Published at Monday, April 02nd, 2018 - 03:59:31 AM. Balloon Chair. By Dylan Boutet.
The 1870s and 80s saw predominantly balloon-back chairs with a variation or the bar-back -the ladder-back chair. The ladder-back chair, although not all that pretty to look at in comparison with the others previously discussed, is probably the sturdiest of all cedar dining chairs, excluding provincial manufactured chairs utilising peg construction methods and leg stretchers. The ladder-back chair has two horizontal back rails that are tenoned into the rear legs, giving both strength and comfort at small sacrifice to style. Even though there were many of this style of chair manufactured, we have repaired surprisingly few with any major damage. We have seen many examples of these, both hard-seated and upholstered versions, usually with turned front legs. Another point worthy of mention is that the back legs are straighter, relying on nature to its fullest with less short grain, giving greater mechanical strength following a straighter line and therefore resulting in a stronger chair.
In my opinion, the second break-point in cabinet-making history is around 1835, when there were numerous changes in the styles of furniture influenced by many great designers. It was also the beginning of modern industrialisation, with the introduction of steam engines for power in the workshop, rather than horse-driven tread mills. This new technology drove a network of geared flat drive belts to give variations of speed used for rotating and band saws, and planers and lathes for cutting, planing, and turning timber for furniture manufacture. Also, our population was growing rapidly with barely enough skilled cabinetmakers to satisfy the growing demands of our young nation. The majority of chairs in this period were made with turned front legs, a convict (or trafalgar) style back and, occasionally, a carved back rail. The seats were often cane with a covered cushion for winter use and comfort; front seat rails were cross-grained on better quality chairs, as was sometimes the back rail. Drop in seats were also used in this period, but seldom seen after 1845.
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