Poul Cadovius and his various Danish adjustable wall systems Royal and Cado.
Poul Cadovius was born in 1911 and died in 2011 but I haven’t found out yet whether he reached the grand age of 100 or not. He trained as an upholsterer in the family business before establishing his own company in around 1948 to develop his first wall system which was just before the Swedish string system was launched so some people say he was the first to introduce a hanging shelf system. If the first Royal system was like the String it will have started with just shelves and then gradually expanded to cabinets, chests etc all of which were fixed to upright battens by means of metal rods .
In 1957 he added another cheaper shelving system called Omnia but this is just a shelf system . In 1958 or possibly 1960 ( depending on which source you look at ! ) he came up with the Cado system which cleverly works by using angled dowels which can take an amazing amount of weight. The chests and cabinets are often the same as on the Royal system but the hanging method is different and we think a lot more stylish as it can seem to float rather than have the exposed metal rods showing . Again over the years new pieces and designs were added in teak or rosewood including fully veneered wall panels.
Poul also designed other furniture including a lovely radial veneered coffee table and dining table for France & Son, a company he then bought somewhere around 1965/67 when it was one of the most successful Danish makers. We understand that France & Son as a name disappeared in around 1970/73 when demand was declining. He was still designing pieces as late as 1989 as we’ve seen a desk of his described as being designed that year for Cado Design A/S .
Whether you buy a Royal or a Cado system the build quality and construction detailing is top notch. We’ve got a 1968 catalogue with price list for the Royal System. The 4 drawer chest ( same as in the Cado system ) would have set you back £34 14 shillings, which in todays money is about £620. We have a 1974 Ladderax catalogue with pricelist and at that point their 3 drawer chest would have cost you £45.30 which is about £540 ! Obviously different VAT rates and other factors such as sizes but for around 20% more you could buy a much better quality Danish piece with better detailing and finish to the teak. However in the 1960’s and early 1970’s a 20% bigger spend made the difference between buying a middle of the range G Plan piece or a much poorer quality piece by Lebus or Stateroom . Today the difference in price levels between ordinary ( usually made in cheap labour countries ) to quality pieces made in the UK or Denmark is massive . We’re regularly buying Ladderax and there is plenty around in vintage condition ( with scratches , knocks etc ) but there are very few Cadovius or similar quality systems around .
The 2 main Danish rivals to Cadovius are the Kai Kristiansen system for Feldballe one in stock, follow the link.
and the cheaper PS system. We have had quite a few PS systems and have a catalogue , but no pricelist. PS is similar in design to the Royal system but the finish and quality is similar to Ladderax and it obviously was cheaper than Cadovius.
We buy and sell lots of Ladderax and it’s currently very popular , however the finish and design is such that it scratches and damages very easily and takes a lot of work to clean and restore very carefully . We have recently bought the Cado system in these photos along with a smaller office/desk system which will be listed soon.
It was in lovely vintage condition and cleaned so much more easily than Ladderax . However Ladderax doesn’t need a structural wall , and was sold as being possible to use as a freestanding room divider . Ladderax comes in different widths and is a lot easier to add to because there was so much made back in the day . If you can find the perfect Cadovius system we think it’s well worth the extra cost as its still only about 20% to 30% more expensive than fully re-furbished Ladderax .