A 19th century innovation, the earliest hallstands usually consisted of a straight or shaped upright, sometimes with a drawer and with rounded wooden pegs or hooks on which to hang coats and hats. Some versions also contained umbrella stands, eith in the central section or to each side.
Hallstands became proportionately larger during the course of the century, sometimes being equipped with lift up seats and arms, and later models had brass hooks that tended to replace the wooden knobs. Early versions were usually wooden, although wonderful cast iron hallstands are to be found from the middle of the century, richly cast and ornamented.
The best known manufacturer of cast iron hallstands was Coalbrookdale Company of Shropshire England, founded in 1709. In the 1840s the company developed a range of cast iron furniture, which, once the moulds had been created, could be mass produced. Coalbookdale items are marked either with the full name of the company or an abbreviation such as 'C-B-DALE Co'
Cast iron hallstands will often also include the date lozenge, often cast into the base of the drip trays indicating the year in which the design was registered. more...Some were made in Australia featuring native plants as their dominant motifs.
Towards the end of the century, hallstands were made in bamboo and lacquer work in the Japanese taste. Hallstands continued in fashion until the 1920s and were sometimes made in the prevailing Jacobean revival fashion or the plainer styles inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement.
A variant on the hallstand is the hall tree, usually made of timber with a central stem and three or so arching branches to each side, fitted with knobs or hooks for coats and jackets.
Another variant is the umbrella or stick stand, usually about waist height or lower, in cast iron, with a loop in the upper section and a drip tray below to hold the walking sticks, canes or umbrellas. The backs are sometimes cast in the form of animals, testifying to their connection to the great outdoors.
Learn about Bentwood
The Austrian bentwood furniture designed by Michael Thonet (1796-1871) was among the 19th century's most original contributions to furniture development. Thonet used the techniques of steam-bending and the pliable nature of beech wood to make chairs, tables, hallstands, cots and so on. The furniture was simple in form, light in weight, elegant and capable of being mass produced, so that bentwood furniture was exported to many parts of the world, including Australia, following its success at the 1851 Great Exhibition. Thonet chairs, and those made by his competitor Kohn, often have paper trade labels pasted on the inside seat rail. Thonet was not the first to apply the techniques of steam bending to furniture. It was used, for example, during the 18th century by the Windsor chair makers to construct bow back or hoop back chairs, and the arched crinoline stretchers but he was the first to exploit it on such a vast commercial scale.
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