The term derives from the popular name for an all-but-vanished American religious sect, whose members crafted honest, modest household furniture and objects as part of their belief in purposeful living and simplicity in all things. Within 50 years, the sect had established 19 self-sufficient communities from Maine to Kentucky, where they lived pure, humble and industrious lives.. The furniture and objects the Shakers made reflected their strict rules of behavior. Pieces such as ladder— and slat-back chairs and trestle tables were painstakingly crafted from native woods like maple and cherry, using traditional methods such as mortise-and-tenon and dovetail joinery and lathe turning.
The most recognizable style of Shaker chair is the traditional slat- or ladder-back version, but there were many types including those with Windsor styling and a rotating chair also known as a revolver. This community remained active until , according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which holds an impressive collection of Shaker furniture and home furnishings. Other Shaker villages made furniture, including chairs, solely for use in their homes and businesses and trade of these items remained within the confines of the communities. The Shakers produced the bulk of their furniture from to and continued producing chairs through the remainder of the s. By the community had drastically declined in numbers, and very little furniture was made thereafter. Chairs made by the Shakers followed form based on simple 18th-century designs, primarily Federal influences, including those seen in their Windsor and slat-back chairs. These chairs also had simple turned posts and woven seats.
When identifying antique chairs, it's important to have a basic knowledge of the significant design periods and the important types of chairs. A good place to start when identifying furniture is often to figure out what period it's from. You might not be able to tell what period the chair is from, but you can get a sense of what kind of chair it is and when it was made by identifying what chair type category it fits into. This in turn might help you trace it back to its period of origin. Read on to see photo examples of each of these chair types.
Learn how to take your home from blah to bananas. We're dishing on all the ways to bring chic and unique style to your space. Warning: Decorating with Chairish can be addictive. Nice shape Please see photos as they are considered part of the description