Continuing our look at the history of American made furniture, today we’ll look at Shaker furniture which came about in the same era as Empire style. The Shaker style is a simple, utilitarian style characterized by straight tapered legs, woven chair seats, and mushroom-shaped wooden knobs. It was produced by the religious group the United Society of Believers in self-contained communities in the United States.
The Shakers came to America from Manchester, England in 1774 and Shaker designs were inspired by the ascetic religious beliefs of the Society. Shakers made furniture for their own use, as well as for sale to the general public. Many examples of Shaker furniture survive and are preserved today, including such popular forms as Shaker tables, chairs, rocking chairs (made in several sizes), and cabinets. Collections of Shaker furniture are maintained by many art and historical museums in the United States and England, as well as in numerous private collections. The underlying principles of Shaker design have given inspiration to some of the finest designers of modern furniture. Also many ideals of furniture formed around the common Shaker furniture construction.
Below you’ll find some examples of Shaker furniture that you may have seen before:
And if you’re really interested in the Shaker movement, you can visit this website to see a style guide that goes into detail about each aspect of the Shaker styles!