Friday, February 24, 2012

Let's Identify: This Contour Chair-Lounge


Yeah, this is how I relax. In my jacket and tie with shoes on.

I've been seeing these on ebay for a few years now. I thought I needed one, but the prices seemed a little high to me. By the time you figure in shipping, or driving to pick it up and the cost of the chair-lounge it was just a bit outside of my budget.

But a week or two ago the MidCentury Stuff Force was with me. I saw this baby on ebay and its location was just a few miles from me. It had a Make Offer tab on it so I made an offer, it was accepted, and POOF! contour chair-lounge at my house.

It was my second purchase from this ebay seller. I bought a pair of pod chairs from him about a year ago that are still in the stack of things to be recovered.



Come inside and see mine.






So, Dave, it looks like you already know what this is. Why is it on a Let's Identify post?

Since you asked, it's because they made these things from the 1950s through the 1980s and I can't find an identification guide to determine how old mine is.

This one is in white with a pattern embossed into the fabric. It has tack heads showing all around, and its legs are white washed.

You'll have to excuse the clutter. We don't know where we're putting it yet.

I looked underneath to see if it had any tags. No dice. The dust cover allowed me to peek in and see "S" shaped leaf springs and some mechanicals, but there were no tags to be found.


It's very clean. No rips, no tears, and comfortable.

Seems like some of them don't have upholstered arms. They're just wooden. That's probably an indicator of age. Features like heat and vibrate must indicate age. Mine has vibrate, but no heat.


Controls for vibrate and position adjustment.

Could the fabric be an indicator of age? Or the tack heads? This one has a control that slides the chair on the frame into a reclining position.


It makes me feel like an astronaut when I'm in it.

Someone at some time has probably compiled an "Identify Your Contour Chair" fact sheet. If you know of one I'd love to hear about it. In the end it really doesn't matter to me what year this is from - I'm keeping it regardless. But I sure would like to know.
So any idea what year it might be?
We'll be back later with . . . more stuff.

68 comments:

  1. Hey Dave. I don't have a contour lounge chair, but I have reupholstered a few and developed a fondness for them. I don't know how old yours is but if it doesn't have a metal plate/tag, it has probably been recovered.
    I do know that they were made in St. Louis until the company was sold in the early '80's.(to Stratalounger I think)
    Art Linklater did T.V. Commercials for them promoting therapeutic qualities. They were actually made to order, with a salesman taking body measurements to make the chair to size. They ended up getting sued for charging seniors thousands of dollars for the chairs, and getting insurance/Medicare/Medicaid to pay based on the questionable "therapeutic" value. Keep digging on the intra-webs and you'll even find the old T.V. Commercials.
    Jeff

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    1. do you have a manual for the mechanical parts, visual, and for fixing the vibrating system on one of these chairs. I bought one a while back and had it re-pholstered, but I want to re-wire it, and fix the vibrating system on it...there was no mechanical manual with it.... pls. advise either way, thx.

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    2. i just bought a red love seat style it is in new condition with a metal tag. the massager and the reclining motor works. yard sale find!

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    3. I have a very similiar chair, no mechanics, just a plain old manual chair.
      I would like to have it reupholstered. I live in Peachtree City, Ga. Could you give me a ball park figure for reupholstering. Thanks.

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    4. I just scored one of these chairs for $50 bucks!!! Can you tell me how much fabric I would need to reupholster it and how much I should spend doing so?? Thanks

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    5. According to this blog

      http://thriftedsisters.wordpress.com/2009/08/03/bizarre-thrift-coincidence-1-daniels-contour-lounge-chair/

      written by a reseller who has upholstered a conutour chair, it takes about seven yards of fabric to reupholster a standard single. They apparently also redid a double a/k/a "cuddler" (in red velvet!) but I don't think mention how much fabric that took.

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    6. Just bought one for ten bucks!!!!

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  2. Metal Plate/Tag, huh?

    Nope. Not on this one.

    This is the first one I've ever had my hands on. I'll start by looking for tags in pix I can find.

    Thanks, Jeff.

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  3. Hi Dave.

    I'm not a good source for value where these are concerned cuz, well...I'm in St. Louis...and St. Louis is lousy with them! But I do see them with all sorts of prices on craigslist as well as at estate sales. I bet it's super comfy! Looks great!

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  4. I have one as well, when i bought my house i told the people i bought it from that the deal was only done if the chair came with the house.
    I too am having trouble dating it. Im assuming it is one of the first electric recline models because it does not yet have the heating or vibrating which came later.
    It does have the metal tag though, should be underneath the chair at the front by where your feet are when sitting on it. Mine also has the neck pillow with it and is in the original red fabric.
    Pretty cool chair no idea what its worth though and wish i could date it.

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  5. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jackieinmi/2498638586/lightbox/

    I think yours is "The Original" From the early 1950's

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  6. I have a choclate ORIGINAL. perfect working motor, no vibration setting though. Must move looking to sell. I have pic's. ANYBODY INTERESTED? Please contact me. choscheit@gmail.com. Really can't ship, looked into that going to Florida, cost was $400+. Living in the Chicagoland area. Please, I love it, but can't take it, Choco needs a loving home.

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  7. my friend owns a contour lounge chair that heats n vibrates he also wants to sell it but he doesn't know how much its worth....

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  8. Hi dave I have a 1969 viverator 42" cuddler contour chair the tag says "special frame", I was just wondering what it might be worth.Its been reupolstered.I dont let people sit on it cause to comphotable for anyone but my butt. lol... Thank you for your time paulprindle49@yahoo.com

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  9. I just received one that has been passed down the family from the man who sold them in Michigan my great-great- grandfather. Tho I've yet to see one like upolstered armsand a skirt only function it has is recline

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  10. I have an almost exact chair as yours, the only difference is that mine does not have an electric recline button, instead it has a wooden handle and the feet are brown wood in color. My chair has three tags, one is the inspection tag, which gives the date of inspection...02/16/61!!! The second one is the materials tag, which says that the rubberized hair pad is madeof 90% curled hog hair and 10% curled cattle tail hair. Very interesting. And the last is a metal tag that has the manufacture, model and serial no. Hope this gives you a better idea of how old yours is.

    I ran across this blog because i was trying to figure out its value, this chair is in perfect condition.

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    Replies
    1. Do you still have the chair and are you interested in selling. Depending on what state you live in and how far away I would have to travel. I am looking to buy a manual one. Call me at 402-750-0163.

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  11. Well folks I have just purchased a Contour Chair Lounge Model CIMB with a Serial #B29196. It reclines has heat and adjustable vibration. I am only 5' tall and I tell you I think it was made for me. How can I find out its age and what it cost new? Montana

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  12. Heating and vibrating were optional.

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  13. my family has three, and they are amazing!!! but we cant seem to find a cuddler anywhere.... a cuddler is one made for more than 1 person

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    1. I have a Cuddler for sale. I live in Michigan. It is supposed to have heat and vibrate. It is all electric. Vibrate works somewhat, heat doesn't work at all.

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    2. I am looking for just the viberator motor. Ours finally died but would love to replace the motor. Any suggestions?

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  14. I have a teal green one that looks exactly as the white one in the picture. My dad gave it to me for my birthday about 10 years ago. Mine has the vibration and moves to upright and lounge positions and everything in between.

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    1. Hi Theresa,
      Got a question for you I have a chair like your but my motor that moves the chair does not have a belt in it. I have been looking for a schematic to put a belt on do you have a pic of your so I can see how it is done.... Thanks Scott Thompson

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  15. I have one for free! in denver, Colorado Need it gone ASAP see craigslist for more info.

    http://denver.craigslist.org/zip/4360294412.html

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  16. I have one that looks just like yours. I paid $60.00 for it at the San Jose flea market in 1982. It has only the manual slide release to recline the chair, plus the vibrator. It has the original covering, and it was made in 1956. I love this chair, it is the best movie watching chair I have ever sat in.

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  17. I have a brown vinyl like this. Mine has heat but no vibrate. It also has wooden arms that fold down to make it easy to get in and out. Any idea how old this one it. All original and works.

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    1. Yours sounds like the exact chair I purchased in the very early 70's. It was still in perfect condition in storage when my husband (now ex-) let the storage go to auction in the 90's. Wish I still had it. Maybe you have it! That was back in Ohio and I now live in Colorado. I cannot remember what we paid for it. but if I see one like it for sale in Colorado I will probably buy it. BTW I am getting ready to move my things from Ohio to Colorado, so if anyone living close to I-70 has one I will consider buying it and have my mover pick it up on the way. Enjoy yours.

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    2. Were in Ohio did you live. I bought one in Ohio?

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  18. I would like to see a picture of the folding chair arms. I think my chair's arms were meant to fold down. They have metal plates on both ends of the arms and the arms wiggle as if they might fold down. No bells or whistles just one siding button to move the chair recline position.

    contact: sherls@comcast.net

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    1. My chair has arms that fold. If yours are in the down position just lift straight up and and flip. I bought mine for $45. Light blue velvet. Original with metal tag. Model M/A serial CO 50997. Arms are wooden with blue velvet top. Vibrates, heats and mechanically reclines. Would love to know when it was made.

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  19. I worked for the Contour Chair Company in 89/90. The chairs then, retailed for around 2000+ depending on what options you got. We had salesman that would go to the homes and measure the customers bodies so that the chair could be build specifically to their height, shape, weight. They were very comfortable chairs, though expensive. I remember we sold one to George Jones and Conway Twitty. I think I still have copies of their order forms somewhere.

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    1. Interesting. I too am in the St. Louis area. I am in the market for one of these. I just haven't seen any of the ones with the longer leg section. Not sure on which size I would need but at 6'2" I figured it was one of the larger ones.

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  20. We bought our contour cuddler (for two, with vibrator, seat adjuster, and I think it has heat, too--don't remember) new in between 1966 & 1967--I think the earlier date. I think we only paid $200 for it, but could be wrong (prices were so much lower back then!). We loved it, moved it several times, and it has sat in the cellar of our final home (hopefully) for perhaps the last 10 or more years, as the upholstery (vinyl brocade, blue) tore in several places (rotted with age?). Hung onto it in hopes of getting it reupholstered and using it again someday.
    However, I just gave it away to a friend, and hope she takes it and enjoys it! I haven't plugged it in for years, so hope it still works. It did the last time I tried it. Just to let you know they were around before the 80's!

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  21. My mother purchased one just like it for my father in the early '60's. He was a truck driver and did not like to relax in the regular sitting position like at work. He had the white vinyl with the toile angel design like shown above.

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  22. I live in Cape Coral Florida and there is one on Craigslist that looks brand new for 150.00, It has heat,vibrate and slide whatever that means. It is like a olive green or brown looking color. I thought it was brand new so I went looking to see how much they cost now like I always do before jumping in and buying something on Craigslist. Looks like if the heat,vibrate and slide works perfect like the ad says this would be an awesome deal!! My husband has a bad back and I was going to get it for his man cave. What do you think? The only downside I see with these chairs are 1. they are ugly 2. they take up a lot of room

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    Replies
    1. If everything works like you said, buy it. (If it's still available) That color would have been an original chair from the late 50's or so. I just bought one and just now found out it's supposed to heat or vibrate, but don't see anything to plug into. They would be perfect for his man cave. Good luck.

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  23. I have a white vinyl cuddler (seats two) for sale in New York City. 57 in long, 34.5 incles tall from the back and 40.5 inches wide. When in full recline position, feet are 22 inches off the floor. Massage function needs some repair. Will sell for $100 cash and carry. If interested, please email saarons319@gmail.com. We are only giving it up because my parents have reached the age where they cannot get in and out of it safely anymore. But it has been a beloved piece of furniture in their home for many years. Perfect for relaxing, afternoon naps, reading and TV viewing, of course.

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  24. I have an older version---orange fabric--that stiff chenille-like fabric from the 40's-early 50's. It's manual and in perfect shape. I've carried it across the country twice and am finally ready to part with it. Any ideas of value?

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  25. I am very interested in buying one that has the manual slide. I don't care if it does or doesn't have the massage or heat. Just want the manual slide. Single wide. Hopefully close to Nebraska. Please contact me by email at nebrgirlgeorge@yahoo.com with contour chair in the subject line so I don't dismiss the email as spam. Thank you very much!!

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  26. Does anyone know how much it would cost to reupholster one of these chairs?

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  27. I was quoted $800 to reupholster one a few years ago. Thought that was too much since I see then occasionally at estate sales for half that. The one I have needs a redo as well... still. There is a nameplate on the back on mine just below the head. Mine is an original because I sat in it a lot as a kid in the mid 50s.

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  28. Looking to buy a manual one with wooden lever.

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  29. If anyone in GA is looking for one, we have a blue one in very good shape with working heat, massage and "power" slide. We're downsizing and need to let it go.

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  30. We have a contour chair lounge model 100 that was bought new for my 5'9" grandfather on 2/13/1974 (the inspection sticker and labels are all on the underside). The original swirly pumpkin colored vinyl upholstery is called rio bittersweet and is in excellent condition. It has an extra lumbar pillow called a "shorty cushion" so my grandmother could sit in it comfortably as well. It has what looks like walnut legs and manual slide handle. The adjustable "viverator" vibrating massage works well. It has two individually controlled adjustable "thermonic" calf and shoulder/neck area heating units which are also working well. We are considering selling it and were wondering what it may be worth. If you would like to email me directly it is Tammy.Raub@hughes.net.

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  31. My vibrating motor is shot....I'd like to replace it, but can't find the original manufacturing company (Hubbell). Any ideas?

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  32. My vibrating motor is shot....I'd like to replace it, but can't find the original manufacturing company (Hubbell). Any ideas?

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  33. Does anyone know where (somewhat close to Central Illinois) we could get one of these lounger chairs fixed. Ours is in mint condition and everything works accept the heat. This chair had alot of meaning to my husband so I would really like to get it fixed. Thanks! jcocml11@gmail.com

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  34. Does anyone know where (somewhat close to Central Illinois) we could get one of these lounger chairs fixed. Ours is in mint condition and everything works accept the heat. This chair had alot of meaning to my husband so I would really like to get it fixed. Thanks! jcocml11@gmail.com

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  35. I have one just like the white one but it is black has the original metal plate with the brand name and all also the motor and all still works for vibration it does however have one tear about 2 inches big probably an easy fix I have no idea what this is worth I just bought an old house and found it in the attic

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  36. I love my contour chair with heat,vibrate & slide; however, my slide motor is shot. Mine has fully upholstered 'early american' styled arms. Based on that & the awful orangey gold upholstery, I guess it to be an early 70's model. It takes 10 yds of fabric (without a repeat) to reupholster. I've gotten 2 labor quotes to reupholster, one for $1200 and another for $695. I am in Oklahoma. My husband keeps saying it's not worth it to keep and reupholster but I'm not so sure. It's one awesome chair to relax in.

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  37. I love my contour chair with heat,vibrate & slide; however, my slide motor is shot. Mine has fully upholstered 'early american' styled arms. Based on that & the awful orangey gold upholstery, I guess it to be an early 70's model. It takes 10 yds of fabric (without a repeat) to reupholster. I've gotten 2 labor quotes to reupholster, one for $1200 and another for $695. I am in Oklahoma. My husband keeps saying it's not worth it to keep and reupholster but I'm not so sure. It's one awesome chair to relax in.

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  38. I just got one and really want to know what it's worth....has metal tag...it has the electric slide button and works...it's in great condition

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  39. Oh, how I loved my grandmother's contour chair and want to find one like it for myself. It would be great with my fibromyalgia. I had just turned four when she moved in and brought that beautiful chair early in 1961, so I'm guessing it was made in the mid- to late-1950s. It was a pretty greenish or bluish-green vinyl with the nail heads all around it and just the wooden lever; no heat, no vibration. It looked just like the ones the astronauts sat in in that sci-fi movie from 1956, minus the seat belts, of course! Shortly after that she recovered it in a beautiful blue and green fabric.

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  41. I have a yellow contour chair that has both the heat and the vibratation option? My parents had it for a long time and it was really never used since they did not get in or out of it. Great condition. The upholstery is in fantastic condition. It has subtle flower pattern. The chair is in Pennsylvania and we are selling it. If interested, email me at fnelson48@gmail.com

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  42. I have a 1976 Orange crush velvet all original with tags and serial number plus model number CIMB on the bottom it also has the French skirt and the pillow with the weights that goes across the top THIS CHAIR IS IN EXCELLENT CONDITION

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  43. I have searched the web to find a contour chair lounge with the French skirt and the pillow on it I can not find one anywhere I need help big time ! I am the one with the Orange Crush Velvet 1976 contour chair lounge. The chair was made by Contour Chair Lounge Company Inc. Help me find a price TY so much

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  44. Near as I can tell the lounge I have was made in 50 or 51. I thought it was made by the Chicago Lounge Chair Co. Looked high and low for info. I was able to find some brief info On the model and age. It's a Model 100 I Believe. I believe it's an original since it's bare bones when it comes to features. While searching for more info I stumbled across a picture of Marilyn Monroe in the identical chair. This was a Look Magazine photo shoot with her, Oct 23, 1951. Chicago Chair or some other Co? She made it one Hell of a lot nicer!

    I appreciate any pointers. There are no tags, plates or numbers anywhere. Bottom fabric is in tact.

    Mike

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  45. Mike I have a grande model 535 purchased 3/13/1992 it seems to be different than all the others it has on the right side 5 different controls so far I can get it to vibrate and Heat and recline or medically the other two have 3 clicks to the switch but don't seem to do anything it has air bladders in neck and Lumbar areas the fabric is red leather and has a 8 a.m. FM cazette stereo it came with the original purchase order of $4,090 can anyone tell me what the other controls do and if I could get them fixed

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  46. Mike I have a grande model 535 purchased 3/13/1992 it seems to be different than all the others it has on the right side 5 different controls so far I can get it to vibrate and Heat and recline or medically the other two have 3 clicks to the switch but don't seem to do anything it has air bladders in neck and Lumbar areas the fabric is red leather and has a 8 a.m. FM cazette stereo it came with the original purchase order of $4,090 can anyone tell me what the other controls do and if I could get them fixed

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  47. I have a model 100 that I purchased at an on site auction about 15 years ago for $15.00. It is gray naugahyde and still like new with the heat and vibrate features.It still has all the paperwork attached to the bottom. It was ordered on 12- 20 1957 in St. Louis and delivered to Cincinnati on 12-23-57. I knew what it was when I bought it because I have an aunt an uncle who lived in St Louis and bought a new one in 1957 for $800.00. It was cloth with no other features other than recline which is a wood rachet mech. that can wear out with over use and abuse as what happened to theirs when they gave my grandparents in 1958 and all my cousins used it like a toy. It is still around and has been reupholstered. My uncle told me mine was over $1000.00 when new. My heat always worked but the vibrate quit so I removed the cloth bottom carefully, took the cover off the motor; cleaned and oiled it and it also works fine.

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  48. I have a model 100 that I purchased at an on site auction about 15 years ago for $15.00. It is gray naugahyde and still like new with the heat and vibrate features.It still has all the paperwork attached to the bottom. It was ordered on 12- 20 1957 in St. Louis and delivered to Cincinnati on 12-23-57. I knew what it was when I bought it because I have an aunt an uncle who lived in St Louis and bought a new one in 1957 for $800.00. It was cloth with no other features other than recline which is a wood rachet mech. that can wear out with over use and abuse as what happened to theirs when they gave my grandparents in 1958 and all my cousins used it like a toy. It is still around and has been reupholstered. My uncle told me mine was over $1000.00 when new. My heat always worked but the vibrate quit so I removed the cloth bottom carefully, took the cover off the motor; cleaned and oiled it and it also works fine.

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  49. I'm pretty sure the first ones from the 50's did not have any electrical components (motor/vibrator) and only had a wooden handle to unlock the mechanism and you had to use your body weight/force to adjust the angle of the chair. I have one and it had a shipping tag under it that I removed and preserved that says it was bought in 1956 from some furniture store. I think the motors and such were added in the late 60's or sometime in the 70's.

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  50. I have a brown vinyl chair that is a "Cuddler" with a serial number of SCC 39886CUDDLER,Model "CIMB"It has heat and vibration. I'd like to sell it, but I have no clue what to ask for it. I live in Southern Oregon.

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    1. dbrunet@frontier.com Asking if you still have the cuddler lounge? If so please send photos

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