Published at Friday, March 30th, 2018 - 19:37:49 PM. Balloon Chair. By Dylan Boutet.
In this same period, the balloon-back chair was also introduced, but not without problems as, again, the Australian cedar timber was not very kind to both designers and manufacturers alike. The balloon-back chair is certainly pleasing to the eye but, unfortunately, its weakness lies in where the balloon back joins the rear legs, along with the other problems that the traditional bar back may have had. They are an excellent chair but must certainly be treated with respect; that is, pick them up with both hands or by the back rail, not the splat. It only makes sense and, if considered, the balloon back chair must be weaker as the cresting rail (top rail) is often held with a single dowel on each side of the balloon as opposed to a tapered dovetail joint as seen on rail-back chairs of the period. These chairs mostly have turned legs, but occasionally the hoop and legs are carved; they were covered with sprung stuff over seats often in leather or simulated leather.
Well, at least they were 19th century! Unfortunately, with steadily increasing labour and material costs the era of the bodger (or chair-maker) was close to an end before the end of the 19th century. The end of truly hand-made chairs: mortised and tenoned without the aid of machinery; with turned and carved legs, sometimes even with carved back rails depending on the particular skills of the craftsman making them. Very few examples of Australian chairs with the Trafalgar-style back have carving on the actual cresting rails; these chairs, even as individuals, are eagerly sought and highly prized.
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