A piece of classic Americana, this folding chair holds a place in our nation's history.
One item of furniture that seemed to be everywhere during the Civil War was a particular style of folding chair that was very popular with officers. These chairs were common before the war — they were the mid-19th century equivalent of the folding chairs nearly everyone today has stashed in a closet — but once the army started moving, officers both North and South took these chairs with them. By war’s end, thousands more were manufactured to meet the demand. It’s no wonder we see them so frequently in the photographic record.
Usually made of oak, these chairs featured a carpet or tapestry seat and, while it might not be apparent, it was that fabric seat that held the chair in its upright position — remove the fabric and the chair collapses. The chairs folded flat for storage or transport; pivoting joints were anchored with mild-steel rivets, the most common method of the day.