Published at Monday, April 02nd, 2018 - 03:55:50 AM. Balloon Chair. By Ernest Barnier.
Chairs seem to be one of the least likely types of furniture to survive, when you hear stories like, "one chair broke and granny threw it down the well years ago", or "when the leg broke we used it for fire wood". When it comes to restoring a chair, people object to the price, saying "it's too much", or "it's not worth it!" There must have been more chairs manufactured than any other item, as they were usually purchased in at least a set of four, yet few examples survive. Quite often, old chairs had very harsh repairs carried out on them: large screws for strengthening joints; steel straps nailed to the legs and side rails, often on the polished faces; large wood blocks glued in or large hunks of wood nailed on for extra strength; and the odd nail that often looks more like a railway spike - all of this plus a good slurp of glue just for luck. A lot of this type of damage, under many layers of upholstery, hides a surprise for the restorer. Trying to get a chair like this apart, repaired and re-glued is a nightmare. Very few chairs have escaped without some type of makeshift or bandaid repair. Full sets of chairs are scarce, and one must accept the concept of a harlequin set or a mixture of complementing chairs to fulfill one's chair requirements.
I consider the third break-point to be around about 1850, with only but minor changes in style but significant change in quality. The seats used a solid piece of cedar approximately 1/2 an inch thick, and this style carried on almost until the end of the 1860's and, in some areas, until the turn of the century. Usually there was no ornamentation other than the turned front legs, and we began to see sprung fixed seats with stuff over upholstery.
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