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Question and Answer ArticleRetro Chairs

By Diana Faherty
Published: April 1, 2005
Photo by Torrans Manufacturing Company

  We’re looking for reproductions of the ’50s style metal, outdoor lawnchairs. They were commonly referred to as “motel chairs” and were often painted with shiny enamel paint in vivid colors like red, green and blue.
We don’t need originals; modern reproductions are fine. We’ve scoured the Internet with no luck. Do you have any sources?
– Sandy and Gary Luepke; via e-mail

We know exactly the chairs you’re talking about. They go by many names, including shellback metal chairs and motel chairs. Here are some sources we know of:
• Improvements Catalog, Steel Bistro Chair,, $69.99 (It doesn’t look like a “bistro” chair; it’s the type you’re looking for.)
• Torrans Manufacturing Company, ’50s Style Metal Chair,, $68.99 (comes in bright colors with white arms).
You may also check eBay. We recently spotted two “shellback metal chairs” going for about $29 each.
Good luck!
– D.F.

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