Rocking Chair / April 27, 2018 / Jasmine Oliver
The joys of a rocking chair are many, quiet joys though they are. As technology continues its constant onward march, some people still remember the peace and simplicity that comes with making a rocker a part of every day life. Some might think rockers are only for old people, but in truth, anyone who sits can gain some benefit from using this type of chair. That's because rockers are all about motion- not the crazy motion of long distance travel or freaky dancing, but something much more subtle, a gentle back and forth that may seem unremarkable to the naked eye. In truth, however, these motions can have a rather profound physical and psychological impact on us as humans. Sitting for long periods in one spot is likely to make our bodies stiff and our minds a little crazy, but sitting in a rocker keeps us engaged and our bodies are constantly moving, constantly adjusting. The fact that these movements and adjustments are slow does not really matter, because we repeat the movement so much. But sit in a rocker for an hour and sit in a normal chair for an hour- I bet you will come off the rocker feeling refreshed and rested, while your body might revolt before the hour is up if you're sitting in the regular chair.
Michael Thonet, a German craftsman, created the first bentwood rocking chair in 1860. This design is distinguished by its graceful shape and its light weight. Thonet used bent steamed wood for these rocking chairs. Because of their affordability and beautiful design, bentwood rocking chairs not only became famous around the world but spawned countless imitators as well. Neoclassical designs also became a trend in the US during the 1890s. These rocking chairs were influenced by Greek and Roman designs as well as Renaissance and colonial era artistry. During the 1920s, however, folding rocking chairs became more popular in the US and in Europe. They were handy for outdoor activities and travel purposes. By the 1950s, rocking chairs built by Sam Maloof, a US craftsman, became famous for their durability and deluxe appearance. Maloof's rocking chairs are distinguished by their ski-shaped rockers.
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