Posted April 09, 2019 15:17:20I’ve spent the last two years trying to make my way through the many, many leather counterstools in my life, but as I was browsing through the collection I spotted something special.
As a young woman, my father owned a small leather counter and I’ve always had a fondness for the design.
I didn to know that my grandfather owned one and I knew it was something special too, so I was very pleased to see it on display in the back of his house.
As I sat there in the dark with the light dimmed, my curiosity piqued and I began to research how this unique piece of leather might have survived so long.
I decided to go out and see it for myself.
I took the plunge and was thrilled to find that it’s been in the same home for over a hundred years.
In the past year, I’ve discovered that my father is one of the last surviving owners of the old counter.
I asked my dad how he got it and he said he got rid of it when he moved to Sydney and couldn’t afford to keep it.
It’s a story of survival for the man who had lived and worked in Australia for nearly 150 years.
“I thought it was very special, I thought it would make a wonderful piece of furniture and to have something like that from my grandfather, it’s really an honour to have it,” he said.
“It’s like finding a piece of history.”
The oldest surviving piece of Australian leather counter furniture is an 1891 wooden counter steepled to the floor.
Originally designed to keep the temperature down during the winter months, it became popular in the 1890s, with people using it to cook and keep warm in the summer months.
“The wooden counter is a natural surface for a sofa and a chair and for that reason, it was designed to be used for that purpose,” Mr Schofield said.
The counter is currently displayed in the old St John’s Leather Works in Sydney’s inner west.
Mr Schofords grandfather also had a wooden counter.
“When I was younger, I used to make it and I still do,” he explained.
“This is probably the oldest wooden counter I’ve ever made and I’m not even sure I have an old piece.”
He has also made chairs out of wood for his sons and grandchildren.