Which Historic Chair is Right for Your Space: Windsor or Shaker Style?

Last updated on October 12th, 2022 at 09:33 pm


While there are literally hundreds of different chair styles to choose from, the Windsor Style Chair and Modern Shaker Style are some of our favorites. Both of them are simplistic and stylish in their own right, and they are both staples of American history!

Lets start with the history behind the classic Windsor Chair:

According to ‘Past and Present: Windsor Chair History’ by Design*Sponge, “In North America, the Windsor chair form was first used in Philadelphia where the chair became hugely popular around the time of the Revolution. The chairs were such an important part of the life in the new country that Thomas Jefferson was said to have written the Declaration of Independence in one of these chairs and Martha Washington had needlework cushions made for her bow-back Windsor chairs.”

Wow, who knew? Even better, here’s some historical photos of these classic American chairs:


“Images above, from top: This ca. 1739 drawing by Jacques Rigaud shows a lord and lady being wheeled through the garden in Windsor chairs (from The Metropolitan Museum of Art). The presentation of the Declaration of Independence to the Continental Congress by Edward Savage (from the Library of Congress).” (Photos retrieved from Design*Sponge)

What about Shaker Chairs in history?

According to ArtComplex.org, “The common New England slat-back chair, fashioned by the hands of a Shaker woodworker, has become an icon of American furniture design. Shaker craftsman were familiar with that furniture form. It was found in almost every eighteenth and nineteenth century rural New england home. Converts brought these chairs with them as they joined shaker communities. Shaker craftsmen produced these chairs, refining that vernacular form and creating a distinctive , well-built chair that ultimately earned them considerable renown. Chairs were made in nearly every Shaker village for use within their shops and dwellings. Some chairs were sold to outsiders. Mount Lebanon, New York, the only community to mass produce chairs for sale, sold tens of thousands to individuals, families and businesses”

Traditionally, Shaker Chairs would be hung on the walls to maximize utility and save space. Photo retrieved from: Blue Ribbons Design.
Traditionally, Shaker Chairs would be hung on the walls to maximize utility and save space. Photo retrieved from: Blue Ribbons Design.

While chair B isn’t a traditional slat back as mentioned and pictured, it still represents the simplicity of design and exquisite craftsmanship represented in Shaker style!

So, have you made up your mind yet? Both chairs have an impressive history and even more impressive design. If you don’t want to have to chose one or the other, why not both? Mix & Match for a look that is not only stylish, but has a great story.

Didn’t see what you were looking for? Shop our full selection of dining chairs.

Let us know which chair you love in the comments section of this blog, or send us a tweet!

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.