Mason Monterey A-Frames

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Many of the Mason Monterey pieces were damaged in the flood of 1964, when a warm rain melted the snow pack and water poured through the Chateau, sending many A-Frames through broken windows and into the gulley below.  Some A-frames were broken into pieces, right, most had some or all of their finish stripped.

We assume, as there was not a lot of information available from that time, that all but three of these chairs went through the flood.  Our assumption is based on the condition of the painted finish left on the chairs.  One is the Chateau Green Polychrome A-Frame Dining Chair, shown left, which is the only A-Frame at this time that is being set aside for the Museum Collection.  This chair was the model for the design on the decorative splat of the other chairs, as it was the only chair with the decorative motif still intact.

In the cases of missing finish, we sometimes found clues buried deeply around leg or splat connections, or in broken seats, shown above.

In some cases we suspected a chair may have been refinished by NPS maintenance employees.

MPFC used conservation principles to restore and conserve eleven A-Frames, based on their degradation.  The structure on most of the chairs was compromised.  New parts had to be made in some instances, and care was taken to replicate them from Oregon alder in the manner they were made by Mason Manufacturing.  We documented the parts of each that were reproduced, but distressing was created, edges were rounded and anomalies were made so they appeared to be original parts to the casual observer.  Reports were submitted to the NPS curator, Mary Merryman, and changes were made with her blessing.

The A-frame is a quintessential example of the Mason Monterey line, so care was taken to reproduce the delightful colors as we found them.

To see a snapshot of the steps involved in painting the decorative splats, see our page on Painting the Decorative Elements.

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