A vintage rocking chair can make an elegant addition to any room in your home. According to myrockingchairs.com, most vintage rocking chairs—in contrast to more modern-style rocking chairs—feature oversized seats and armrests, and are often engraved or painted with decorative patterns and designs. Some of the most popular styles include Windsor, Boston, Shaker, Bentwood, Hitchcock and Gungstol.
According to designboom.com, Windsor rocking chairs first began appearing during the early 18th century in and around the town of Windsor, England. The chairs, which were originally used as outdoor lawn or garden chairs, feature rounded, hoop-like backs and splayed (or outward-tapering) legs that fit directly into the seat bottoms. In the mid-18th century, the Windsor style came to North America, and craftsmen began making a few modifications. For example, the comb Windsor has a straight-topped back (resembling a comb), and the birdcage Windsor has no armrests.
Boston rocking chairs are a variation on the traditional Windsor style. According to designboom.com, New Englanders began producing the chairs during the mid-19th century. Boston chairs are characterized by tall, long-spindled backs, and seats that curve up in the back and down in the front. The armrests of Boston rockers typically mimic the curves of the seat.
The Shakers are a religious group that came to North American from Britain during the Revolutionary War. According to designboom.com, Shaker furniture is well-known for being symmetrical, functional, and simplistic in design, and this is no different when it comes to Shaker rocking chairs, which feature simple, ladder-like backs and flat, woven seats.
Bentwood rocking chairs are characterized by deep, low seats and are typically constructed from beech wood. According to vintagerockingchairs.com, Throne Brother Manufacturers first began producing the chairs in Vienna, Austria, during the mid-1800s. North American chair builders went on to imitate the style.
Lambert Hitchcock began building rocking chairs in western Connecticut in 1825, according to oldandsold.com. And while he produced several, varying styles, all share a few signature characteristics: curved tops; broad, gently curving back slats; and seats that are wider in the front than in the back, with straight sides and a rounded or rolled front edge.
According to designboom.com, Swedish craftsmen first began building Gungstol rocking chairs during the early 1800s (gungstol is the Swedish word for rocking chair). The original Gungstol style featured six legs, which would help support its two incredibly long, curved rocking planks. The more popular four-legged Gungstol models, however, eventually replaced the earlier type.