Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary

Country and Shaker Furniture

Chair-table - Fairmount Park Woodford House, Philadelphia

Country Furniture

Proportions Depending on period and style of country furniture, but slender and delicate for Shaker pieces.

Essential elements Simplified shapes, traditional construction, and minimal decoration, all derived from fashionable designs of the 17th to 19th centuries. Turned or cutout parts. Rush, splint, tape, or cane seats. Often painted.

Woods Pine, maple, or various local fruitwoods or softwoods.

Notable forms Slat-back and other chairs. Stool. Bench. Settle. Low-post bed. Cradle. Drop-leaf, tea, work or sewing, and other tables.

- Marvin D. Schwartz, American Furniture: Tables, Chairs, Sofas and Beds. 2000

Dating: Dating counry furniture is always difficult; one help is the elements that reflect contemporary styles. As a rule, pieces became plainer as the 19th century advanced.


First introdued in the 17th century, but continud to be made in the 18th and 18th centuries for simple country settings.

More functional as tables than as chairs, they were among many furnishings conceived as space savers, since they could be folded up and put out of the way.

Maple and pine were especially popular in New England.

Photos and their arrangement © 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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