I chose these furniture makes because of an End Table that a friend of mine has. I thought it was a small antique end table, and that is what it is being used for. I noticed how hand crafted it looked, and I asked my friend about this cool little table. She said its super old, and her great grandpa had it from the, “Niskayuna Shakers, I guess they lived in a town north of his? Long story short, I read the words shakers in the list of artist, and had to pick them.
I went back to further inspect the End Table, and realized it was a late 1800’s Commode. Came equipped with a ceramic cast Chamber Pot l! (aka a toilet) And my friend told me that she used to hid her candy in the inside when she would go visit her grandparents so they wouldn't find it. Eventually they passed it down to her..
The Shakers furniture designs were some of the first minimalist to design furniture in the United States. They were a religious group founded by a couple james and jane Wardley. The group originally came to the States from England in the late eighteen century.
The Shakers reached 6000 at there highest in the mid 1800’s and as of 2009 there was only a small handful left. Some say that there were three, or less true shakers. This is because the Shakers never procreated, they took in many orphans, and had converts.
Shaker furniture design was simple strong, and has lasted to this day, just google the name shaker, or shaker furniture and tons of web sites pop up with modern Shaker furniture. I think this is due to the thought behind their religion, and the words given from their, Mother Ann, the leader of the group. She is quoted to saying, Put your hands to work and your heart to God. And that their life's where dedicated to perfection. Its no wonder their furniture was so popular.
The shaker chair was the first of many peaces of their furniture to become very popular. During the American Civil War the chairs put them on the map, and allowing them to open up several factories. Not only did the shakers chairs become popular to buyers, but other companies that made furniture became heavily influenced by them and began their own reproduction of the chairs, and other furniture.
Early shaker furniture was strictly made for use, and functionality, later they design the, Ladder-Back chair, and it became very sought after. The material’s used in there furniture was mostly pine, which was cheap, and light in color. Their furniture did not stop at tables and chairs, but they invented furniture such as early models of coat racks called, a peg rail, all sorts of things were hung from them. From hats, to furniture not being used. Even thought these hardworking minimalist were all about making furniture for function, like the coat rack. They too would soon be influenced by other skilled craftsmen, like those of the Victorian era. The early 1900’s gave way to some of the only decorative shaker furniture. Being influenced by the british industrial revolution, and the wealth of the middle class, this late Victorian style began to show up in furniture designed by the shakers.
The shakers began to slow down on production after the middle to late 1900’s because of newer cheaper technology. The furniture they made was strong, and lasting, but very costly because of its design. Mass production of furniture slowly began to put them out of work this along with the new law, that would minimize the amount of children being adopted by religious organizations, cut their numbers down to nearly zero by the middle 2000’s. And now they are believed to only be descendants of these once thriving furniture makers, the Shakers.