability to compete with larger manufacturers and their total demise in 1962. But it’s nice to know it’s a fine piece.

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Much farther down on the spectrum of quality furnishings is this surfboard coffee table by Mersman. This is the first Mersman table I have ever even seen with real wood veneer instead of plastic laminate. Of course the condition of the top might be an argument that this family should have gone with the plastic. But for $7.99 I can refinish the top.

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My only other chair of the weekend was this armchair. It’s actually a captain’s chair from a larger set, but the seller only had two of the matching chairs so I asked if he would sell this one separately. I think it looks unique enough to stand on its own and will make a nice chair for a writing desk or just an extra side chair.

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With the chair I also found this great 1950s cattail lamp. As much as I love the unusual burnt orange color, sadly this piece has not been loved in its life and may require a total repaint.

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And my smallest find of the weekend, but one of my favorites, is this Haeger flower pot. It’s no McCobb, but it’s still about as much fun as you can have for two dollars.

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