City Life

PHOTOS: The making of a terrace chair

Behind-the-scenes shots of a Memorial Union emblem

They're colorful. They're big. They're also mini. And they're iconic.

The Memorial Union Terrace would not be the same without its sunburst chairs.

When we set out to find interesting items built or manufactured right here in Madison, we learned that these chairs are made just 20 minutes away in Oregon, Wisconsin.

The chairs have been manufactured by Wisco Industries in Oregon since 1981. Wisco, which began as Wisconsin Mold & Tool Co. in 1949, manufactures an array of countertop food service equipment like the Pizza Pal Oven, reports Maggie Ginsberg. Learn more about Madison area manufactures in the April cover story "Made in Madison."

The Wisconsin Union website gives a detailed timeline of the terrace chair's history, including its many iterations dating back to 1929. Every year, the Union invites UW-Madison students and the campus community to help set up the orange, yellow and green chairs on opening day, which marks the first day of the terrace season and a clear indication of spring in Madison. 

Last year the event was held on April 13. This year's date has not been announced yet. A representative from the Memorial Union says the date is weather dependent but always usually ends up being in mid-April. It won't be held until after the ice has melted on Lake Mendota.

You can buy a terrace chair for yourself for $350 to $425 by following this link. You can also buy a mini terrace chair for your desk for $12.50 by following this link.

In the above photo gallery, Madison Magazine freelance photographer Patrick Stutz visited Wisco Industries for some behind-the-scenes shots of the making of the terrace chairs. 

Below are some photos of terrace chairs we can't get enough of:



































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