Have you ever heard someone say that something “wears like iron”? The meaning is clear—that iron is a material that is heavy-duty and stands up to the test of time and, in the case of outdoor furniture, the test of Mother Nature. Many of us grew up with wrought iron patio furniture that our parents bought and kept for what seemed a lifetime. In fact, many of those wrought iron sets have made their way onto our patios and into our care today.
One of the names that stands out in the world of wrought iron furniture is Woodard. Since 1866, Woodard has produced wrought iron outdoor furniture at its factory in Owasso, Michigan. Founded first as the Owasso Casket Factory (they supplied the casket for President William McKinley), the company took turns as various types of manufacturers before settling in to their place as America’s leading producer of wrought iron furniture. Today, Woodard produces outdoor furniture in iron, aluminum, and all-season (man-made) wicker.
Recently, I was visiting friends in Oregon. On the porch of their new home sat fifty year old Woodard furniture that had come from the friend’s boyhood home in New York. With new cushions and probably some re-painting over the years, the furniture looked right at home and was comfortable for us contemporary adults– and the roaming wild peacocks seemed to love it, too.
Over the years, Woodard has produced outdoor furniture that has found homes in high places, as well as those backyards and porches of our own families.
Recognizing the current popularity of mid-century styles in home décor, Woodard has decided to re-introduce the 1956 Sculptura Collection. Featuring woven wire and a now classic design, sources at Woodard reveal that this style has been requested frequently in the years since it was discontinued.
Found in antique stores and flea markets and snatched up by savvy shoppers and handy do-it-yourselfers, vintage wrought iron is always popular. Usually requiring a fresh coat of paint, some new protective feet on the leg bottoms, and a new set of outdoor cushions, these pieces will continue to be used for another fifty years, or so. Now that’s an OUTDOORLICIOUS! investment.