19th-Century Flatpack Furniture That Doesn't Look Flatpack

Before there was space-saving furniture for small apartments, and before Ikea had perfected flatpacking, there was campaign furniture. This was furniture used by military officers on campaigns, and so everything had to break down, if not quite flat, then as close as possible.

Ross and Co. of Dublin was a famous 19th-century furniture company whose main client was the then-expanding British Empire. As Christopher Clarke Antiques explains:

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“Ross stand out from the many other campaign furniture makers of the period for a number of reasons but perhaps the most important is their originality in design. [Competitors] were all making fairly similar campaign pieces [but] most items manufactured by Ross differed greatly to that by other makers.

“Much of Ross’s work can be considered typical of the William IV and Victorian periods in its use of the fashionable design features of the day…much of it is not obviously made for campaign until close inspection.”

This occasional table, and these chairs, certainly don’t look as if they’re designed to break down flat. But they are.

This breakdown desk was sized to carry a comfortable (iron!) folding chair inside of it. Incredibly, the chair was designed with an adjustable back that had three different incline settings.

This desk chair is perhaps the most surprising of the bunch.

Here’s a time lapse of how it breaks down:

You can see more Ross and Co. pieces on the Christopher Clarke Antiques website.

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Source: core77

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