Furniture Style Since 1916
When Barnett Nathan, a furniture maker of Russian origin, began to manufacture handcrafted pieces of furniture from a workshop in Hackney Road, East London in 1916, it was the middle of the Great War and perhaps not the ideal time to embark on a furniture making business. Indeed Barnett soon had to supplement income by manufacturing munitions boxes for the Government. At the end of the war Barnett was joined by his two brothers and despite the great hardships of the time, the three of them were able to use their furniture making skills to develop a business with a reputation in the trade for fine craftsmanship and good quality.
The Company, then known as B&I Nathan, grew steadily throughout the following decades and in the 1930's moved to a new site on Angel Road, Edmonton, North London. This gave the company the much needed space to continue expanding although at that time its market was still fairly localised, in and around London. To stay afloat during the Second World War Barnett again tuned his hand to helping the war effort, making munitions boxes and tent pegs.
In 1952 the second generation of the family came into the business. Barnett's sons Jerrold and Clive were the catalysts for developing a brand name with national appeal. The Company began to specialise in dining room furniture and invested heavily in designing and marketing its products for a larger stage.
International recognition was gained in 1954 when the Compton dining suite was chosen to represent the best of British design at a major furniture exhibition in New York. A steady stream of new and contemporary products were quickly brought to the market, the most successful of which was the Courtier dining suite which was light mahogany in colour with contrasting black legs - quite a radical design for its day.
In 1963 Barnett's eldest son Jerrold, by then in charge of sales, took thebrave decisionto develop a Scandinavian styled range in teak - a decision that was to mould the company's future and influence the products that we sell to this day. Under advertisements proclaiming 'Scandinavian Design by Nathan' the first range of teak furniture, called Citadel, was launched. Now considered to be a design classic, the styling was simple and elegant with no decoration other than plain recessed handles.
Citadel was an outstanding success and other teak ranges quickly followed, all beginning with the letter "C": Corinthian, Cortina and Corsica. Top of the range was the Corinthian sideboard which had the added luxury of contrasting rosewood handles. Backed by a nationwide advertising campaign, Corsica became Nathan's best selling range of the late 1960's.
Throughout the 1960's Jerrold Nathan continued to experiment with interesting new looks, primarily in teak, and the Company moved further upmarket with the launch of an innovative sideboard with a circle pattern cut into the veneer on the doors.
1970 saw the introduction of the 1024 sideboard which was the first piece featuring a the distinctive Jacobean door design and as such was the foundation piece of the "Classic Collection". This unit attracted an unexpectedly large amount of public interest and by 1972 the designer, Patrick Lee, had introduced a range of wall units in the same style. Patrick's vision was to create a range of furniture for the dining and living rooms, or to blend between the two with one consistent look. He wanted the furniture to be highly functional and flexible and above all he wanted customers to be able to come back and grow their collection as their requirements changed. Cabinets had to be modular so that they could be grouped together in order to configure a seamless run and then be simply re-configured as requirements change.
These design principles of flexibility and collectability have ensured that our Classic range of furniture has been a success for over 35 years and is one of the best selling furniture collections of all time.
Way back in 1916, Barnett Nathan's vision was to design beautiful, elegant furniture offering quality and value. That vision remains at the heart of Nathan's products to this day.