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Model A Chair
Iconic Designs

Model A Chair

About the Design

The brainchild of French metalworker Xavier Pauchard (1880–1948), the Tolix Model A chair revolutionized café spaces and kitchens around the world. And it began with a process for protecting sheet metal.


As a young roofer in rural France in 1907, Pauchard devised a way to prevent sheet metal from rusting. He discovered that he could coat a sheet of steel or iron with a durable protective layer by immersing it in molten zinc. This process, called galvanization, played a significant role in the creation of Pauchard’s much-admired chair — as well as in his career as an innovative furniture maker — in the decades that followed. 


Pauchard learned the nuances of working with zinc from his father and grandfather, who were both roofers in France’s Le Morvan region, where he grew up surrounded by woodlands, lakes and traditional farms. He joined the family business but left in 1917 to pursue furniture production.


Pauchard opened a small factory on the outskirts of Autun, in Burgundy, where he began manufacturing assorted metal furnishings for the home: stools, tables and chairs. Initially, Pauchard made each piece by hand, hammering and shaping the metal before dipping it in molten zinc to galvanize it. He eventually trademarked the name Tolix.


The first Model A chair was designed in the mid-1920s and featured Pauchard’s cleverly (and effectively) placed signature: a pair of crossed bars — forming an X for the maker’s first initial — placed beneath the seat to support it.


Pauchard created his high-backed galvanized-steel chair with the outdoors in mind: The first version featured holes in the seat to allow rainwater to drain through. It was lightweight and designed to be easily stacked, for restaurant use.


Things didn’t go smoothly at first. The chairs that Tolix sold to cafés all over Paris in the company’s first five years didn’t stack properly. Tolix recalled them, and the company nearly closed as a result. Pauchard spent the next few years tweaking and adjusting his design, eventually coming up with a slimmer version in 1934 known as the Marais A chair, which Tolix guaranteed could be stacked 25 seats high. The design has not changed since. And still to this day, it takes 100 manual operations to make a single chair.


The Model A chair moved from cafés to hospitals and public parks, even becoming a fixture on the decks of transatlantic luxury liners, including the famed French S.S. Normandie, in the 1930s.


Tolix remained in the Pauchard family until 2004, when it was bought by its financial director, Chantal Andriot. Its pieces continue to be made in Autun.


Xavier Pauchard A Chair

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Set of 4 French Tolix Chairs
By Tolix, Xavier Pauchard
Located in Nordhavn, DK
A set of 4 French Tolix chairs. Design by Xavier Pauchard, 1934. Original color, good natural patina. This model is relatively rare. France, circa 1930-1950.
Category

20th Century French Industrial Chairs

Materials

Iron

A-Chair Perforated Outdoor in White by Xavier Pauchard & Tolix, US
By Tolix, Xavier Pauchard
Located in Autun, FR
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, the A-chair met with worldwide success from the beginning. It has been imitated but never equaled! Before becoming part of the collections at the ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Modern Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

A-Chair Perforated Outdoor in Graphite by Xavier Pauchard & Tolix, US
By Tolix, Xavier Pauchard
Located in Autun, FR
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, the A-chair met with worldwide success from the beginning. It has been imitated but never equaled! Before becoming part of the collections at the ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Modern Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

A-Chair Indoor in Chilli Pepper by Xavier Pauchard & Tolix, US
By Tolix, Xavier Pauchard
Located in Autun, FR
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, the A-chair met with worldwide success from the beginning. It has been imitated but never equaled! Before becoming part of the collections at the ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Modern Chairs

Materials

Steel

A-Chair Perforated Outdoor - in Chilli Pepper by Xavier Pauchard and Tolix, US
By Tolix, Xavier Pauchard
Located in Autun, FR
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, the A-chair met with worldwide success from the beginning. It has been imitated but never equaled! Before becoming part of the collections at the ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Modern Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

A-Chair Indoor in White by Xavier Pauchard and Tolix, US
By Tolix, Xavier Pauchard
Located in Autun, FR
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, the A-chair met with worldwide success from the beginning. It has been imitated but never equaled! Before becoming part of the collections at the ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Modern Chairs

Materials

Steel

A-Chair Indoor in Black by Xavier Pauchard & Tolix, US
By Tolix, Xavier Pauchard
Located in Autun, FR
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, the A-chair met with worldwide success from the beginning. It has been imitated but never equaled! Before becoming part of the collections at the ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Modern Chairs

Materials

Steel

A-Chair in Essential Colors by Xavier Pauchard & Tolix
By Tolix, Xavier Pauchard
Located in Autun, FR
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, the A Chair met with worldwide success from the beginning. It has been imitated but never equaled! Before becoming part of the collections at the ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Steel

A-Chair Perforated in Pop Colors by Xavier Pauchard & Tolix
By Tolix, Xavier Pauchard
Located in Autun, FR
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, the A Chair met with worldwide success from the beginning. It has been imitated but never equaled! Before becoming part of the collections at the ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Steel

A-Chair Perforated in Essential Colors by Xavier Pauchard & Tolix
By Tolix, Xavier Pauchard
Located in Autun, FR
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, the A Chair met with worldwide success from the beginning. It has been imitated but never equaled! Before becoming part of the collections at the ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Steel

A-Chair in Pop Colors by Xavier Pauchard & Tolix
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Autun, FR
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, the A Chair met with worldwide success from the beginning. It has been imitated but never equalled! Before becoming part of the collections at the...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Steel

Iconic Tolix Chair in Sunny Yellow 'Without Arms'
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Copenhagen K, DK
The classic Tolix chair from France, is an icon for industrial design aesthetics. This time in fabulous sunshine yellow with super patina. The chair has been designed by Xavier Pouch...
Category

Vintage 1950s Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs

Materials

Metal

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