Can you tell which Wish is which?
by Barbara Schwab·
The Wishbone chair by Hans Wegner is a hot item these days. It was inspired by historic Chinese chairs. Debuting in 1949, it was the first of Wegner's chairs for Carl Hansen & Son. If I scroll through the online photos on dining interiors I am certain to see a set of these iconic chairs around the table.
Wishbone chairs by Hans Wegner around the table. Source: hivemodern.com
OK I love this chair but what are my options on what to buy
- The low cost knockoff,
- licensed newly manufactured, or
- vintage originals from the 1950's.
The first consideration is your budget. I was looking at the knockoffs but they can’t call them Wishbone chairs, so the ones I found at Dot &Bo are called the Woven Shaker Chair. Not seeing them side by side with the other options It’s hard to determine the quality differences, I imagine it’s significant, but they will look good for the short term. They are made of beech and can be ordered in colors and a couple of wood stains. $184.99 on sale to $356. not on sale. When George and I were young and starting out we had some knockoff Breuer chairs we used and enjoyed them until they fell apart about 10 years later. It worked for us.
The second option is to purchase new wishbone chairs that are made under license from the original manufacturer Carl Hansen & Son Collection. These are high quality and made to the original specifications and quality for the chair. One of the only differences from the original is that they are no longer made in teak. They are available in oak, walnut and cherry in various finishes and colors. Two of the places I have found these are Hive Modern and the Danish Design Store. The prices range from painted for $599 and oak at $999 to $1,425 for walnut and cherry. These are made to last and based on the condition of the vintage chairs today they will stand the test of time.
The third option is finding vintage chairs. Based on my research the cost of the vintage seating is comparable to the new manufactured chairs. One big difference is that you can find them in teak. One chair is obviously easier to find than matching sets. We have one that is on our MidMod site in teak for $499 and are actively seeking more. The factors used in the determination of the price are condition, age of manufacture, wood used, and the number of chairs in the set. You can see the variations in price if you search ”wishbone chairs for sale” on Google. You could also get lucky and find a bargain at an estate sale or auction, but don’t go counting on that.
So you will need to decide what is the right choice in acquiring the Wishbone chairs for your interior project. We are of course partial to vintage.
An example of the Hans Wegner wishbone chairs used in a living room setting. Source: hivemodern.com
Answer: Photo header-from left to right, knockoff, licensed newly manufactured, vintage original.