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1920's metal chest

Posted by ID2014 (My Page) on
Mon, May 21, 12 at 22:40

I bought a painted metal chest with Art Deco detailing that I was told is 1920's French. I can't find any information about this sort of piece. Has anyone seen something similar or know anything about it?
The paint is worn but the chest still looks good and I have been using it this way. If I chose to restore it in the future who/how should i have it painted and how can I find appropriate colors?

Here is a link that might be useful: metal chest


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: 1920's metal chest

looks like a kitchen cabinet to me.


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RE: 1920's metal chest

That is a good possibility, although it is taller than any examples I have found. Because of the top it would have to stand alone rather than be placed against other cabinets.

What would be the best way to repaint? Auto paint shop?


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RE: 1920's metal chest

I don't think it's a common kitchen cabinet, but rather, perhaps, a decorative piece for an office?
I would not "restore" it....I would clean it up, wax it and enjoy it in all it's original Deco glory.


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RE: 1920's metal chest

Old kitchens were usually "unfitted" - meaning no banks of cabinets like we are used to.

Is it a convenient height for standing and working? It may have been a shop cabinet, or a work counter. Or a storage cabinet. One seldom knows where these things have been.

I also like it as it is, it has a bit of intrigue.


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RE: 1920's metal chest

It is too tall to be a comfortable work station. I suspect it was used for storage. I use it as a sideboard and it holds quite a bit-all of my china and silver, and many serving pieces and table linens. I have it mixed with more modern pieces and I think it is a great contrast. It is the serving piece for my rosewood Saarinen tulip table.

I've started waxing it and it is already making a great difference. The chrome detailing is starting to shine. The picture i took is a bit dull and doesn't do it justice, and more so now that it will be freshly waxed.


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RE: 1920's metal chest

So glad you are not going to sand blast it and powder coat!!


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RE: 1920's metal chest

After doing a little research, the closest similar items I've found were cabinets used for medical or dental offices. That seems most likely.

Honestly, I 'm not 100% sure about not painting it. I think that it has already been repainted at some point in the past. I do like the patina, but are there any other reasons not to paint?


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RE: 1920's metal chest

Looks like it just hits under window height by the picture. Just how tall is it?


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RE: 1920's metal chest

It is a little taller than the windowsill-40 inches.


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RE: 1920's metal chest

I would say medical or dental cabinet.


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RE: 1920's metal chest

Its about the right height to have been used as a baby changing table. I've seen similar pieces in country doctors offices. It could have been used in a variety of situations.


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RE: 1920's metal chest

What's inside it?


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RE: 1920's metal chest

Everything I own!

It has a wood shelf halfway down and the metal base forms a bottom shelf. I don't know if the wood shelf is original or has been replaced, but the interior has definitely been repainted.


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RE: 1920's metal chest

A thought on metal furniture - I have seen metal chests of drawers and nightstands that were made and sold for use in tropical areas, or on ships, where humidity changes would wreck wood very quickly.

Maybe you have one of those.


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RE: 1920's metal chest

I know it was purchased in Paris, so I assumed it was used in France.
I really am leaning toward painting it. I think it would have a nice art deco/ocean liner look to it if I did. I appreciate keeping something in its original state, but I don't think it is the original paint. Also, it is a little too shabby chic for my taste.
So, if I do, is an auto paint shop the way to go? Any thought on choosing colors?


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RE: 1920's metal chest

don't paint it!!!.....Look a little further into what it is before you do anything....
It was not meant for a Dr's office nor diapering babies. I think that piece is nicer than you know.....don't ruin it.
Linda C


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RE: 1920's metal chest

I won't paint it! I agree that it may be nicer than I know. Most of the metal medical pieces I've seen are more utilitarian-the decorative chrome detailing on my piece is very nice.


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