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1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 22 (xxii)

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition
1952 Theatre Catalog
1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 22
Page 22

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 22

codes is 14, and seven between a wall and aisle. This number varies, howeVer, and some codes allow only 10 seats between aisles. Some regulations specify the maximum number of seats necessary to pass to reach an aisle, and in one case where this number was set at six, the interpretation was that only 13 seats in the center bank and six in the side banks were permissible.

Before establishing a seat plan, the designer should consult the seat manufacturer's representative for the details of seating provisions in the local code, as he will be most familiar with them.

Location of the aisles is governed by code, as noted, but it may be of advantage in some cases to use fewer seats in the center bank and more in the side banks, using side aisles along the outside Walls. The main considerations in establishing a seating plan are the total clear width of the auditorium, the size of the chairs to be used, and the required Width of the aisles.

Width of the aisles is determined in most codes by a minimum clearance at the front row with an established increase in width for each foot of length of the aisle. Aisle width will be measured at right angles to the aisle and between the seat arms. It will be found that the angle of the seat arm with the aisle line will vary, as each seat row is set to a' different radius. The angle will be greatest at the first row, and will diminish toward the back. On one side of the aisle the clearance line will be determined by the location of the front point of the seat arms, while the line on the opposite side of the aisle will be set by the location of the rear point of the seat arms.

When a cross aisle is involved in the seating plan, it will be especially preferable to have no variation in aisle width, and most codes will permit a clear width for the entire length of the aisle, that length being an average of minimum and maximum requirements. When the distance between the first and last rows exceed a certain established figure, cross aisles will be required by code, in most cases. Also, it may be required to extend cross aisles through all banks of Seats, although in other instances cross aisles may be required through the two side banks, but not through the center bank. All cross aisles should lead directly to emergency exits.

After the cinder fill of a new concrete floor is compacted and leveled, and the aisles are laid out, carpet strips and grounds are installed. Grounds will also provide screeds for both the floor and the aisle and protect the edge of the carpet depression until the concrete has cured. After the aisle screeds are located and installed, screeds should be installed between aisles to the exact curve 3'0f the seat rows and at the elevations determined for the floor. The screeds are but temporary, and will be removed after the adjoining section of the floor is cured.

'A hardener mixed into the floor topping will prevent dusting of the concrete. If desired, the hardener may be tinted.

The concrete should be covered with a layer of kraft paper or a layer of sand after it has set, and kept damp for at


least a week to insure sufficient curing. It is a good idea to leave the covering on the floor until plastering and all heavy work is completed .to prevent chipping and discoloration.

Aisles should be depressed fivee eighths of an inch for carpet strips and tooled edges for carpet and carpet lining. Depressions for carpet save wear on carpet edges, and allow for a more secure fastening of the floor covering. Carpet depressions should be at least five inches less in width than the width of the clear aisle. Should this width at the widest part of the aisle be only two or three inches more than a multiple of 27 inches, which is the width of a three-quarter carpet, then the width of the depression must be reduced to save cutting and sewing in carpet installation, and carpet yardage.

A five-inch differential will allow for certain errors in the construction and


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FIG. lS-When preparing orchestra floor the under till is leveled and Compucied and then the aisles are located and the carpet sirips and grounds installed. When grounds are used. providing screeds. they will protect the edge of the carpet depression until concrete is cured.

installation of seats and in the seating layout, and will rule out the necessity of drilling holes for the seat standards too close to the carpet depression. When holes are drilled too close to the depression, seat standards project over the carpet and floors will chip and crack readily.

If possible, standee space behind the last row of seats should have been included in the seating plan, even though the loss of some seats may result. A standee area is especially desirable at theatres where the heaviest attendance occurs on weekends, with more patrons visiting the theatre than can be seated immediately. The space should be separated from the last row by an attractive, substantial standee rail.

New Seating

Installation of new seating will be called for in most renovation projects, and will often provide an opportunity to improve the existing seating arrange ment. If the present seat spacing is less than 32 inches from back to back, and no change is contemplated, the backs of the new seats should be of the type. which will take up as little space as possible, and still provide a satisfactory degree of comfort.

Where existing conditions do not permit wider spacing, the use of the retractable type of chair should be considercd. These are in the deluxe class, and are available only with upholstered backs.


With the thinnest back available the five-sixteenths of an inch plywood back, the thickness of seat backs .increases through a variety of types up to a full floating spring back, the thickest.

Standard for theatre seating are the following types of backs:

5/16" Plywood, plain

5/16" Plywood, cabinet roll top

7/16" Plywood

3A" Plywood 1/2" Inserted panel, wood margin 1%." Inserted panel, wood margin Cabinet frame Padded Metalclad padded Full upholstered Metalclad spring Padded spring Box spring Full floating spring

While this list covers just about all of the types of backs which are available, not all are supplied by every manufacturer. For spacing of less than 32 inches, the padded back is recommended, as it is ruggedly constructed and is considered by many to be the most comfortable, even more 'so than the various types embodying spring upholstered backs. In testing a seat for comfort, it should be noted that merely sitting in one chair for a few minutes is'not suL ficient; it takes two or three hours of continuous sitting to determine how comfortable 3 seat is.

Just as backs are supplied in a variety of types, theatre seats are available in several types of construction. The most commonly used, in order of cost, are:

5/16" Plywood

7/16" Plywood

3/1" Plywood

Padded (squab) Box spring Semiespring edge Spring edge DeluXe spring edge

These'various types of seats can be furnished in combination with any one of the back types listed, together with different types of upholstery fabrics. While a considerable variation in the price of seats can result from various combinations of seats, backs and fabrics, the make-up of the various components should be investigated before deciding from price alone that one seat combination may be the best buy. In this regard, it is unreasonable to use 3 plywood back in combination with :1 springedge seat, for instance, and similar combinations may be just as unsatisfactory. The manufacturers representative will supply some helpful advice in the wise Selection of seat components.

Other parts which make up the conventional theatre chair are the end standards, arm rests, and intermediate standards. Standards are generally designed the same for all types of each manufacturer's seats. Arm rests range in type from plain wooden rests, the least expensive, to upholstered with plain or latex padding, the most expene sive and the most luxurious.

Aisle light fixtures come with some makes of chairs without additional cost,

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 22