Q: I would like to learn more about this chair, which I inherited from my parents. I remember they bought it in 1960 or '61. The original sticker on the bottom says: "Manufactured by Plycraft Inc., Lawrence, Mass., designed by Bernado."
A: You have a "Cherner chair," a classic Mid-Century Modern design created in 1957-58 by Norman Cherner (1920-1987). Cherner worked on the design with Paul Goldman, the owner of Plycraft, to create a chair that could be manufactured at a reasonable cost. The matching armchair was made for only a short time because it was too expensive. In the early 1960s, Cherner and Goldman battled over rights to the design. Plycraft continued to manufacture the chairs into the early 1970s, and Goldman deliberately obscured the origin of the design. It was sometimes attributed to Cherner, sometimes to George Mulhauser, sometimes (as on your label) to a fictional designer named Bernado or Bernardo, and sometimes to Goldman himself. In 1999 Cherner's sons formed the Cherner Chair Company in Westport, Connecticut. It is now the sole licensor of their father's designs, and both the armchair and side chair versions of your chair are being manufactured. A set of four side chairs from the 1950s recently auctioned for $2,100. A set of three side chairs in good condition auctioned this week for $750, and a pair of armchairs in very good condition sold for $2,100.