The design was more suitable for use around the dining table than the fan-back chair’s, as the round back economized on space—an important consideration in an era when families tended to be large. If you are unsure whether the chair is a reproduction or original, look for signs of age or newness. Oak was the Windsor chairmaker’s principal choice for bentwork, as indicated in the crest piece, which exhibits the distinctive figure of that wood. The introduction of bamboo-style turnings in Philadelphia is discussed in Evans. Private collection; photography courtesy of Winterthur Museum. Most people have encountered a contemporary Windsor chair, as the light, easy-to-carry English design has been reproduced for centuries. The Windsor chair originated in England during the early eighteenth century. Here are some of them. The first name associated with the new form was “Forest Chair.” Nancy Goyne Evans. AntiquesandFineArt.com. 1: Low-back Windsor armchair, Philadelphia, PA, ca. H. 44 5/8", W. (seat) 25 3/8", D. (seat) 16". High-back and low-back Windsors, which evolved together, are similar to the point of the arm rail. Figure 5, from the shop of William Seaver (active 1793–1837), typifies the fine quality of many Boston Windsors of the 1790s. 1760–1770. Windsor Chairs, An Illustrated Handbook, by Wallace Nutting [leading New England authority], 1917. Because the weight of the sitter is concentrated in the low back, a heavy, three-part, sawed and shaped arm rail maintains structural strength. Maple and cherry furniture are usually American. Yellow poplar (seat) with maple, oak, and hickory. Study the chair's composition. They were introduced to America in the 1720s. (2 copies). Windsor chairs are still being made in the traditional way today. The number of spindles in the back is a good gauge of age: The more there are, the older the chair. Philadelphia and Rhode Island fan-back Windsor chairs are discussed in Evans. For example, if the joints don't match up and the piece looks shoddily assembled, it's most likely a reproduction. Significant Furniture Design Periods. She enjoys exploring foreign locales and hiking off the beaten path stateside, snapping pics of wildlife and nature instead of selfies. She failed to have some intention of receiving it printed while writing. Anne. Windsor chairs were an ergonomic design development in their day. In the 1800s, this stamp was often placed under the seat or inside a back leg. Others sat on stools and benches. Windsor chairs were first made in the 18th century, but examples made before 1790 are rare. Use this guide to learn how to identify the different styles. Sometimes style is enough to tell how old a chair is, especially if that style was only popular for a short time. Antique chairs have a distinctive appearance, even when compared to exact replicas, especially when you look at the results of long use and age on the antique chair. 3 (left): Sack-back Windsor armchair, possibly by Thomas Ash I and William Ash I (active 1783–1794), New York City, ca. Kathy Adams is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer who traveled the world handling numerous duties for music artists. An old Windsor rocking chair will show the signs of use that come with age. After the 1830s, cushion designed advanced a bit and included springs, padding and webbing. An example of an English or Victorian style rocking chair is the Windsor. The development of the continuous-bow pattern is discussed in Evans. If it’s the same as the rest of the piece, it’s probably a reproduction. Research Windsor chairs. 1. Furniture - Chairs - 1800-1899 Category List of Antiques, With Information and Images (Page 3) (4 vols) Books on Windsor Chairs Nutting. One of the greatest telltale signs of a chair's age include the markings or tags left by the manufacturer. ... Windsor chair. NY: Deerfield, 7). 1783–1790. The Windsor chair originated in England during the early eighteenth century. In general, Windsor chairs were made of usually three different woods for structural and design reasons. In England, 19th century Windsor chairs were usually unfinished and waxed, whereas in America, Windsor chairs were usually painted. Following area work, the bow face is finished with a deep, broad channel. Technically, an antique is a piece of furniture with special value because of its age, particularly those pieces embellished with fine artistry. After finding a few, you'll likely be able to narrow down the general era the chair was made. The early English settlers introduced the Windsor chair to the United States in the 1700s and various American designs have since evolved on this classic chair. Check the bottoms of chairs and drawers to look for different wood types. Generally, the older chairs will have the most spindles. 3. The saddled seat of white pine is modeled at the front corners with cushioned surfaces above rising edges. Fig. A Windsor chair is a chair built with a solid wooden seat into which the chair-back and legs are round-tenoned, or pushed into drilled holes, in contrast to standard chairs (whose back legs and back uprights are continuous).The seats of Windsor chairs were often carved into a shallow dish or saddle shape for comfort. Philadelphia and New York City sack-back Windsor chairs are discussed in Evans. She writes travel and budgeting tips and destination guides for USA Today, Travelocity and ForRent, among others. Those may interest you: Identifying the age of Thonet chairs and other Thonet furniture. Windsor chairs were made in a wide range of styles and there are distinct regional variations from all over Britain and the USA where the form was equally popular. Identifying the material stuffed into seat cushions helps identify a chair's age, but it's possible a chair was revamped somewhere along the way, with the original seat padding exchanged for updated fillers. 1785–1790. The earliest American Windsor chair known is a red-painted Philadelphia example that dates from about 1720. I hope all my thoughts will prove useful, and you’ll find what you’re looking for! Elizabethan (1520–1620) Early American Style (1640–1700) Antique furniture styles are still in use today and many reproductions exist. The chairs are named for the shape of the back. On the end wall of that space this vintage breakfront secretary with bubble glass now sits. The chair has evolved greatly since that time, with numerous styles and materials from which to choose. Introduced in Philadelphia in the mid-1780s, the new pattern was being made in all production centers within a few years. If the chair is painted, the paint may be crackled or peeling and even worn through to the bare wood in spots. White pine (seat) with birch and other woods. It fits so well, it looks like it was made for the space. 5). Feb 21, 2015 - If you need help identifying windsor chairs, then you have come to the right place. The goal of this lens is to be a guide for the identification of both antique windsor chairs and the more modern varieties as well. In the entry area of our living room, in our 100 year old house by the stairway, is a small sectioned off part of the room. Examine the chair’s construction. The portraits noted in this paragraph are discussed in Evans. Sometime during the 18th century, chair makers decided that fluffy armchairs would be more comfortable than the bench-style seats that had been in fashion up to that time. The name high-back was current in the colonial period; comb-back is a more recent term. Wood shrinks with time, loosening joints, and use often wears hand carvings and embellishments smooth. A chair with mahogany parts can be dated to the late 19th century because mahogany was difficult to obtain before then. “The chair arrived yesterday without any problems and I am absolutely satisfied! Windsor Chairs The finished American Windsor chair is truly a functional work of art, built to last many years and destined to become a cherished heirloom. Study the construction. ... Windsor Rocking Chair. H. 27 3/4", W. (arms) 28 1/2", D. (seat) 17". Their program of classes was recognized throughout the … Beware of furniture that’s made to look old. Although high-back Windsor armchairs were being made in Philadelphia by the mid-1740s, the refined models commonly associated with the design were not introduced to the local market until after 1750 (Fig. // Ormsbee. H. 36 1/4", W. (crest) 21 1/16", D. (seat) 15 1/2". Every chair has its own story to tell. The Philadelphia high-back Windsor chair is discussed in Evans. There are some ways to identify the age of Windsor chairs. Fig. Look at images of chairs similar to yours online if you are unsure when your chair was manufactured. The spindled backs come in several heights and shapes too, and that feature usually identifies Windsor chairs: "low back," "comb back," "bow back," for example. Courtesy of Winterthur Museum. When identifying antique chairs, it's important to have a basic knowledge of the significant design periods and the important types of chairs. When trying to identify antique furniture, dedicated antique hunters search for beautifully preserved pieces, armed with pins, magnifying glasses, spirit levels and all sorts of testing equipment. Difference Between a Sofa and a Davenport, How to Tell the Age of a Thonet Bentwood Wicker Rocker, Mental Floss: Screw This, Screw That: Why We Have Different Types of Screws. 1795–1800. 2). An early 19th century child's low back yew Windsor chair by Nicholson of Rockley. For example, an olive green recliner with yellow or orange flowers is most likely from the late 1960s to 1970s, as that type of print and color combination hasn't come back into fashion -- yet. The Philadelphia low-back Windsor chair is discussed in Evans. All rights reserved. Yellow poplar (seat) with maple and oak. It was made in the early 19th century in Massachusetts. For example, a chair that is supposedly original, unrefinished and from the 1800s should not smell like fresh varnish or upholstery. Modern upholstered chairs may feature a tag listing both manufacturer and serial number or design name, which can be looked up on the manufacturer's website or on collector websites. He had made Windsor chairs for 45 years. Identifying Antique Furniture or Good Reproductions. There may be more than one layer, indicating it has been painted many times over the years. Determining the age of a chair is sometimes as simple as finding maker's marks underneath; other times, a good deal of research is required, especially since some popular chair styles have been reproduced for generations. An important key to knowing a chair's story is finding its age. If every journey begins with a single step, the road to antique furniture knowledge can start with a foot—specifically, the antique foot style belonging to a chair, chest or table.. Identifying antique furniture feet can help determine the approximate age of a piece, along with the period in which it was made, helping you research and value antique pieces more skillfully. Federal – Early 19th century. This is a birdcage Windsor with rockers that may have been added. In pre-Revolutionary years Philadelphia work commonly contained carved crest terminals with large volutes resembling those in formal Queen Anne chairs. Visit museums that feature exhibits on early American life. MA: Old America, 1917. Yellow poplar (seat) with maple, oak, hickory, and ash. Windsor chairs were crafted from a variety of woods like pine and birch, with more than one type used in a single chair. Mass-produced chairs from the 19th century to modern times are often stamped with a manufacturer's mark. Windsors come in a variety of styles, including armchairs, side chairs, rockers, and - as many students of a certain age remember - writing chairs. Other chairs hold a quiet mystery that needs to be coaxed into a story, one whisper at a time. H. 37 3/8", W. (seat) 17 1/2", D. (seat) 16 1/16". The basic low-back form is that of a roundabout, or corner, chair adapted from formal design to stick-and-socket construction. Windsor chairs offer a little more help. In the early 1700’s rocking chairs made of wicker were very popular in America. Fine antique dealers consider objects 150 years and older to be antique. The cylindrical-style rings of the medial stretcher were also exclusive to the Boston area. Traditional Chairs- Helpful Tips To Identifying Classic Windsor Chair Designs. The age factor is subjective: general antique stores label objects 50 years or older as antiques. 1755–1760. 63.673. The ogee-curved arm pieces bring together the ends of the heavy back rail using lap joints secured with rosehead nails or wooden pins. Scattered soling. The leg profile is a Boston signature, with its short, bulbous baluster, thick ring, and swelled-taper foot, the last of these having been adapted from Rhode Island work (Fig. Yellow poplar (seat) with maple and other woods. Before you can accurately determine the age of a Windsor chair, it is imperative that you do your homework. Taking inspiration from the earlier American styles, this chair has a more elegant and dainty design. Early Windsors, late 18th century and very early 19th century, had a single plank for a seat, with the grain running from side to side. Nine spindles is a very old chair. Clues can indicate the date that a chair … Chairs as we know them have been around since at least the 1700s. Fig. A Lesson in Identifying Furniture Age. The development of the Windsor chair reflected a growing understanding that chairs with shaped seats and curved backs suited the human body better than the older style chairs. Private collection; photography by Winterthur Museum. Private collection; photography courtesy of Winterthur Museum. Traditionally, the legs and uprights were usually turned on a pole lathe. Jan 19, 2015 - There are many different types of antique chairs, and each has a unique appearance. Chairs that have nails with uneven heads are older than chairs that might use machine-made nails from the 19th or 20th centuries. A sack-back windsor arm chair in mixed woods with a chestnut seat on baluster and turned tapering legs. Unlike other chairs of contemporary date, which have open seat frames to receive upholstery or a woven bottom, the Windsor has a solid plank seat. Some useful clues can be found in the construction and composition of the seat. English Style Rocking Chairs. Originally, they were made by attaching rockers to a standard Windsor chair. From the early 1700s to early 1800s, Windsor chairs were in widespread use in rural parts of England and known as garden chairs. Each expository composition will probably have certain aim. American Windsors. Some antique chairs have obvious stories, told in a loud voice. Private collection; photography courtesy of Winterthur Museum. Identifying the Age of a Rocking Chair Through Materials. In the 1900s, synthetic materials such as upholstery foam and fiberfill entered the scene. Before that, the chair was essentially a stool with a back, and only the head of the house or the upper echelon of society sat in them. Copyright ©2021. H. 37 5/8", W. (seat) 20 1/2", D. (seat) 17 3/4". 64.1526. In 1994 he and his wife Susanna gave the craft a permanent home when they opened a school named ‘The Windsor Institute’. A good place to start when identifying furniture is often to figure out what period it's from. 6 (left): Bow-back Windsor armchair, branded by Joseph Henzey (1743–1796), Philadelphia, PA, ca. Fig. Phillips screws shouldn't be anywhere on the chair if it is truly old as these have been around only since the 1930s. Fig. The bread and butter of the Windsor trade in the 1790s was the bow-back side chair (Fig. Talk to dealers and collectors. Most high-back chairs have a lightweight steamed and bent arm rail that provides adequate support, as the sitter’s weight is distributed along the entire length of the tall back. The modeled tips of the back rail provide a smooth visual transition between the planes of the arms and the rail top. H. 34", W. (arms) 24 1/2", D. (seat) 16 1/4". And in America, Windsor chairs were the seat of choice for the founding fathers. 2. What do stamped numbers mean on antique furniture? (4 vols) Books on Windsor Chairs Nutting. H-stretcher and saddle seat. When you're trying to determine the age of an antique, take a look at these parts and look for tool marks, slight variances in size and shape, and elongation of round parts (round wood contracts across the grain, resulting in an oval shape after time). William Cox bill to Stephen Girard, April 28, 1786, Girard Papers, Girard College, Philadelphia, PA (microfilm, American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia). February 8, 2016. As the principal unit of construction, the Windsor plank fastens the turned and shaved members of the chair back and base, although the two structures are independent of one another. (For the connoisseurs: It has style characteristics of William and Mary chairs.) Philadelphia bow-back Windsor chairs are discussed in Evans. The Windsor Chair. 4 (right): Fan-back Windsor side chair, Rhode Island, ca. Beginning in 1980 he taught Windsor chair-making around the United States and Canada. Yellow poplar (seat) with maple, oak, and hickory. Unlike other chairs of contemporary date, which have open seat frames to receive upholstery or a woven bottom, the Windsor has a solid plank seat. There are even Windsor settees. Likewise, mid-century molded fiberglass chairs -- popularized by Charles and Ray Eames paired with manufacturer Herman Miller -- still influence plastic chair design, yet are distinguishable by their thin metal legs and noticeable fiberglass fibers. Courtesy of Winterthur Museum. 5: Bow-back Windsor side chair, branded by William Seaver (active 1793–1837), Boston, MA, ca. Boston bow-back Windsor chairs and the work of William Seaver are discussed in Evans. One of the greatest telltale signs of a chair's age include the markings or tags left by the manufacturer. 1790–1800. Early armchairs often had loose seat cushions stuffed with feathers. But since this particular design goes back to the 1700s, the earliest Windsors fetch big bucks, selling for $3,000-$5,000 apiece. The Windsor chair was introduced in England in the late 17th century, and it was about 50 years later, around 1730, that the first American Windsor chairs were made in If you need help identifying windsor chairs, then you have come to the right place. © Copyright 2020 Hearst Communications, Inc. 2: High-back Windsor armchair, Philadelphia, PA, ca. The color of paint matters, so see which painted colors to look for. 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