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The Look for Less: Adjustable-screw industrial stools at not-so-screwy prices

May 21, 2010 |  7:48 am

Nothing says I live in a loft (or would like you to think I do) with more immediacy than the humble work stool with a seat that adjusts on a visible industrial screw. You can find the odd one at various prices from vintage furniture stores and flea markets, but what if you want a matching set for a kitchen counter?

Home decor catalogs have turned up with reproductions of factory classics, above. One of these new versions of old favorites is the Modern Times factory stool from the Sundance Catalog, which sells for $195, the other is Cooper's Small Draftsman stool, $159 from Wisteria.

Stoo For those who prefer a shinier version that look more contemporary than the early 20th century reproductions, there are several stainless steel models on the market, right, They all  feature adjustable screw seats and footrests.

The Precision stool from Design Within Reach sells for $550; products from UMF, a metal fabricator that makes hospital supplies are all under $300 and can be ordered through a variety of medical device supply houses.

Which are which and what's the diff?

Answers and more product details after the jump.


The Modern Times factory stool from Sundance Catalog,  right, has a tripod base and a 14.5 inch diameter hammered steel seat that adjusts from 22 to 28 inches high. Its old time-y appearance is enhanced with a distressed paint job in black, red and white. It's $195; orders of two or more are $175 per stool. At $159, Cooper's Small Draftsman stool from Wisteria, left, is available only in a natural metal finish on the base and seat--a minimalist look that will fit more decor schemes. It looks identical to the Sundance model, but may be a better choice for smaller folks. Its seat is 12.5 inches in diameter and adjusts from 18 to 27 inches.

Below: The Precision stool from Design Within Reach, left, is $550. Its 14-inch diameter seat, with a non-slip textured seat covering in the center, adjusts from 25 to 31 inches high. It is manufactured by UMF in Johnston, PA. On the e-commerce site Medical Device Depot, I found the a stool with the same dimensions listed as the less glamorously named  UMF stainless steel revolving stool. It comes with rubber tipped feet just like the DWR version, and is also available with casters for $296.65. Need something shorter? A version of the UMF with X-shape cross base, right, adjusts from 19 to 26 inches tall and costs $266.90.


--David A. Keeps

Cooper's Small Draftsman stool, Wisteria; Modern Times factory stool, Sundance Catalog; Precision stool, Design Within Reach,