Sears Roebuck, Spring/Summer 1958
This was what the well-dressed house was wearing in 1958. Affordable, practical, up-to-the minute tubular furniture was having a moment, assisted by our good mid-century friend, plastic.
To begin with: the dinette sets. Is there anything more iconic that a 1950s dinette set in aqua or red starburst formica or fake woodgrain laminate, with tubular steel legs? No, there isn’t. Which is why vintage versions show up in antique stores today sporting higher price tags than when they were new.
Then there are studio lounges and couches. With their extreme minimalist lines and thin turned brass legs, they could almost fit into an Ikea store today. However, they mostly seem to feature plastic cushions, which despite copywriter’s promise of “luxuriously-soft latex cushions” seems less than comfy. On the other hand, does your current couch “wipe clean with a damp cloth?” One point back to the copywriter. Perfect for a guest sleepover in the rumpus room.
Finally, that patio furniture. I have personal experience that stuff, and let’s just say the memories are strong. The 10-year-old in me still vividly recalls what that webbing and that prone-to-pinch tubular aluminum frame felt like. Meanwhile, the dizzy floral prints are amazing in a way my grandmother might have loved.
It all screams contemporary casual modern living, a style that could hardly be further from the furniture of fifty years before.
“Harmony House” was one of many brands from Sears like Kenmore and DieHard. Originally a set of synchronized colors for colors, paints, and drapes, it eventually encompassed nearly anything you could put in your house from plates to appliances. There were 18 mix-and-match colors, which came in three shades each.