Rocking chairs, or rockers, are chairs mounted on curved bands attached to the bottom of the legs. Earning the rocking name by allowing the user to move forwards and backwards along the two balanced rockers, rocking chairs naturally adjust to a person’s center of gravity and the body’s preferred ergonomic posture. Rocking chairs have long been associated with parenting and comfort because of their gentle and soothing motion that is similar to rocking a baby. Rocking chairs are commonly fabricated with carved, metal, or bentwood rockers and are available in both armed and armless variations. The design of rocking chairs has also influenced the design of bassinets and gliders.
Determining who invented the rocking chair is still debated today. Many credit Benjamin Franklin as inventing the rocking chair but these claims are often met with disagreement from historians citing that the chair was already existing and in use when Franklin was a child. Although Benjamin Franklin may not be the true inventor, America in general is considered as the origin of its invention.
The best approach in determining the relative age of a rocking chair, aside from looking at its style, is looking at its construction. There can be indicators of modern construction, such as screws and nuts, that place a rocking chair at less than 100 years old (or even less than 75 depending on the fastener). Older rocking chairs would have been glued together or fastened with wood joints. One can also analyze the material of the rocking chair itself as certain kinds were more prominent in certain decades, such as oak in the early 1900’s or rosewood in the late 1800’s.
The first step is to purchase chair runners and make appropriate measurements to cut off the legs of the chair at the right height. Next, drill holes into the runners where the legs will attach and secure the legs to the runners with wood glue. If in need of extra assistance, conversion kits can often be bought to aid in this process.