> > > >

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 206 (170)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 206
Page 206

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 206

THIS DELUXE MODEL Heywood-Wakefield seat features a spring base for "rocking chair" action.

to the maximum comfort of John Q. Public, so that the theatre he reseated will draw the customers in not only with good product on the screen, but aided and assisted by comfortable seating too.

If you have an older theatre and business could stand a shot in the arm think seriously about featuring new comfort in your theatre, along with the better product, and newly developed projection techniques.

Many progressive theatres have already found that this very important improvement pays extra dividends at the box office. They have also found that the old seats already charged off, can be sold profitably in the local territory.

If you as a theatreman believe that you are a responsible business man, the same as other merchants of your community, then it is time to follow their trend and periodically change and improve your business property to reinterest the public in your theatre.


The day of the changed over store or neighborhood shotgun theatre is past, and the public expects the same modern merchandising that he contacts in other phases of living. He expects more comfort and convenience, and that is why existing seating should be renovated or replaced.

It is generally accepted by seating men and theatre architects that the seating can no longer be jammed in trying for maximum capacities.

Sea'l Spacing

Minimum row to row spacing for modern seating is generally agreed upon as 32 inches, with the trend going to 34 inches row to row, where possible. The wider row to row spacing is partice ularly advantageous in the rear portion of the theatre where the floor slope is the greatest. Many theatres uSe 34 inches row to row in the back portion of the house where the floor slope is the greatest; 33 inches in the middle portion as the slope decreases; and 32 inches row to row in the front or level area where children generally sit.

If spring back luxury type chairs are to be used, it is wise to allow an additional 2 inches per row to compensate for extra thickness of the spring back. Loge type seats may require up to 48 inches from row to row, to provide full comfort.


Seat widths are now generally available in 19, 20, 21, and 22 inch stock widths. It is possible, however, to get 18 inch seats on special order and 23, 24, 25, or 30 inch on special order. Twenty inch width seats are considered minimum width today with the use of 19 inch seats limited to abutting on aisles for aisle alignment purposes. The use of 21 inch and 22 inch seats is increasing, particularly with staggered type seating.

Theatre floor slopes are generally established by the architect to provide what is known as second row clearance. In other words, a straight line from eye level to the focal point of the screen will adequately clear the top of the heads of occupants in the second row ahead.

THE SAME CHAIR as seen on the left. but wilh the spring filled headxoll. for added comfort.

The clearance is generally calculated at five inches today.

This second row clearance still leaves the problem of seeing around the heads of the occupants in the next row ahead.

In the side sections of the theatre the angle of sight is almost automatically offset enough to look between the heads of the next row ahead. The three or four seats on either side of the center line of the theatre in the center bank of seats are, the problem. For many years seats were aligned from front to rear likes rows of corn. However, the customer had to shift from side to side in his seat depending on how the person in front of him was sitting.

Staggered Seating

In the late twenties, various methods of staggering center banks of seating started to develop. It was then that the seat and a half, or ttlove seat" developed for use in every other row. Use of this type of seat provided a clear sightline

between the heads of the row ahead with the loss of one seat every other row,. This loss was offset in many cases by two teen-agers occupying the large seats, whence came the tag, ttlove seat." In many locations this close physical proximity brought about unfavorable comment from older patrons, and the use of love seats eased off.

In the meantime, other methods of stagger developed. One was to indent the aisles a half seat or less than half a seat with wider chair widths. This meant a loss of one chair every other row. Many local codes required a straight aisle line so a plan using varied seat sizes and reversing the sizes of every other row, came into the limelight. This method uses 19 inch chairs at one end of the row, with 20 inch and 21 inch chairs filling out the balance of the row and reversing the sequence in the next row ahead.

Another method in general uSe today is dropping one seat every other row and using wider seats to come out flush at the aisles. For example, one row would have 11 - 20 inch chairs total 220 inches, plus aisle overhang; the next row 10-22 inch chairs, total 220 inches plus aisle overhang.

A stagger improvement developed by Ben Schalanger, noted theatre architect, was to indent the aisle seats, but use an extra center standards with a wide chair arm to come out to the aisle standard located in proper aisle alignment. He also developed the idea of providing true staggering in side sections through the use of extra center standards coupled with varying chair widths.

Regardless of the method of staggering used, it is generally agreed that staggering the center bank of seats, coupled with the availability of wider seats for stout people, give the manager something extra to sell to his customers, and they appreciate it because it is for their greater comfort and enjoyment of the picture.

The theatreman is fighting a tough competitor in the comfort of the living room chair with TV available. Seating companies have recognized this and as a result present day seats are designed

ENCORE IS THE standard HvW theatre chair and has the coil spring seal, with a padded back.

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 206