Imagine a piece of furniture that is baby-smooth to the touch, easy to care for and supremely long-lasting, and you have a great description of Lloyd Loom.

If you knew the truth about what Lloyd Loom is, you would be shocked. Read on to discover the secret of Lloyd Loom furniture — and just why it’s still so beloved today.

Lloyd Loom two seater sofa with armchair

Lloyd Loom two seater sofa with armchair available to order online at Holloways

The History

Lloyd Loom was invented by an American, Marshall Burns Lloyd, in 1917. He came up with an idea for an innovative woven material that would offer the benefits of wicker and rattan, without any of the drawbacks. Lloyd started manufacturing chairs from his new material — and they rocketed in popularity.

Across the water, a British furniture maker was taking a keen interest in this furniture phenomenon and Lloyd sold the patent for his design to the London firm, W. Lusty and Sons.

Before too long the UK and the rest of Europe were clamouring for more Lloyd Loom furniture, designed by Lusty and Sons and using the techniques and material patented by Marshall B. Lloyd. At the height of the fashion in the 1930s barely a hotel, restaurant, or ocean liner could be found that didn’t feature some of these chairs.

By 1940, approximately 10 million pieces of Lloyd Loom furniture had been produced in both the UK and the US.

Joe Lloyd Loom Lounge Chair

Joe Lloyd Loom Lounge Chair available to order online

The Secret

You may be wondering what super-strong material was used to create furniture that has proven to be so celebrated and long-lasting. The answer may be somewhat surprising — paper!

Marshall B. Lloyd aspired to replicate the intricacy of wicker without any of the negative features. Until then all wicker furniture had been woven by hand, but the loom and process Lloyd patented would turn wicker into a material that could be manufactured.

In the process Kraft paper is twisted around wire and woven into a strong fabric. The sheets of fabric are cut and attached to bentwood, or rattan frames, and finished with spray paint in any colour. The final product is completely unidentifiable as paper and creates a material which is strong, hard-wearing and smooth — qualities perfect for woven furniture.

Charlock Lloyd Loom armchair & footstool

Charlock Lloyd Loom Armchair (order online) and Capella Stool £155

Contemporary Lloyd Loom

After a lull between the 1950s and the 1990s, Lloyd Loom furniture came back with a bang. Several manufacturers are now making it for us at Holloways – some staying faithful to the original materials and designs and others creating contemporary pieces of furniture and synthetic versions, suitable for use in the garden.

The timeless style of Lloyd Loom is still in demand today. It works just as well with contemporary decor as with a more traditional look. We have a great selection at Holloways for you to choose from — in a multitude of styles and shades.

And you won't need to worry about durability — Lloyd Loom are among the strongest items of furniture that you’ll find. This is the reason why many antique shops still have Lloyd Loom items in excellent condition, and why they remain as sought after today, almost a century after Marshall Burns Lloyd invented his process. You can up-cycle and revamp vintage pieces and lucky antique shop finds with a simple re-spray.

Lloyd Loom highback armchair

Lloyd Loom Highback Armchair available online

A Design Classic

Every now and again, someone comes up with an innovative design that sets trends and inspires those that follow. Lloyd Loom furniture offers smoothness, beauty and permanence — and it’s no surprise to discover that a whole new generation is learning to appreciate these furniture classics.