Style From Steel – The History Of Tolix

Tolix stools and chairs have been a main stay in the café industry since the 1930’s where they first came to prominence in the café’s and bistro’s of Paris. Nowadays they symbolise the very best in both simple form and functionality and are an icon in industrial aesthetics. In fact the so called ‘Model A’ chair has entered design folk-law and is exhibited at such highly esteemed institutions as the Vitra Design Museum and the world famous Pompidou Centre in Paris. As such they’re as popular today as they were back then. In fact you’ve only got to Google the words ‘Tolix stools’ and it returns over 2.8 million search results. This got me thinking, how did the Tolix stool first come about?

In the beginning

In the early years just after the First World War, Xavier Pauchard ran a small factory located just outside of Autun in Burgundy making galvanised sheet-metal products for house-hold use. As a serial entrepreneur and a visionary he saw the potential that the galvanisation process had. It’s a process that had already been successfully used for over 100 years whereby zinc was bonded with steel to make an anti-corrosive, rust-proof metal. After several years of experimenting with various types of galvanised furniture Pauchard realised that the demand for his furniture was growing and as such changed his business to manufacture purely chairs, stools and other metal furnishings. In 1927 Pauchard registered the name Tolix. Very soon the models Pauchard’s factory produced were robust, stackable and of course rust-proof and they were snapped up by factories, hospitals and offices.

The ‘Model A’ Chair

In 1934 he produced probably his greatest achievement in the Model A chair. Simple in design it was light, robust and relatively inexpensive to manufacture and as such it was ideal for the bustling cafés and bistro’s that littered Paris of the day. In 1935 a similar Tolix (Model A inspired) stool followed and it was at this point his company really took off.

The 1950’s

By the 1950’s the company were at their peak and Jean Pauchard (Xavier’s son) and his now 80 strong work-force were producing over 60,000 galvanised chairs and stools every year. The products were being exported all over the world. For the next sixty years the family continued to manufacture chairs and stools, most of which was exported to the USA until in 2004 the company changed hands.

The present day

Now under the control of Chantal Andriot Tolix still produces the same stools and chairs to the same specifications and with the rise of the industrial look, they remain very much in demand. Now they can be purchased in a wide variety of colours and grace some of the finest establishments in the world.

If you’re a lover of the raw industrial look that Tolix stools and chairs can bring but can’t quite justify the real thing then here at Cafe Solutions, we have some excellent replica versions for you to choose from. Check out our website at or contact us on (07) 3205 1616 for further details.

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