The concept of chairs was first introduced in the late 1600s, during which the Pilgrims from Holland created a sort of joint stool that was reserved only for special and esteemed people. Yes, at that time, not everybody had the opportunity to sit on chairs. Chairs were a privilege then, not the common household furniture we all have (and often take for granted) today.
History tells us that, perhaps, the first antique chair style was the Wainscot chair, which stories say was brought around by Governor Carver, who then brought it on the Mayflower. While the existence of the Wainscot chair at the time has already been verified, the real story behind it remains obscure. Whatever it was and whoever made it first happen, we are forever grateful. Imagine, if nobody had thought of making a chair in the first place, we would all be sitting on the ground until now.
From then on, as artistry advanced and other royals started to have chairs made to suit their particular style and ergonomic needs, a lot of antique chair styles and designs were born.
The Goddard Townsends of Newport, for instance, came up with chairs that were inspired by the Chippendale and Queen Anne traditions, while Benjamin Randolph made the Chippendale all the more in demand and popular when he brought them to Philadelphia.
But, perhaps, the most popular antique chair style was the Windsor chair, which came to be in the early 1700s also in Philadelphia. The first Windsor antique chair styles were meant to satisfy the lower class citizens only. In fact, they were priced so low that most households had one. And in the more affluent houses, the Windsor style chair was placed in the less intricately garbed rooms.
However, because of its popularity at the time and also due to the improvements that have been made with wood quality and carvings, and the history that went with it, the Windsor chair style is one of the most sought after pieces of antique furniture nowadays, with its value hitting impressive levels. It is amazing how much age can do to make a certain piece of object become more expensive.
There are many other antique chair styles that have been developed over the past centuries. These include the Carver chair, the Bainster Back chair, the Hepplewhite chair, the Sheraton chair, the Maple Fancy chair, and the Hitchcock chair, just to name a few.
Each style is unique, with their prices varying according to carving and design, age, maker, and historical background. As with any other antique, antique chairs are also appraised based on these four factors.
Antique chair styles have evolved through the years. What was once a symbol of authority or affluence has now become a commonplace implement in all households all over the world. No matter the style and make, chairs will definitely hold their value based on their ergonomic function. However, if you are referring to antique chair styles, then their value resides not just on their use, but also on the stories they tell.