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Centripetal Spring Chair

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Centripetal Spring Chair

Design attributed to: Thomas E. Warren (born 1808; active 1849-1853)

Manufacture Attributed to: American Chair Company (active Troy, New York, 1829-1858)

Date: 1849-1858
Medium: Cast iron, steel, hard maple, birch, yellow-poplar, basswood, brass, paint, reproduction upholstery
Overall: 32 × 23 1/2 × 23 1/2in. (81.3 × 59.7 × 59.7cm)
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 86.33
Label Text
Centripetal chairs combine seemingly contradictory design elements. C-shaped, steel springs and cast iron components are unlikely partners with the decorative painting and rich upholstery. The curved metal back (painted to simulate rosewood on this example) and foliate details emulated more expensive Rococo-style parlor furniture such as that produced in the New York City shop of John Henry Belter. The luxuriant fabric and Rococo Revival details resulted in a chair that was suitable for use in the formal rooms of a house. Thomas Warren's centripetal spring chairs, which tilt and swivel, were among the earliest examples of experimental seating forms to be commercially produced.