The rocking chair is one of those items that has become very iconic over the past few centuries. People have been using rocking chairs to relax, and unwind, and this is a staple item for the 19th century as you can see in many photos. It’s a cool, unique, and interesting item that a lot of people appreciate and enjoy using. Which brings us to the question, who is the inventor of the rocking chair and why do people love these items? Let’s find out.
Who invented the rocking chair?
What’s very interesting to note is that the rocking chair was not added to the Oxford English dictionary for a long time. In fact, its addition date is 1787. And when the rocking chair was eventually included in the dictionary, the person credited for its invention was Benjamin Franklin, with the invention date being 1710.
With that in mind, that credit is just official. What we don’t know is who actually created the first rocking chair. We only know that farmers and cabinet makers did this well before Franklin did. But Franklin ended up being the person taking credit for the invention and finalizing it, which is quite an interesting thing, to say the least.
The history of the rocking chair
Another important thing to keep in mind is that the first rocking chairs were mostly in the North American region. With that in mind, in 1725 these started appearing in England. At first, they had wicker rocking chairs and those became very popular, especially during the middle of the 1700s. Not only that, but the white rockers were famous for their unique designs. It also allowed craftsmen to try out something new and different, while also implementing unique and impressive solutions. It was stuff like that which really made a difference.
However, there is another invention in the rocking chair world that became very iconic, and that’s the first steel-based rocking chair. This one was invented during the 1830s by Peter Cooper. He was an inventor and industrialist and he showcased his creation in 1851 at the Crystal Palace Exhibition. But the creations continued, to the point where there was also bentwood rocking chairs created.
These bentwood chairs were created by a German craftsman named Michael Thonet. He created that in 1860 and he was able to maintain a stunning shape and design. Yet at the same time, the unit was still very light, which obviously impressed a lot of people since things like this were not exactly possible until that point, and it was what really started impressing people more and more all the time. His bentwood chairs had inspiration from ancient Greece and Rome, but also the colonial era designs. So they were bringing historical features, while also implementing something very impressive and engaging at the same time.
It was around 1920 when folding rocking chairs became very appealing. It mostly had to do with the fact that you could fold and take them with you as you travel. Not only that, but you could also have them outside and then bring them inside without a problem. The invention was great and obviously, a lot of people started using these more and more.
Then we have Sam Maloof, a US-based craftsman which made his own spin on the rocking chair during the 50s. What he did was he started making these rocking chairs more durable, and he also implemented a rather deluxe, very distinctive appearance. It allowed him to bring in something new and creative, while also eliminating a lot of the potential pressure and challenges that some people faced when using these.
Maloof was able to create rocking chairs with rockers in the form of a ski. He also had a multitude of other designs, and he was able to constantly implement something new and engaging, while also allowing a lot of creative, fun features to be added into the mix all the time.
Is the rocking chair a truly American invention?
The reality is that yes, while there are various rocking chair styles in the US, the first designs appeared in North America, and then eventually they were imported and customized in Europe. Of course, some designs like the chaise lounges were from Europe. It’s safe to say that more and more people in Europe started liking these rocking chairs, and they were implementing all kinds of clever and fun designs, which were very appealing at that time.
But why do people think that Benjamin Franklin is the one that invented the rocking chair? People say that he invented it for his wife named Deborah. She was very focused on crafting and creating things but also wanted to relax and unwind. So the legend says that Franklin wanted to create an item and gift it to her. The rocking chair that he created was a gift for their anniversary. It seems that she liked it so much that she presented it to other people and that’s how the craze started.
His wife was able to rock the babies, read books, and so on. It was definitely a very interesting item and one that really made a difference for her. It was exactly what was needed in her case, and the results themselves were nothing short of incredible. That goes to show the uniqueness of the design, but at the same time, there were some places where such a design could have been improved. And that’s why a lot of people appreciated that unique and cool design too.
His design was very popular to the point where he was able to do more than 100 copies of the original during his lifetime. But Franklin continued to work on new designs until 1790 when he passed away. So yes, he was a very passionate inventor and always wanted to improve upon his design. As you can see, many others continued his work and wanted to innovate, which is why we have so many different designs and rocking chair styles.
Rocking Chair Application
What is rocking chairs used for? You will see a lot of cool designs, but the question that a lot of people have is what exactly would you use a rocking chair for? The truth is that there are indeed a plethora of applications, depending on the situation.
- Most people use the rocking chair as a way to relax and unwind. They want to eliminate stress and anxiety, so they want to focus on doing that in a way that’s clever, immersive, and enjoyable.
- Rocking chairs are also great for mothers that want to soothe their child and take good care of him. In fact, the first rocking chair created by Franklin for his wife was made specifically for soothing his kids and helping put them to sleep much faster than normal.
- It was also a very good way to eliminate frustration and stress. There were a lot of challenges to deal with on a daily basis, so having a place where you would eliminate stress and just enjoy some downtime was extremely important at that particular time.
- A lot of people use rocking chairs for reading. It’s very useful and it does bring in an exciting and immersive experience. At the end of the day, this is clever and fun, and it pushes the boundaries while making things simple and convenient.
- It can also be used to eliminate pain and anxiety. Some people use it as an anti-depressant and it works very well. In many situations, you can end up dealing with anxiety or even pain, so having a seamless way to get rid of that comes in handy, and you will be very happy with the process and results in doing so.
- Mood improvements can also be achieved if you use a rocking chair. This is why a lot of people just want to step away from their day-to-day life and focus on their health and well-being for a change. Boosting your mood can be hard to do, but with this type of item you can actively achieve what you have in mind and it’s totally worth it, just give it a try for yourself and you will see.
- Schools also tend to use rocking chairs, and the reason for that is the fact that they can bring in some exercise. According to many researchers, a lack of exercise will actually impede the learning process, and that’s the type of thing you want to avoid.
Needless to say, the rocking chair is an instrumental part of many people’s lives. Sure, it might seem like a very simple invention, but it really is something different and unlike anything that you can find out there. Which is why a lot of people like this type of item. It’s different and certainly very impressive, not to mention useful.
What type of rocking chairs are there?
- Boston rocking chairs are the early model ones. They were made from pine or oak wood and had a very simplistic, traditional design. Many collectors like them for their rich history and importance, and they are also iconic style-wise too.
- Kenny chairs were made for JFKL and they were similar to the modern ones, but with specific customizations that the former president wanted to have in order to feel comfortable.
- Wicker chairs are made from rattan or woven cane. These were then shaped into a chair frame. You would have the back and seat padded in order to deliver more comfort, which was needed when you had this type of rocking chair.
- Folding rocking chairs were iconic and very useful because you didn’t need a lot of space for them. You could also take them on a trip if you want. Being able to fold items and minimize space requirements was a major benefit and it truly made a massive difference at that time.
- Bentwood chairs were made from wood strips. These strips were bent into shape and then you had the backrest and the seat. It was definitely a very appealing and unique style, and it brought exceptional benefits and great value.
- Pressed back chairs had, as the name says, a pressed back with the idea of having it stay flat against the wall in case you were not rocking it.
- Ladder-back rocking chairs had their back similar to a ladder when you were seeing it from behind.
- Peter Cooper’s designs were made in the Victorian style and they were very comfortable. At the same time, they were very affordable, an option that a lot of people wanted at that particular time.
Why would you use a rocking chair?
There is plenty of different rocking chair benefits that you can access. For one, it allows you to lower your back pain naturally, and that’s a major factor. It’s also said that it might help you cure insomnia, which is really important to keep in mind. It might also help if you have tension or want to boost your blood circulation in a proper manner. You might even be able to lower the risks of developing blood clots if you use a rocking chair.
One thing is certain, getting a rocking chair is one of those great ideas that can indeed help improve your health and enhance your mood. Many people chose to use a rocking chair because it was very impressive, but as you can see these designs improved over time, which was great for inventors and creators. You rarely get to see something of that caliber, and it all came from the invention of Benjamin Franklin!