Mid-Century Broyhill Dining Set (maybe)

A reader wrote in with the following question:
I recently bought a mid-century-ish dining room set in need of refinishing. I can't identify the wood species on my own so I thought I would try to identify the maker first. After many hours of Google searching I came across Broyhill Sculptra and your awesome website. I thought it was a match until I noticed some subtle differences. My table edges are more squared as are the table legs and chair legs. Also the back of my chairs continue over the seat rim. Any information you can provide would be greatly appreciated. I really want to know the wood species to get the refinishing correct but finding out the maker has now become and obsession!

Thanks
Jenn L.
Jenn sent along some pictures too.



When I saw the pictures I thought, "Yep, that's a Broyhill Sculptra dining room set alright." But then I noticed the differences Jenn pointed out, the front legs of the chairs are square, as are the table legs. All the Broyhill Sculptra dining chairs I've seen have round legs on the front and Sculptra dining tables have round legs. Plus, the leg position on the table is wrong for Sculptra.

So I jumped to the next logical line: Broyhill Brasilia. But, again, in the Brasilia collection, the dining chairs without arms have round legs up front. And the table legs aren't right for Brasilia either.

Strike three came when I jumped to the Broyhill Emphasis collection (which has a lot in common with the Sculptra line). Again, round chair legs in front on Emphasis chairs and the wrong table.

So I'm out, but I know I have plenty of readers who are better at identifying mid-century furniture than I am. If any of you have an idea, please leave a comment.

I'm also not ruling out a mid-line design change on chair and table legs for any of these collections, I just can't find proof of it.

But back to Jenn's question: That chair back leads me to believe that this set was probably made by Broyhill, I just can't find the right collection. In that case, the wood is most likely walnut. Sculptra, Emphasis and Brasilia are all walnut collections. But, to be safe, bring one of the chairs to your local hardware store or lumber yard and they might be able to identify the exact wood type.

12 comments:

  1. It looks very similar to the Sculptra dining set (I just saw one a few days ago in-person) , but a bit more squared-off. It likely isn't Broyhill, but I'm not sure who made such things. There were quite a few copycats in those days.

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    1. I didn't consider a copycat. That's definitely a possibility too.

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  2. I have a Sculptra dining set that was my grandmother's. The shape of the chair backs is also different on the Sculptra.

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    1. A lot of mid-century Broyhill dining sets had two options for chair backs, the Brasilia line comes to mind. This is the only chair back I've seen for the Sculptra line. If you have a Sculptra dining set with a different chair back, I'd love to see it if you have photos of it online or wouldn't mind emailing one to midcenturyaustin@gmail.com.

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  3. There's a Pittsburgh Craigslist ad for a similar set of chairs with a round table and hutch that says it's Drexel and made from mahogany. I'm not convinced, though.

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    1. I saw that ad. I think they're calling it a Drexel based on the sideboard and china cabinet. I'm not convinced either. I don't think the table and chairs are part of that set.

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  4. http://www.brasiliaconnection.com/files/Brasilia%20brochure%282%29.pdf

    It is in fact a Brasilia chair. I have a pair myself.

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    1. Admittedly, they've very, very close, but everything I've read/seen says the Brasilia chair have round legs, where as these have square legs.

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  5. http://shefindsretro.blogspot.com/2011/05/mid-century-mod-dining-set-w6-chairs.html

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    1. That's pretty close. The table legs are wrong, but it could be another/similar set by Metropolitan Furniture.

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  6. Just thought I'd add my two cents. I just bought a set a chairs similar to this, though there are some differences(the back of my chair does not extend down past the back of the seat like in this picture). Mine are from the Lenoir Chair Company, which was a sector of Broyhill. Here's an example: http://www.echoantiques.com/seating-antiques-santa-cruz-echo-p18.php

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    1. Those do look pretty close. And Lenoir would make sense since they have a shared history. That might be the closest we get to an actual answer. Thanks!

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