Tomado Modular Shelving - A Short History



Tomado was established in 1923 by Dutch brothers Jan and Wim Van der Togt in the small town of Dordrecht. The company initially specialised in producing copper hooks and other simple homewares. 

By the 1930s the brothers were focusing on functional products for the kitchen made from steel wire. A collaboration with the Netherlands Union of Housewives led to their first big breakthrough – a practical and very effective wire dish-drainer.

Things really took off after WW2. With the reconstruction of the Netherlands in full force there was an enormous need for simple, functional products for the home. Tomado was in the perfect position to create useful items that would literally make the world a better place.

Of the many products that Tomado produced, one design stands out as the definitive icon of the companies' celebrated legacy – the Tomado Shelving System. The design was an instant success and has since become a national treasure, even gracing it's own postage stamp.

Even the most simple object is not beneath our dignity, as long as it is perfect in its execution
— Wim Van der Togt
 Vintage Tomado Advertising

Vintage Tomado Advertising



The Tomado Shelving System is the culmination of a desire to produce simple, elegant and functional products. It was realised through the talented direction of Adriaan Dekker the Head of Technical Design.

On its release in 1958, the design was an instant success, quickly embraced by aspiring modern homes throughout the Netherlands. It was the perfect product, a beautifully designed and affordable offering with modular functionality.

The Shelving System had an interesting history before its official release. In 1951, Mr Van Mierens, an employee of Tomado, sketched out a design for a wire framed modular bookshelf. This design then sat in a desk drawer for close to seven years.

In 1958, Adriaan Dekker discovered the sketches and made small improvements in proportions and materials to create the final design. The original version had wooden shelves with hooks that attached to the uprights, these were updated by folded, pressed steel version on the final design.

It was a big year for Dekker – he also created a series of wire armchairs in collaboration with the Dutch furniture maker Pastoe. These chairs, along with his Tomado Shelving System have since become highly collectable icons of post war Dutch design.


 Vintage Tomado Modular Shelving Advertising

Vintage Tomado Modular Shelving Advertising

Dan Eagle