I need to exclaim that my position that there were no 18h Century chairs/stools with backs was wrong. Ty Davis, past Captain of the American Long Rifle Association (ALRA), discovered an illustration in the 1769 edition of “L’Art du Menuisier” by Andro Jacub Roulo showing two examples of a folding chair/stools with a back. This drawing from the book illustrates the chairs along with another example of a folding bedstead and table. I have no intention to try to duplicate either example as both look uncomfortable.
The stool as it now called was a “chair” in ancient times. The stool, consisting of a frame with a covering suspended on the top for a seat has been in use for over 2000 years. Originally the stool (chair) was used only by a king or chief, so it follows that the position of a chairman at a meeting comes from this exalted use.
I have offered common stools using strong woods and 18th Century joiner methods for 25 years as a camp accessory with no known original to copy. These have been mistakenly called Washington stools by others. Washington’s stools were provided to him by Philadelphia upholsterer Plunket Fleeson along with tentage and tables May 1776 and are of unique construction. We know of the construction from only two known of the original eighteen. They are as different from my common stool as a Volkswagon is to a Cadillac and by my agreement with the Smithsonian not available to the general public. Duplicates of Washington’s stools made by me may be seen at Yorktown National Historical Park and at Rockingham Historic Site in Kingston, New Jersey.
My common camp stool is very strong and stable with two grades of seating- heavy linen canvas or double layer heavy cotton. Cotton will stretch and was not used in this fashion in the 18th Century. Frame construction is the same for both versions of the common stool. Linen costs more. The difference is due to hand stitching and cost of linen versus machine sewn cotton. Common camp stools come painted red, blue, green or yellow. This common camp stool is with canvas seating is priced at $80.00, while the linen seated version is $110.00.
My officer grade camp stool employs more involved construction techniques with mortice and tenon joints with recessed riveting, hemp or linen canvas underpinning and green Baize upholstery covering secured with cast brass nails (tacks) to varnished walnut framing. Legs have a stylish slight serpentine Chippendale shape and these stools costs $300.00 on special order.
I am sorry, but I know of no folding stools appearing in etchings, engravings or paintings known to have been produced in the 18th century having a back support.
We hand-build 18th century travel furnishings and field equipage to your specifications.
The Living History Shop works in close collaboration with historic sites as well as the Smithsonian Museum to research and reproduce unusual and challenging examples of historic technology specific to the 1740-1790 time period.
Because of the increasing complexity and scope of our projects, we will no longer be printing a catalog. Simply call or email us with your needs or to obtain current prices and delivery schedule.
Curators of historic sites can obtain — with permission from sites in possession — reproductions of some of George Washington’s personal campaign furniture and accessories, including his: Folding Field Bedsteads, Mess Kit, Stool, Liquor Chest, Shaving Kit, large Storage Box, Luggage and Writing Case.
All items are made from original examples I have seen and documented and employ construction details of the original. Iron keyed locks are used on chest lids and drawers. Hand forged iron work is made to our specifications by Jeff Miller (Flintlock Forge).
- Wooden chests with dovetail or lap joints, forged iron or rope handles, snipe or strap hinges, painted or not
- Pine topped tables with scissor leg or sawbuck design (2″ X-legs with streacher between)
- Pine plank benches
- Pine bench Shaving Horse
- Red oak open frame wheelbarrows with solid (non-spoked) wheel standard
- Red oak standard size ( 1 3/4″ thick frame) four spoke wheelbarrows with or without sides 1/2″ thick
- White oak heavy duty wheelbarrows using 2″ thick stock for frame and 3/4″ thick sides and bottom – four spoke wheel
- 17-18th century Miner Style Wheelbarrow (from Diderot) with four spoked wheel in red or white oak 3/4″ sides
- Walnut folding officers bedstead in single or double width complete with bed curtains, mattress, and storage chest
- Walnut officers grade Chippendale style folding table with matching upholstered stool including custom canvas case
- Walnut or maple Georgian period folding chair upholstered in leather
- The best wooden handled table top brazier made
- Officer grade Mess Kit Canteen
- Wine crates with or without blown bottles
- Wine chest with blown bottles and glasses of officer grade in iron clasped walnut and with hand made lock
- Sundry small items such as lidded pine Tavern Tankards, Tape Looms, and curly maple Lanterns