Need Help Identifying Child's Rocker

vistavinoNovember 19, 2013

I'm trying to determine the age of this child's rocker. Value too. It was given to me by a rather elderly lady who said it was passed down to her from her mother. She said it was made in Michigan and it's very old. That's about all I know. It appears to hand made vs. machine made but I'm not certain. There are no nails or screws. It's all wood construction. Any help is appreciated.

Here is a link that might be useful: More Photos

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Great little rocker ... but that style has been popular for so long that it's impossible to date it without finding a sticker or makers mark. Best guess would be to take the "rather elderly" woman's age and assume her mom got it as a baby gift early in her mom's married life.

If "rather elderly" to you is 70, that only gets you to the 1940s.

It's based on the popular "Windsor chair" that dates back to the 1700s.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 3:49PM
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Thanks. I could not find any sticker or markers mark. The woman who gave it to me was in her early 80's at the time. Her mother died about 4 years ago and was 104 years old. I thought of dating it to around her mother's birth, however, this woman and her mother were both born in the UK. They moved to the midwest later in life as adults. Given the comment that it was from Michigan, I'm assuming the mother bought it as an adult in the midwest. Based on the wear marks on the finish I think it may have gone through multiple generations. Or a a lesser amount of generations but with a lot of kids.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 4:14PM
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Can you tell what wood (or woods) it is made of?

How many pieces of wood make up the seat? One? Or several strips? (How many?)

If there are saw marks on the bottom of the seat, are they straight or arced?

How thick is the seat at its thickest?

The front legs go through the seat, showing as a "peg" on top. This is typical of older Windsor chairs. More modern ones usually do not go all the way through. Also, the way the rocker is attached to the bottom of the leg is how it was done early on: The leg is notched and the rocker fitted into it.

So it could be very old. However, accurate reproductions were also made -- on the other hand, they tend to be high-quality. Cheaper ones wouldn't have the seat "pegs" and the foot of the leg would be inserted into a hole in the rocker.

On to the Michigan bit: Primetime for Michigan's furniture industry was late 1800s-early 1900s. This is not typical of those pieces. It is possible that it was made in Michigan, of course, but also possible it was not.

It's almost impossible to tell from photographs whether this is a really old (several centuries) chair or one that is much more recent, but still good quality. You will need to take it to an an expert who specializes in early American furniture to find out.

You want an off-the-cuff guess? 1840s. But that is sheer wild speculation on my part. It could be much older or much newer.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 8:12PM
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Thank you for responding. Unfortunately I have no idea what the wood type is. The seat has 4 planks joined by 3 pegs. I see circular saw marks at the cut on the face of the base. The base of the seat is about 1.25 inches at it's thickest. The front legs do not go all the way through the base. My off-the-cuff guess is 1900-1910 or 1840-1860. I'll see if I can get more clues from the woman who gave it to me and will let you know what she says.

Here is a link that might be useful: rocker photos

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 10:14PM
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seat base construction with pegs

Here is a link that might be useful: seat base construction

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 10:23PM
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It smells like 1900-1910, but something tells me it's older. I'm stumped!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 10:33PM
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Ok - so on a 2nd passing, it looks like the swirls may be brush strokes in the shellac. The face of the cut side looks straight.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2013 at 11:14PM
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The wood used was like walnut wood. The design was like 1900.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 12:53AM
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sounds about right.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2013 at 1:22AM
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