Friday, September 24

A fancy chair for your fancy pants

Most Hitchcock or "fancy chairs" were painted black or dark green and were decorated by a process using stencils and rubbing a bronzing powder into a tacky finish coat. The result was a lustrous design that came to signify Hitchcock’s work. Pin striping was done with paint, though never in gold. Striping was of yellow ocher. Gold was reserved for the banding, which went only half way around the turns in the legs. The chairs have rush or cane seats and sometimes an identifying stencil located on the back edge of the seat.
A bit of history...In 1818, Connecticut born Lambert Hitchcock went to work in a local sawmill after an apprenticeship under a woodworker. During his apprenticeship Hitchcock had been influenced by Eli Terry (a clockmaker who used an assembly line process to make cheaper wooden parts for clocks to replace expensive brass parts, this allowed him to reach a wider market). In a small shed connected to the sawmill, Hitchcock began making unfinished individual chair components which he sold to mercantile stores as replacements for broken chairs. 

By 1820 Hitchcock began manufacturing entire chairs using the assembly line. Painted dark (instead of using dark polished woods) and stenciled (instead of carved or inlaid), they were fancy chairs for ordinary people. 
In spring of this year the Hitchcock Chair Company opened its doors with the intent of crafting new fancy chairs for us all. 

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