> > > >

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 298 (276)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 298
Page 298

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 298

Selecting" Upholstery Fabrics for Chairs

Criteria Used in Choosing Materials and Tests Performed To Determine Fulfillment Are Studied

Upon the shoulders of the theatre chair manufacturer falls the responsibility of endeavoring to provide a selection of the best materials available for certain applications. Theatre chair buyers carry the responsibility of making a wise choice from that selectionea choice that fits the needs of a particular theatre and its circumstances.

The theatre chair manufacturer trys to fulfill his responsibilities through careful sampling, analyzing, testing, checking, and rigid inspection. There are thousands of kinds of constructions, Weaves, patterns, and coatings from which the manufacturer must select the proper goods. An infinite variety of fabrics are suitable for household use but are not at all satisfactory for public seating.


In View of his solemn 'duty to provide the buyer with the best possible selection of fabrics from which to choose those most suited to the needs of a particular theatre, the chair manufacturer must carefully evaluate the wearing potentialities of the materials which he intends to oiTer for use on his chairs. Certain yardsticks, listed below, must guide him in the choice' of any pile fabric for this purpose:

1. Will it resist clothing abrasion? 2. Is the fabric construction strong enough to withstand the stress and strain encountered in assembly to the cushion, and in usage? Is it crock-proof? Do the colors resist perspiration transfer? 5. What is its ability to flex and fold? Does it have good pile anchorage during this kind of treatment? Is it comfortable to sit on? Will it resist the snagging effects of hooks and buckles?



IS IT STRONG enough to stand stress and strain?


Research Department, American Seating Co. (Sketches by Don Durerman}

8. Can it be cleaned? 9. Does it have proper body and weight to tailor well?

10. Does it have eye appeal?

11. Is there suiiicient mat resistance

to maintain a neat appearance?

12. Is the quality and cost within a

practical limit?

The answers to the above questions can be obtained only through testing and experience, for they alone give a true picture of the life, serviceability, and wearability of fabrics. The points raised serve as valuable guideposts in the selection of fabrics which yield the maximumiin performance wherever they are installed.

During many years, the American Seating Co., for example, has obtained comparative ratings of various types of fabrics through mechanical tests which simulate in accelerated and intensified form the many abuses to which fabrics are exposed during their periods of service.

Abrasion Resistance

Abrasion resistance is measured with the American Seating Co. edgewear testing machine. A 2%" x 6" block is covered with a piece of sateen, twill side out.

BRIEF: Believe it or not . . . 135 miles of winding truckline . . . on a typical U. S. highway . . . could be covered with the upholstery material processed at American Seating Co. during 1950 . . . Pile fabrics covered 107 miles of this hypothetical distance . . . while imitation leathers accounted for 28 of them . . some quantity of goods!

These yards and yards of seat coverings represent a great deal of responsibility as well . . . on the part of the theatre chair manufacturer in offering a wide range of the finest materials available to fit a variety of budgets . . . and on the part of the buyer in choosing fabrics that meet his requirements to best advantage . . . from the points of view of decorative effect, comfort, service, etc.

Outlined in the following article are the standards . . . which both pile fabrics and imitation. leathers should meet for theatre use . . . and the tests which are applied to determine whether or not materials do measure up to par . . . Since playhouse seats must stand up to terrific abuse . . . the helpful advice given on the selection of fabrics that can take a beating . . . and come through ready for more years of faithful service . . . is well worth the attention of every theatreman.


This is rubbed back and forth through a. 5" stroke across the upholstery specimen, which is wrapped around the face of a round metal bar 34" in diameter. After 40,000 cycles, the resistance of the fabric is judged according to standards that have been correlated to actual service use.

Stretch and Strength Values

These values are important in gauging a materials ability to take the stretching and tightening necessary in neat tailoring, and the additional stretching that takes place in use on the chair. The laboratory obtains the stretch and strength values by a tensile-testing machine. This machine records, on a Tensilegram, the inches of stretch and pounds of stress that a given fabric shows before it fails.

Crock Testing

This is a simple test that involves rubbing a white, dry cloth over the face of a piece of upholstery fabric. Unless fabrics are thoroughly washed and rinsed in the finishing process of manufacture, minute particles of dye remain lodged on the fibres to cause possible discoloration on the clothing of chair occupants. These are usually insoluable particles that can be washed out of the soiled clothing, and discoloration of this kind is seldom permanent.

Perspiration Fastness

Perspiration fastness is one of the most important requirements of publicseating upholstery fabric. Permanent damage can be done to light-colored clothing if the dyes in upholstery fabrics are adected by perspiration and made fugitive. Perspiration-moist clothing quite often comes in contact with upholstery fabric, and the danger of color transfer is a constant threat, if the upholstery fabric does not meet the

IS IT COLOR-FAST against sweat. cleaning, etc.?
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 298