Isokon Furniture Company

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1187 PP/18
  • Dates of Creation
      1932-1989
  • Language of Material
      English.
  • Physical Description
      10 files containing 129 sub-files; 8 boxes

Scope and Content

Contains company reports, financial papers and minutes; patents, designs and licensing agreements; correspondence concerning furniture design, production and marketing; advertising leaflets, including original art work, some designed by László Moholy-Nagy, press-cuttings, slides and photographs of the furniture.

Post World War II material deals with keeping the company going, continued production of the Long chair and two exhibitions of Isokon furniture in the 1970s.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Isokon Furniture Company was established in 1935, while Jack Pritchard was still employed by Venesta Ltd. Isokon had begun to produce furniture in 1933, the first products being plywood book boxes, modular shelf units designed by Wells Coates and manufactured by Venesta. In 1936 Jack Pritchard left Venesta to run the Isokon companies full-time. The book units and their variants had had some success, and Isokon had also begun to market the products of other companies, such as Finmar and PEL. With the arrival of first Walter Gropius and then Marcel Breuer the company expanded its own range of products, particularly tables and chairs, maintaining the emphasis on the use of plywood. Progress was modest until Breuer's Long chair went into production. However, before the market could be fully developed war broke out, cutting Isokon off from its suppliers of raw materials and its principal manufacturer.

After the war Jack Pritchard made several attempts to revive the company and eventually production of the Long chair resumed, together with revised versions of the Penguin Donkey book-case and the Bottleship, both re-designed by Ernest Race.

Arrangement

  • PP/18/1 Foundation, minutes and annual reports 1935-1968
  • PP/18/2 Financial Papers 1933-1986
  • PP/18/3 Patents, designs and licensing agreements 1931-1975
  • PP/18/4 Advertising and publicity 1930-1980
  • PP/18/5 Marketing 1930-1989
  • PP/18/6 Sales 1933-1947
  • PP/18/7 Design 1934-1972
  • PP/18/8 Manufacturers and suppliers 1932-1980
  • PP/18/9 Other business correspondence 1937-1981
  • PP/18/10 Miscellaneous 1938-1975

Subjects