Published at Monday, April 02nd, 2018 - 03:58:15 AM. Balloon Chair. By Ernest Barnier.
Most chairs made in Australia before 1830 have saber-style front legs, some tapered and pegged (in an English provincial style), and others have turned front legs that were manufactured on a pole or treadle lathe. Machinery in the workshop at that time was very simple, driven by manpower in the form of a treadle or rotating flywheel: the job at hand was pretty well all hard slog. This period in our turbulent past of colonial cabinet-making is considered by all experts and connoisseur collectors alike as the only period worth collecting, as it was pure in style and as close to being completely hand-made as possible. Chairs of this period are mostly fitted with drop in seats and, on rare occasion, are caned below, allowing the seat to be removed for summer comfort. Chairs from this period are extremely hard to find.
This is article traces the history of commonly found Antique Australian chairs up until the end of the 19th Century. It discusses English design influences, chairmaker techniques, and the various styles including balloon-back, ladder-back, and rail-back styles. Chairs seem to be one of the least likely types of furniture to survive and become antiques and there are some important considerations to make when restoring antique chairs.
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