Relics Of America’s Industrial Past


Well-worn factory furniture, bins, lighting, shelves and many other items that once furnished factories, schools, hospital, churches and farms take on second acts in contemporary design. Their charm, for collectors, is inherent in their simple design to a particular job — form followed function. And their survival points to the fact that they did their job well. Visitors to Antiques at the Armory, produced by Stella Show Mgmt Co, January 20-22, will gain a new appreciation for these relics of America’s industrial past, especially if they stop in and see Diana Douglas and Michael J. Ogle, co-owners of Los Angeles-based American Garage.

The couple will be showing this industrial foundry cart, circa 1930, featuring a three-board slat top, a cast iron frame, all resting on three cast iron wheels in original green painted surface..

“At American Garage, we are all about painted pieces and, of course, being in original surface.” says. Ogle. “This goes along with wood, metal or whatever. We have always believed that paint and /or color evokes a mood when used properly in designing any room.. Industrial that is stripped has a totally different feel to it, and in my estimation it is too cold and stark.”

Hand in hand with color and perhaps even more important is the form of the piece, he continues. “Whenever you walk around a show looking at hundreds of pieces and all of a sudden you say ‘Wow, look at that!!’ it is usually a piece that has great form, something in the initial design of the piece that makes it unusually pleasing to look at and sets it apart from everything else.”

Living in Los Angeles, Ogle and Douglas see industrial antiques being used in design work from modern homes to early turn of the century houses. “It all depends on the room setting and usage,” says Ogle. “Pieces such as the foundry cart have multiple uses as a lamp table next to a sofa, or as a stand alone piece with a magnificent piece of folk art displayed on it.”

You can put any of these examples back to work for you by visiting American Garage at the show or checking out their website at www.Americangarageantiques.com. For show information, www.stellashows.com or 973-808-5015.  — W.A. Demers

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