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Dating an antique rocking chair

Anyone can sign a chair, and if it is signed, does that mean it is old? A little history can solve many questions about Hitchcock chairs.Lambert Hitchcock was born in 1795 in Cheshire, Conn., to a family that had come to the Colonies 160 years earlier.His business was so successful he had to hire extra help.His output eventually became so great that he expanded his market to the South, shipping great quantities of chair parts to Charleston, S. But he still had the dream of producing complete, finished chairs. They are the small, rickety chairs with the rush or cane seats, usually painted black with a lot of leaves and flowers and fruit painted all over.Sometimes, they have solid seats that show a dark, natural wood surrounded by black paint and gold stripes and more leaves painted on the top of the back rail.

dating an antique rocking chair-17dating an antique rocking chair-16

But even if it is signed, how do you know if it is a real Hitchcock chair?

Pinstriping was done with paint, though never in gold. Gold was reserved for the banding that went only halfway around the turns in the legs. WARRANTED.” But here’s the catch: Unlike most Hitchcock stencils you may have seen, the original stencil did not have the “Ns” backward in “CONN.” That little glitch did not appear until 1832, when the company, after a run of bad luck, had been through receivership and emerged in a new corporate form known as the Hitchcock, Alford Co. WARRANTED.” This company was dissolved in 1843, and Hitchcock started a new chair company in Unionville, Conn., at which time his stencils incorporated that town’s name. In 1946, John Tarrant Kenney began to revive the company, and today the Hitchcock Chair Co. HITCHCOCK” stencil uses the backward “N’s”, something never seen in the original label.

By 1825, the company had a new home in a spacious three-story brick factory, built near the old one. The “Alford” was Arba Alford, Hitchcock’s brother-in-law. is once again in full swing, stenciling chairs in the original styling and using the wording of the original label. The other disparity is the presence of the circled “R” of the trademark registration of the name, which did not exist in Hitchcock’s day.

There’s a good reason for that, and it’s two words: founding fathers.

In North America, the Windsor chair form was first used in Philadelphia where the chair became hugely popular around the time of the Revolution.


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