Krueger, King of Laundromat Seating

Stephen Coles

Laundromat Seating

Victoria Smith (AKA SFGirlByBay, the keen-eyed blogger and photographer who reveals all her Bay Area home design secrets in today’s San Francisco Chronicle) noticed that “laundromats always have the coolest chairs”.

three seater.

three seater.”, recently submitted to our photo group by sfgirlbybay

While waiting for your wash, chances are good that you’re sitting in something colorful and tandem in the style of the Eames fiberglass and plastic side chairs. But they aren’t authentic originals, so where did these ubiquitous little charmers come from? Many were made by Krueger Metal Products, who was, by 1967, the world’s largest manufacturer of folding chairs and tables. The company is now the employee-owned (bless their hearts) KI and they’re still making something very similar in single stacking and tablet(!) varieties. Unfortunately, the closest thing in their tandem seating lines is this disappointment. Wake up, KI! Mid-century modern is in again!

Ok, back to the laundry: these chairs populate so many wash houses it’s almost as if there was a laundromat renovation fad in the ’60s and ’70s — each establishment updating their seating in an effort to keep up with the modern look of the competition. The chairs’ omnipresence today could be explained by their durability and the expense of replacing them with something more “current”. Fortunately for the business owners, there is no need to replace. These things are obviously adored by washingmachineless apartment dwellers everywhere.

Rice Lake, Wisconsin, by MischievousRagDoll

35th Ave and Balboa St, San Francisco, by David Gallagher

Upper Grand Lagoon, Florida, by getthebubbles

Chinatown, San Francisco, by David Gallagher

Park Slope, Brooklyn, by shooting brooklyn

by em hunt

Hyde and Pacific St, San Francisco, by Felicity O’Meara

Larkin and Pacific St, San Francisco, by Felicity O’Meara

Tybee Island, Georgia, by TW Collins

Atlanta by chaosatlanta

Damen Ave, Chicago, by Helene Smith

Hyde and Clay St, San Francisco, by David Gallagher


California St, San Francisco, by me

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  1. 03.08.09 victoria

    hey!! thanks for the shout out! :)

  2. 03.08.09 Katherine

    So true! I often think about this and consider doing a photo shoot of the laundromats around my house. Thanks for the link to the Flickr group and all the fantastic photos!

  3. 03.09.09 Nat

    I found a two-seater on large trash day and promptly carried it home, its been adorning my living room ever since. Great post.

  4. 03.09.09 kb

    Bless their hearts indeed!
    Great photos!

  5. 03.09.09 Raquel Raney

    so random but i totally had this observation last night. . i was running through my random phoenix neighborhood, took a new route and voila laundromat with amazing chairs. i stop and stare for a bit.

  6. 03.09.09 Stephen Coles (Stewf)

    Right on. Take a picture next time and we’ll include it!

  7. 03.10.09 Brandon

    I own two fiberglass Kruger chairs that I believe came out of a beauty shop and I love them. I had also noticed their use in many Laundromats around town. Kruger is missing a golden opportunity they should remake some of their classic pieces at affordable prices they could make a killing!

  8. 03.10.09 David Gallagher

    thanks for noticing my photos, I appreciate it

  9. 03.13.09 Emily

    Lovely post! And kudos to all the photographers; there are some real beauties here.

  10. 11.11.09 — Pete Mazin

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve hit the brakes and doubled back, thinking I spotted a set of Eames tandem seating. In classic getting-ahead-of-myself, I’d rehearse possible pitches to the owner before getting close enough to discover that they’re not Eames/Herman Miller. Sounds like I’m not alone, and that this post resonated with a lot of people with mid-century on their minds.

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