Xavier Pauchard:France (1880-1948)

Born in Burgundy (France) in 1880, Xavier Pauchard is the son and grandson of a zinc roofer. He founded a factory producing household items that integrated a major innovation in France: the use of hot dip galvanizing. This technique protects iron items from oxidation by dipping them in a bath of molten zinc at 450°C. Passionate about metal, he took years to perfect his mastery of iron then steel, until he could make it into any shape he desired. A visionary, he designed pieces of standard furniture to be practical, modular and marketable. In 1925, he created the iconic Chair A, followed by other pieces such as Chair T37, the KUB table and many more. In 1927, he registered a trademark for his metal furniture company and TOLIX was born. His sons followed him into the business and designed other pieces such as Table 55 and Armchair A56.

In 1907, Pauchard discovered that he could protect sheet metal from rusting by dipping it in molten zinc, or galvanising it. Shortly after the First World War, he found himself in charge of a flourishing manufacturer of galvanised sheet-metal domestic items. In 1927 that he registered the trademark Tolix, when he changed production to chairs, armchairs, stools and metal furniture.

That classic Model A chair was designed in 1934. They were immediately popular, not just in cafés but also in factories, offices and hospitals. By the end of the 1950s, the factory (now managed by son Jean) had about 80 workers and produced some 60,000 units annually. The company remained in the family until 2004. Now, the chair is part of the collections of the MoMA in New York, the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Vitra design collection in Weil am Rhein in Germany.