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Monday, November 12, 2012

Are You A Rocker?



A 6- legged gungstols ( the swedish gungstol means rocking chair) were made between the early 1800's until the mid 1870's


Many years back on a visit to my parents’ home in Conn., I spied the chair hanging from the rafters in my Dad’s garage. Immediately it brought back visions of my Mom rocking the littlest sister. I asked if I could have it and my 
Dad graciously dismantled it to fit in the trunk of my car.

Once home, i called on my husband expertise to reassemble the chair. With a new paint of mint green, it took its prominent space in the new nursery where it eventually got plenty of use.  Now that my kids are grown and with no grandchildren nearby to need its services, It is now collecting dust in the barn’s upper floor. As I rummaged about up there one day last week, seeing it brought back memories and stirred my curiosity about the history of this unusual piece of furniture.

A rocking chair or rocker is a type of chair with two curved bands of wood (also known as rockers attached to the bottom of the legs (one on the left two legs and one on the right two legs)). The chair contacts with the floor at only two points, giving the occupant the ability to rock back and forth by shifting his/her weight or pushing lightly with his/her feet.

Though Benjamin Franklin is thought to be the inventor of the rocking chair there is no historical evidence of this. They began life originally used in gardens and were just ordinary chairs with two rockers at their bottoms. The bow-spindle-backed chair, known as the Windsor Chair, seems to have originated near Windsor castle in England in the early to mid 1700's. These rocking chairs featured a round hoop back, a birdcage (with spindles known for its cage-like appearance), and a comb-back (with comb-shaped head rest).

Historians can only trace the rocking chair's origins to North America during the early 18th century.
The American Windsor rockers were introduced to the American colonies around 1750 and evolved into many different variations. Michael Thonet, a German craftsman, created the first bentwood rocking chair in 1860. This design is distinguished by its graceful shape and its light weight.

President John F. Kennedy made the P&P Chair Company rocker famous. The President was prescribed swimming and use of a rocking chair by his physician in 1955 because the President suffered from lingering back problems. The Kennedy Rocking Chair is shaped, stem-bent and assembled while green according to the original design.


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