Hitchcock Chair

A classical American-styled chair once in nearly every household was the ‘Hitchcock Chair’. It was developed by Lambert Hitchcock in Connecticut in 1819 in his chair factory. This early 1800s time period is known as the ‘Federal Era’ style furniture. Lambert Hitchcock came up with the method of making the parts of a chair and later developed kits for individuals to assembly their own chairs. So pieces or parts of a chair were mass-produced and then fitted together to form the chairs all looking when finished as if the one chair was made totally by hand.

Another item Hitchcock added was adding stenciled designs to the upper portion of the chair instead of carving designs. The stencils centered on leaves or flowers. Some had patriotic eagles, country scenes or baskets of fruits. His chairs were usually black, dark brown or forest green with lighter or gold-colored stencils. The chairs were so popular right away that by the late 1820s (10 years) he was producing 15,000 chairs a year.

He also made rockers, armchairs, full settees and Windsor-style chairs. The seats of his chairs were made from cane, making the seat comfortable. His style of manufacturing chairs made them very affordable to the public. The average cost in the early 1800s for a Hitchcock chair would be $1.50.

Lambert Hitchcock died in 1852, and various people over the years have operated the business. The Hitchcock Chair Company remained in business until 2006. They placed their company name with the word ‘Warranted’ on the back wood portion of the seat. The value of true vintage Hitchcock chairs can be $300 to $1,000 depending on the condition and style.

Check any family chairs, you just might have a Hitchcock chair. They can be found in antique stores, estate sales and auctions. It is a great piece to add to any home.

Photo: Hitchcock Chair

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