Sauder to offer replica of first RTA table
Company founder Erie Sauder designed it in 1951
Heath E. Combs -- Furniture Today, December 17, 2009
ARCHBOLD, Ohio — Sauder Woodworking's first ready-to-assemble occasional table, created by Erie Sauder in 1951, will be reissued as a limited edition replica in January to commemorate the company's 75th anniversary.
In 1953, the iconic table, which Sauder calls the "Model T" of RTA furniture, became North America's first patented RTA design, a press release said. The company sold the snap-together table for 15 years.
The reissue will be confined to 500 numbered units, to be sold exclusively through Walmart.com and the Sauder Store and Outlet here in the company's hometown.
Each table will be signed by Erie's sons, Maynard Sauder, chairman, and Myrl Sauder, senior research engineer, and Erie's grandson Kevin Sauder, now president and CEO of the company.
Packaging for the anniversary edition will include copies of the vintage table's original instructions and labels.
"My grandfather invented the RTA industry with this design, and our replica is a tangible way to celebrate a landmark anniversary year for the company," said Kevin Sauder. "The table's go-anywhere good looks and function-oriented design make it as appealing and useful in the 21st century as it was in the 20th."
Sauder displayed the historic table at the Las Vegas Market in September. Buyers from Walmart.com saw it and suggested making more replica tables because its design is fashionable again.
The original table was made from poplar and other inexpensive woods left over from Sauder's church furniture division. The reissue is an upscale interpretation made in solid cherry with a rich finish, using wood from Sauder's contemporary church furniture and contract seating division.
Sauder said it is offering the table at a suggested retail of $75, which translated into current dollars is about the same as the $9.95 price of the original.
Erie Sauder founded Sauder Woodworking in 1934 in a barn behind his home, making value-priced occasional tables from the waste scraps of fine woods used for custom cabinets and church pews.