1    The first rocking chairs were not originally made as rocking chairs, but were straight chairs with rockers added to the legs.

2   Stroke of genius! Clever Benjamin Franklin designed a rocking chair with a foot pedal that activated an overhead fan.

3   Between 1830 and 1905, more than 300 patents were issued for rocking chair designs.

4   In 1844, a Vermont newspaper writer described rocking chairs as “wooden narcotics.”

5   By the mid-19th century, woven cane was regularly used on small rockers for women.

RELATED: Legendary Rockers: Arkansas’ Rocking Chair Family

6   To save floor space and wear on carpets, inventors designed the platform rocker, in which the rockers rest on a supporting frame.

7   Invalids were among the most frequent occupants of early rocking chairs, which help circulation with minimal effort.

Willow, reed and rattan woven in open patterns are popular materials for porch rockers, which are exposed to dust, rain and temperature changes.

9   Dr. Janet Travell, personal physician to President John F. Kennedy, prescribed the use of a rocking chair to ease the president’s back pains. It had low armrests and a steam-bent back to fit the contour of the body. Today, the Troutman Chair Company makes the Kennedy rocker.


This article originally published in THE NEW PIONEER® Spring 2015 issue. Print and Digital Subscriptions to THE NEW PIONEER magazine are available here.

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