Antique Soda Fountain Parlor Set Reclaimed by SK Sartell

SK on Elderberry
by SK on Elderberry
These precious ice cream parlor chairs and iron table have been saved and gently carried around for many decades. One of these chairs has the original A.H. Anderson Manufacturing from Chicago logo on the bottom.
SK starts a crazy fun process.
As I started to clear a century's worth of paint and rust, I discovered the chairs have a copper coating. I'm not sure why. Maybe for strength? Update: the copper was used as a rust inhibitor. Thanks for that info.

The rust and neglect have scoured the metal finish and I am finding it difficult to sand away the pock marks left from rust.

You can read the owners account and astounding history of these chairs and the table linked below.
One original seat dated 1889.
A.H. Andrews Manufacturing 1889.
Each chair has 35 pieces to take off, remove a hundred plus years of paint and reinstall. The bolts would not budge. It was suggested they be cut off and replaced with new carriage bolts. But I wanted to keep as much that was original as possible. We had to use a penetrating oil to loosen the decades of rust on the bolts. penetrating oil.
The iron table came from Greece. I sanded new wood smooth and using a crackle medium applied a first coat. When dry, I painted them with an off white latex paint.
I am and will never be a perfectionist.

Perfect circles are tough. So it is what it is. I taped off around the circumference of the circles edge. Drawing a circle with a small tack centered in the table as a guide. I tie a string on the tack and a pencil on the end of the length of the string. Pulling the string tight I am able to make a circular drawing on the tape. I then use a razor knife and cut the tape on the line. Removing the outside of the tape gives me a stencil for a border.
The type font is called Abbott Old Style. I printed this out in two pieces. I used a graphite pencil to color the back of the lettering and then transferred it to my surface by hand drawing over the letters.
The ice cream cone is a hand-cut stencil.

The red borders are several coats of different reds with crackle medium in between coats of paint. This makes the surface look like old leather.

After the letters and paint are dry, I antique the entire top of the table and chair seats with a chocolate glaze and then gently rub off. Leaving just a hint of old around the edges.

I finish with several coats of clear marine varnish.
This client is super fun and has great taste to boot. She loves a good story and now she has another piece to fit into the story.
Getting comfortable at their new home. My clients ancestors are looking down and smiling with the memories of the old confectionary. This was a great way to honor this distant family who worked so hard to bring sweets to the west.

Thanks for visiting. sk
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3 of 40 comments
  • Angel S Angel S on Jul 24, 2014
    You did an awesome job! I love everything about it. Just wish it was sitting at my house. :)
  • Cathie Cathie on Mar 14, 2020

    Amazing! I was just thinking of refinishing the two chairs I have. No idea they are so old. Going to pair them with a 1930-40 kitchen table that has built in hidden extensions. Got all 3 for $75, twenty five years ago. What a bargain.

    Thanks for showing what can be done to give old items new life.