Apr 26, 2010

Gossip Benches

Lover's seat or the Kissing bench as it is called, has been a part of most European and Early American furniture choices.(I remember seeing it in someone's home, when I was a child.)  

source:liveauctioneers.com
These gossip chairs were designed to help people speak into each other's ear I guess(lol). What started out like this happend to take a different form once the civilized world was introduced telephony. If I were to compile a story on Gossip benches, say another decade from now, I would have to start with saying something like this -

There was once a time when telephones were not portable, you were restricted to sit at one place. Men went to work and women had a lot of time on hand. Living in small communities and cities made it possible for them to know everything and anything about everyone around them. (lol). Leave alone multiple connections, each house had a single line with restricted mobility. Initial instruments were attached to the wall.

 source: Photo courtesy Walt Aydelotte, telephonearchive.com

Technological improvements brought the instrument off the wall and onto a small table! (reminds me of the vintage dial instruments!!).

source: langford.payastitlan.com

This was when a very smart carpenter came up with this idea of combining seating with a slot/space for the telephone. He must have thanked Graham Bell for his invention .....;-). I have been saving up a few pictures for my collection. Unique pieces of furniture which were invented for a particular purpose have always fascinated me. Gossip benches seemed like a perfect piece to start a series of posts on unique furniture pieces. We can find a wide range of styles, shapes and sizes to suit differ decors and themes. I noticed that Vintage, Victorian themed decor seems incomplete without a gossip bench in place.


 source: stacksandstacks.com
A piece from the late 1920s, Oak Gossip Phone Bench - Rare Deluxe model having Leather rails and seat.  
 source: dealersmarketusa.com
A beautifully upholstered bench with two draws for storage
source:secondspaces.wordpress


Clean line danish style piece with two open shelves and vinyl seats


source: renest.com


Mission (Early American style)


source: beckerfurnitureworld.com


A classy 1940's piece
source: AT

Not sure of the style, but I loved this simple piece with a little craved back and shelf


source: craigslist


A vintage solid wood Danish modern style with a cubby hole style shelf
Source: craigslist
a sectional/side view of the piece




A mahogany bench with a door concealing an area for storing phone books
 source:atticmag

This retro style teal upholstered piece could be used as an accent chair as well..
source: atticmag

A Cane lover could never overlook this piece. The back and table top have beautiful caning done.
 source: retro-luxe.blogspot

Solid Mahogany Gossip Bench with a pull out chair. Would work well as a corner chair or an entryway/foyer piece. Dated: 1950's


This is how it looks with the chair pulled out
source: thefrontporchantiques
A victorian style Captain chair model gossip bench at its best!!
source: craigslist
There are a few pieces like these which could work well as coffee tables as well...

source: at
There are a quite a few interesting styles. I chose to put up only vintage pieces which I loved. But for the space constraint, I would love to pick the available from a local craigslister!!

22 comments:

  1. I love the love seats too. They are adorable :) I wish they could make them in cane or ratten. Maybe i should try to design one and get an experimental piece done. What do you say?
    And i would like to have a telephone gossip bench for my vintage phone. Slowly my furniture wish list is growing with your posts.

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  2. Hey Preethi

    I was thinking about you when I was putting up the cane piece :). I am sure you dint miss it in this post...:). I loved quite a few and some sellers (in the city have priced it real cheap), I wish I could get one home!!

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  3. Superb post! Wonder how you people get hold of those! :-)

    I liked the "Oak Gossip Phone Bench" very much. The "Mission" was good too. Thank you so much for writing such a valuable piece.

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  4. hi Sathya
    Thank you for being so lavish with your comment :). There are so many more in my collection (pictures) but the post was getting too long so had to restrict the number of pics

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  5. Wow... They are very innovative... I guess talking over the phone was a chore those days. They needed a separate place to sit and talk :) Though not sure how comfortable it would have been.

    The cane bench you have featured here is a real beauty. I would love to have one like that.

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  6. I sat on one in an antique store and they are quite cosy...:)...they must have been a wonderful furniture piece for women to spend hours and gossip!!...hence the name!

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  7. nice collection sudha.even i was thinking of buying or making a gossip bench like this.nice finds.

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  8. vintage solid wood Danish modern style with a cubby hole style shelf

    do you have any info on this piece I just purchased one and I am interested in info and value ledzzepplin@yahoo.com

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  9. hi gary
    thank u for stopping by, i ll mail u the details you have asked for.. if you could send me pictures I could be more precise with my info.

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  10. Really enjoyed ur article on the love seats.

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  11. hi
    they are gossip / phone benches..a derivative of the kissing bench i suppose..:)

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  12. I love gossip benches too! These are fantastic but of course my favorite is the mid century teal vinyl seat.

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  13. I just purchased a gossip bench off of Craigslist. This post is super helpful for how I would spiff it up.

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  14. hi helena
    thank you for stopping by. glad you could find my post interesting and helpful. keep visiting

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  15. I recently bought a gossip bench similar to the last one on your list that could also be used as a coffee table. There is an area near the table end with raised wooden sections and I was wondering if you had any idea what they could be used for.
    Jan

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  16. ok, I found a "telephone/gossip chair" from what I've been told, is there a way I can find out the value or year? I have pictures I can send. thank you! DR

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  17. Ok,I found a telephone chair and have cleaned it up and trying to find out how much it would be worth, if anyone can help, it would be greatly appreciated!! I can send pictures!

    Rock

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  18. Hello Rock, thank you for the comment and the visit to my blog..pl feel free to email me at itssudha 2 gmail Would be glad to help

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  19. Any idea what the value of the retro teal bench would be. I just found one and want to resell it but I'm not sure what to ask. It is in excellent condition. Any Thoughts?

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  20. This bench is fabulous. My crate seats didn't hold up this year but I think this would. LOVE it!

    pub benches & rustic garden furniture

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  21. I found one at an antique mall and when I went back to purchase it was gone!! Do you know where I can go in Little Rock to look at some pieces? I love them!!

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