Seven slats at the back
The English influence in the late Gustavian period led to chair makers producing slatted chairs with curved, almost square backs and tapered, square legs. This kind of chair was first seen in Stockholm, but quickly spread to the rural communities. Its comfort helped it to become one of the most common chair models around, and a special model with seven slats at the back became known as the ‘Leksandsstolen’ (the Leksand Chair).
In the agriculture and forestry industries in Leksand people often had to have two jobs to support themselves and chair making started to become a speciality from the 1870s, transforming into a cottage industry by the turn of the century. By 1912 there were at least 15 active chair makers working in Hjulbäck, Siljansnäs, with a solid reputation for high quality workmanship. An increase in the demand for construction workers in the Stockholm area meant that fewer people needed to have two jobs, which led to a decline in chair making.
Erkers Eric worked as an electrician in Dalarna and Stockholm for a number of years. However, he suffered an accident at work and lost the sight in one eye, so he decided to change career. He opened a café with his new wife Signe in his home village of Björken, Siljansnäs. Their business gradually increased and they started to sell handicrafts from farmers in the area, quickly becoming a village store.
In 1932 Eric bought a lathe to help him produce cups, saucers and jugs for his store. A few years later he expanded his operations and started to produce furniture, including chests, corner cupboards and chairs. It was also then that they started to make the traditional chair model from this area, with furniture makers who had learnt their trade from the old masters.
In 1960 the furniture workshop burnt down to the ground. The new building is made from stone and it is now home to a modern furniture workshop, with the Leksand Chair as the flagship product.