Since opening in 2003 following Brian’s discovery of long-lost shade molds, our product design team has brought hundreds of assortments to life. Introducing many keepsake collections to the world: the Luna Pendant, Jack Chair, and Andy Coffee Table – to name a few. With a focus on timeless style and quality craftsmanship, each new product tells a story while simultaneously echoing our Schoolhouse ethos with elegance and ease. So, as an ode to our small but mighty product team, we thought we’d share an edited selection of our Schoolhouse originals and how they came to be.
The IBM Clock
The IBM Clock is as direct and essential an interpretation of the wall clock as you’ll find. It’s simple and analog and inspired by a product that proved its value over decades. Even if you can’t place where you recognize it from, you might experience a sense of familiarity towards the IBM clock. That’s because it was based on IBM Indicator Clocks that were first released in 1947 and became popular in the 1960s. Many of these iconic time pieces could be found in schools, offices, churches, and elsewhere throughout the last half of a century. (It’s likely there are a few around to this day.)
When the 100-year anniversary of IBM came around, the company turned to Schoolhouse for a re-imagination of the Indicator Clock, and we were excited to take up the mantle. Schoolhouse is now the exclusive manufacturer of these legendary clocks. “IBM is such an amazing, iconic American company, so we were really proud to be a part of their 100-year anniversary,” says Brian. Taking on the project was no small task. The clocks needed to retain the classic look and dependability of the original, while offering the hand-made, heirloom quality that we put into all of our products.
The Ion Lamp
Embodying the raw beauty of early 20th century industrial lighting, the Schoolhouse Ion is a timeless nod to Thomas Edison’s greatest invention. Inspired by the original design Edison used to test the first light bulb, our Ion collection personifies signature Schoolhouse style, long reigning as our most classic and versatile tabletop lamp. Carefully constructed with mix of materials, each one is finished by hand inside our Portland factory.
What makes the Ion unique is the wide variety of personalities it can adopt based on its materials, color, and the light bulb pairing. This is apparent among throughout all four Ion versions we offer: the Portland Edition, Pittsburgh Edition, New York Edition, and Workshop Edition.
The Radar Sconce
Based on a specific, authentic factory light fixture, the Radar reflects utility in its every detail. For example, the perforated metal diffuser would have protected the light bulb from damage in a busy factory environment while its staggered perforation pattern still let out plenty of light.
Work on the Radar began in 2012, when the Ace Hotel Portland approached Schoolhouse Founder Brian Faherty about producing a sconce for use in their hotel rooms. The original inspiration piece that was chosen was designed for use on industrial parts washers and had the simple, utilitarian form to match. A rectangular electrical box featured an outlet for plugging in tools and a toggle switch for turning the fixture on and off. Connected to the box was a flexible metal tube that terminated in a socket and a metal turtle shade with a perforated metal diffuser.
The Schoolhouse Utility Stool
The Utility Stool embodies so many of the values that Schoolhouse stands for. They’re versatile, timeless, and expertly manufactured in the USA. When we found out the original factory was going out of business we were determined to find a way to make it ourselves.
And so we did: The new design has a more ergonomic stamped seat that prioritizes comfort, along with a rounded back-rest to remove sharp edges and low-pro rubber feet to protect floors and reduce skidding. We also introduced two finishes to the line: a glossy, rich navy and industrial raw coated steel. As the finishing touch, each stool is embossed with our signature Schoolhouse logo.
The Winter + Summer Coverlet
About six years ago, Jorie was at a thrift shop in Michigan on a trip to visit family when she came across a vintage textile. This amazing find featured deep indigo yarn contrasting against a more natural linen colored yarn with a pattern laid out in repeating boxes and grids. Jorie took the piece with her back to Oregon and used it on her own bed for several years. Then, in 2016, the opportunity to introduce our own version of the blanket arose. Jorie, working alongside Product Line Manager Kate Richard, started developing a blanket to release in Fall of 2017.
The coverlet living in her own home, gracing her own bed, was a natural fit for the project.The final Winter + Summer Cotton Coverlet conveys quality with every warp and weft. It’s geometric pattern of navy and white boxes, bars, and checks stays true to the original inspiration piece, as does the substantial weight of the blanket.
The Owen Table
The inspiration for the Owen can still be found in the Schoolhouse studio. Its exact origin is hard to place because it lacks any identifying makers mark or designer moniker. Judging by the elements of art deco and modernism in its silhouette, it likely stems from a transitional era of design which would place its creation in the 1930s or 1940s. Originally finished in a moss green, the table shows its age with a light coat of rust. (Of course, the patina only adds to its charm.) The inspiration piece stands as solid as ever thanks to quality design and construction.
Wanting our version to match the original table’s longevity, designers created a solid steel design that will weather whatever you put it through. The table top and the base are both hand-spun by one of our metal fabrication partners in Los Angeles. The column and the internal parts are also made in the United States, the welding is performed by another metal fabricator here in Portland, and the whole assembly is painted in-house at our factory.