President’s Day honors the February birth dates of two of most celebrated presidents in U.S. history: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. The President’s Day holiday has also been famously linked to deals on cars, appliances, and even furniture. This furniture connection has us reflecting on one of the most famous types of presidential furniture: the humble wooden rocking chair.
According to The New York Times, the rocking chair, “is the most American of all furniture forms, has been a favorite of statesmen since the 18th century. Benjamin Franklin added metal bends to the base of his outsized library chair to make it rock, and Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while sitting in a Victorian rocker that had been installed at Ford Theater especially for him that night. John F. Kennedy’s rocker, of course, became an icon of his White House years.”
John F. Kennedy, suffering from severe back pain from a war injury, introduced a rocking chair to the Oval Office on the advice of a physician. The Kennedy chair was made by the P&P Chair Company.
In the years after John F. Kennedy occupied the White House, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan had rocking chairs made by the artist Sam Maloof. Maloof, according to The Smithsonian Magazine, “was the first craftsman to be recognized with a MacArthur ‘genius’ Grant, a signal honor, but on his business card he referred to himself simply as ‘Woodworker.'” Suffice it to say, handcrafted rocking chairs have a storied presidential history.
3 Vermont Made Rocking Chairs to Celebrate President’s Day
We can think of no better way to honor past presidents than by adorning your home with a beautiful rocker. If you are ready to celebrate President’s Day with your own hand-crafted rocking chair, look no further than the work of the master furniture makers who are members of the Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers.
Made by Bob Gasperetti of Mount Tabor, Vermont
Made by George Sawyer of Sawyer Made in Woodbury, Vermont.
Made by Timothy Clark of Waltham, Vermont.