Restoring original theater seats from the Olympia Theater {circa 1929}

Olympia theater {Gusman theater} seats.

Olympia theater {Gusman theater} seats.

If you follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, then you probably already know that we recently acquired 24 of the original theater seats from the Olympia Theater at the Gusman Center for the performing arts in downtown Miami. The seats were manufactured by one of the oldest seating companies still open today, American Seating. They just recently celebrated their 125th year in business and created an exhibit at the Grand Rapids Public Museum which shows the history of their seating. Click Here to see a summary of that history. The Gusman Theater was built in 1926 as a silent movie palace and has since gone through several renovations and restorations. Today, it is home to live performances, community events, films, corporate meetings and social affairs. We are proud to be a part of the restoration of Miami’s history and excited to offer these soon-to-be beautifully restored theater seats as a part of our collection at Unearthed Vintage.

Disassembling the theater seats.

We found these seats stored in dilapidated theater in Miami that was privately owned and closed for more than 40 years.  The private owner told us that the seats were purchased by his father over 40 years ago but have not been touched in over 20 years. They’ve definitely seen several transformations through many different coats of paint and reupholstering. As you can see in the pictures, apart from the upholstery and the paint, everything is still in its original form. This restoration project is going to be a challenging one but the rewards in the end will make it all worth while.

After sandblasting and ready for powder coating.

So far, we have begun the restoration of the first 4 seats and stripped them of the upholstery and completely disassembled them. The second stage of the restoration has been to have all cast iron and metal parts stripped and sandblasted of all its paint (and petrified pieces of chewing gum) to be prepared for powder coating. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for our next blog post as we update everyone on the status of this restoration project.


One thought on “Restoring original theater seats from the Olympia Theater {circa 1929}

  1. Question: What kind of springs are in those seats? Is it a round wire type of torsion spring? Or a flat wound torsion spring (flat wound torsions are like a long stick of wrigley’s gum rolled up in a sweetroll shape)? I am curious since I am quite interested in those old theater seats. Thanks. Nate

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