Goulding's Patent Folding Chair

Goulding's Patent Folding Chair



An ash chair made to William Goulding's patent of January 1874 and retailed by Vipan & Headley of Leicester.

The chair folds to a very, neat flat size that will free stand. Cut outs to the two middle seat slats also give space for the central bar to be used as a carrying handle. The chair can also be used with its back up or down. Goulding pointed out the versatility of his patent stating that it was good for not only a long seat but also as a table or, with the addition of a rim, a butler's folding tray. With the two halves of the top set at an angle, it could also be used to form a reading or writing desk and a music stand.

To the side of the chair is a partial paper label for Vipan & Headly of Leicester which also notes the number 1016 and Goulding's Patent. Vipan & Headley were general ironmongers with retail premises at 14 Gallow Tree Gate and works in Church Gate. Both properties had been used by Mary Hunt as ironmongers from around 1840, carrying on her late husband's business. By 1846 she had been joined by her son and by 1854 the business changed name to Hunt and Pickering. Interestingly their premises were called the Goulding Implement Works which suggests a strong connection to the patentee. Hunt and Pickering were renamed Vipan & Headly in the early 1870's and they continued to deal in agricultural implements and dairy equipment and also manufactured garden furniture etc. Goulding is described as an agricultural implement maker by The London Gazette whilst listing his patent but whether he was an employee of Vipan and Headly or had a greater interest in the company, as their Works suggest, is not known. Vipan and Headly continued in business until 1964.

The chair is quite practical for modern use and its versatility not obvious until the patent is read but it could easily be used as a low table, especially with a tray placed on top. The height for use as a book stand or desk is perhaps low unless it's raised on another surface. One of the slats to the middle has a 7 1/2 inch steel bar screwed to the underside as an old repair to a minor split to the wood. It's not apparent unless you turn the chair upside down and certainly makes the slat stronger than it was when new. Goulding's patent was one of hundreds taken out in the second half of the 19th century for chairs and it is an interesting design. Circa 1875.

Size for use as a chair is given.


Height 73.63 cm / 29 "
Width 43.8 cm / 17 "
Depth 50.78 cm / 20 "