Over the next century artisans created many styles of rocker based chairs but only few made any notable foothold in the market. The wicker rocking chair was popular as it was easy to make and cost very little to buy. Wicker was soaring in production during the middle 1800s as the textile industry made a move from human made works to animal drafted machine processes as anything made of wood could be made into a wicker piece. Wicker rocking chairs were finely crafted and came in many creative designs and while they weren’t the most durable pieces of furniture they did make and continue to make fine decorative pieces of furniture.
The Boston rocker was one of the more notable chairs of this time period as it became largely used indoors around 1840. These are the rockers that began being passed down through the generations as heirlooms. Boston rockers were the first chairs produced on mass scales and were made for comfort. Another New England favorite, the seats curved to support the buttocks better and the chair had a high back with curved spindles for better posture. There was a larger crest situated at the top than the Windsor had which gave it a more proportioned look. Decorative carvings were the norm for these chairs and many had ornate armrests with knuckled grips at the hands. Some variations used a single splat instead of the six or nine spindles at the back. This offered more stability to the chair as well as making it more comfortable to rest in.
Over the next few centuries to today’s modern rocking chair, there were many transformations, from wicker to Adirondack rocking chairs to iron. Michael Thonet, a fine craftsman from Germany, created a popular chair in 1860 called the Bentwood. It was a graceful design made from bent steamed wood. They were mass produced which made them very affordable and the elegant designs of the bentwood rocking chair made them world famous in a very short time. Meanwhile in America, chairs were being influenced by Renaissance designs, surpassing the often crude colonial era artistry. By the 1900s folding rocking chairs had hit it big and were being mass produced in both America and Europe. They were used widely for outdoor activities and many were known to travel with their chairs.
Today rocking chairs come in a plethora of styles and materials, most of which include plastics and resins. They have taken on sled shapes, Ron Arad’s all-steel design in 1990, tilted upwards when it was not being occupied; others have yielded ski like rockers. You just can’t write about them all in one article but you can get an idea of the importance the rocking chair has had in our history.