Up for sale is a Hitchcock chair from the early 1800s (1820-40 pre civil war). The turnings are not machine done and have an dull caved edge to them. This is one sign of defining an early pre-Industrial Age collectable.
Detailed pictures can be view: http://s910.photobucket.com/albums/ac301/HALO-TLC_Post/Chair/1800/C18-3
The Industrial age started in the 1830, and the chair could be dated within this mark plus or minus 20 years due to the different country manufacture leads in quality. It matches the make and style for 1840 or earlier. It is before the Civil War. A good tell tale mark for this fact is there are no penny nails. Steel was saved for horses and guns and the wood workers were so good at fitting joints. Presser was used in setting the joints.
The stenciled chairs are in demand. A good conditioned, re-stenciled chair brings a listing of 2K. This is surprising to me. I have not found an original stencil in mint shape, and most are re-touched. The process to re-stencil the very original is very tedious if traced properly and will justify the price. These chairs typically have pillow tops also known as bolster tops with slat backs.
If you are interested in Hitchcock chair parts, please do get in touch with me. The work on chairs is very tedious and sometimes does not pay in this economy. However the chairs do need restoring.
This chair has all its original parts. I glued every joint. You know a chair is old when there is a gap in the joint; with a slight rub this can turn the wood to dust over 150 years. If you are sold an antique that has shavings in the joints, the modifications have been done recently. If a shaving is 150 years old, it will fall apart as dust and the edge will not be an edge but a blunt butt. I love the old chairs for they are dense and rubbed smooth from use. When I got this chair, everything was loose. Now it is solid and firm.
Care needs to be taken if there are cracks in chairs, for oxidation will continue within the crack and in time place a chair in the obsolete pile. When I work on chairs, I fill all cracks.
I do recommend this chair for an active family. The reason for this is I rubbed a hard compound into the joints and it is solid. This chair has a nice multi layer of stressed paint which has protected it from the ages. There is a way to tell the difference in newly distressed paint and old distressed paint with the oxidation and worn separations of the layers. The separation of layers in a new paint will look like one layer on another. A aged distressed layer will be pressed in with valleys and peaks.
The price in the real surviving chairs is directly related to the utility of the chair. If it is old and can be used, it has a very good value.
The stencil free hand art on this chair is worn but vibrant with gold and aged colors. My best understanding of the art is it was painted around 1910. It is of wild strawberries. The paint looks like it is from this time and it is done well by someone who was not in the mass production of stencil art.
For a chair to survive the ages, it most likely survived because of multiple restoration phases. The original art on this chair would most likely have had a stencil touch more conservative in production. The fact this is a lone chair is simple, they do not survive every day use. This would be the chair that was in the corner not used, the extra one in the set of six with 4 active sitters. With time one chair of the last two was swapped in, so the lone chair survived. I have lots of antique lone chairs.
The art is well done and is of an antique age itself. The energy in the old days for making the chair took time when done by hand. Now chairs can be assembled fast by machines. A woodworker made the master's mark when his chairs survived use.
The chair has been in a controlled environment and well cared for. This chair is appraised over $600.
Overall height 34", Width 17", Depth 14-1/2", Seat height 17-1/2".
History for the Hitchcock chair:
In 1818, when sawmills buzzed in ConnecticutÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s river towns, a man named Lambert Hitchcock began to make chairs as no one ever had before. Back then, furniture was crafted one piece at a time. Hitchcock was a master woodworker, with a love of detail finessed by human hands. But he had seen what clock makers could do by machining many interchangeable parts. From them, he took his cue. From a sawmill and nearby wooden building at the fork of the Farmington and Still Rivers, Hitchcock began to mass-produce chair parts from maple, birch and oak forested nearby. At the same time, he brought his craft to a new pinnacle, using stenciling techniques that glowed with a miniaturistÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s artistry. The finishes (notably a luminous black) were fresh and new. Seat backs were given original shapes, and arms and legs new twists. In this way, Hitchcock mass-produced 15,000 chairs a year ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬ï¿½ yet every one looked ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã. . ."made to order." By 1825, Hitchcock shared ownership in a general store in the hamlet where his sawmill and shop had become the economic heart, fondly named ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã. . ."Hitchcocks-ville ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¯Â¿Â½ by the villagers. In the same year, he built his large brick factory and established a chair.
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About myself: I am a retired Material Science Engineer (B.S.) and during my earlier years I restored sculptures at the Hirshhorn Museum within the Smithsonian. I have a Bachelors of Science with Material Science and Industrial Arts. The example you see here is a job I did this year. My specialty is wood furniture and I can do jobs right outside your front or back porch. Garages do well for the winter. Send me your location and a description of your item and I will give you a free quote. I do finishing, color matching, hand stripping, fabrication, replacement of parts, touch-up details, and stain removal. Feel free to check on my new jobs that I will feature here.
Heartwood Antiques Listed On-line & TLC Services (540-623-8223)