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I was browsing the aisles at a local thrift store and saw this chair from a distance. At first I dismissed it thinking they would want too much for it, even in its state of disrepair.
When I finally worked my way to it. I saw the price was too good to not give this a go, even if it isn't worth a fortune.
That said, I've looked through thousands of pictures on Google and can't find an image that matches even most of the attributes of this chair based on my search terms "platform rocker", "spring rocker", etc.
Anyone have an idea of what style this is and how old it might be?
Any suggestions for what to do as a restorative project?
While I have yet to locate something very similar, the first name I thought of is Huntzinger. Eastlake, as well, but I usually think of them as being more ornate, even though they have similar designs. It looks rather Victorian, but there is still more research to be done to be sure.
I am sure you are focusing on the top panel on the back as a distinguishing feature for reference, and that I have not come across yet. I looked at the fact that the arms were not supported by the additional "bar" that is usually there on the side at a 45 degree angle, or so.
Get some of the others to provide the correct terminology but, it is a start.
You're definitely on the right track with the term platform rocker. Your chair is generally Eastlake in style (1880s-90s), with the pierced quatrefoils adding a Gothic touch. It looks to be a mass-produced chair. Many small towns during that period were known for manufacturing everyday furniture like this; Elbridge, New York and Jamestown, New York being two examples near me. It was probably inspired by Hunzinger platform rockers, but I really doubt this is one of them. Hunzingers are usually clearly marked. I think in its day the chair would have made the most sense in a cottage or a modest parlor.
In terms of restoration, I like the roached-out look of it. The wood has wear marks in all the right places. If it were my chair, I'd reupholster it with a William Morris-style fabric, clean the wood with a damp cloth, and leave the finish as-is. You could really bring some life into it by rubbing some paste wax over top of the finish.
Platform rocking chair is the correct name. The spring mechanism that made these possible was initially patented in the late 1800's (1889 was the first I saw, though there could be earlier). They were fairly popular and continued to be made into the early 1900's, which is when I think the style of this one probably was made (agree with Molly and LB it does have some Eastlake decorative elements but also a mix of other styles). You should check the spring mechanism for stamped patent numbers - that could lead you to what company made it and about when.
I don't like them and have never owned one because I consider the rocking mechanism dangerous. I was a very curious kid, and it looks far too easy for a child to reach down and place his finger in the rocker causing injury. I wouldn't keep it in your house if you have young kids. I don't know why they are no longer made, whether it was that danger or just that they went out of fashion in mid 20th century.
Thank you all so much for the info. The quatrefoil is definitely what is throwing me off in finding a closer match. I will take a look at the springs and try to post a picture of the bottom as well this evening.