Antique Adjustable Swivel Oak Desk Chair with Floating Back Rest c.1926

$495 $895


An antique solid Oak desk chair with curved legs, cast iron mechanism, original label and new brass replica casters. The floating back rest tilts and the chair swivels, tilts back and the height is adjustable. This chair has retained its original finish and has minor structural damage.

  • CREATOR Murphy Chair Company, Owensboro, Ky.
  • CONDITION Good. Wear consistent with age and use. Casters have been replaced.
  • DIMENSIONS H 30-33.5 in. W 24 in. D 25 in. Seat Height: 17-20.5 in. (varies)


The Murphy company was formed by Canadian businessman Michael Murphy in 1872, when he purchased the C. H. Dunks company of Detroit company. C.H. Dunks had originally been a mattress manufacturer, but Murphy converted the firm over to upholstered furniture production. The company had modest beginnings, with only five employees, but rapidly expanded. Products made by Murphy were marked with decal labels that used the original Detroit address until 1919.

After the company moved its operation to Owensboro, Ky., a new mark was adopted using the new address. Expansion of the company was rapid during this next phase of the firm’s production, and the workforce eventually climbed to well above 1,000. By 1935, it has been estimated that Murphy carried a line of more than 123 types of chairs in all styles and could rightly boast it was one of the world’s largest producer of chairs. Much of the stock was produced for the commercial and institutional markets that expanded greatly during World War One, as wartime demand for products of all kinds caused a boom across many war-related industries. Murphy also produced lines of chairs in the Colonial Revival style based on early American furniture. Most of the company’s production run was made using local native hardwoods, such as, oak, maple and pecan, with oak being used for the majority of office furniture. The company remained in production until 1954, with some estimates having Murphy’s total production of chairs passing 10 million by 1937.

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