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Rocking Chair

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Rocking Chair

Date: 1875
Medium: Elm, hard maple, original cloth-tape back, reproduction cloth-tape seat
Overall: 36 3/8 × 20 3/4 × 27 1/2in. (92.4 × 52.7 × 69.9cm)
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 86.68
Label Text
The design for this astonishingly simple rocking chair was patented in 1875. The form is stylistically indebted to Shaker design, and the manufacture of the chair has often been incorrectly attributed to Shaker craftsmen. In addition to adapting Shaker models, the Henry Seymour firm borrowed several of the Shakers' innovative marketing ideas. Like Shaker chairs, Seymour rockers were produced in graduated sizes, offered in a variety of stained colors, and presented in a selection of woven, cloth-tape seats.

The incorporation of bentwood elements on Seymour's rocker acknowledges his indebtedness to another firm, Thonet Brothers of Austria-Hungary, whose patent on bentwood furniture expired in 1860. Seymour was the first manufacturer in the United States to imitate Thonet's creations.