I Spoke Too Soon

by | Jan 2, 2022 | 1 comment

In the months after I last posted about my book project,  I read what remains of Samuel Wing’s account books and spent some time comparing measurements.

I compared my tracings and measurements of the red loop back labeled “WING” at Independence Hall with my measurements of the loop back parts that came from Samuel Wing’s shop  (now in the collection of Old Sturbridge Village), I couldn’t find many similarities.  Beside the seats being different sizes and shapes, the bows were bent differently:

The bow on the chair at Independence Hall had dents from a bending form.

Dozens of Wing’s bows at Sturbridge all had nail holes from braces, but not a single bending form dent.

The turnings weren’t very similar either:

The legs on the Wing chair at Indy Hall are pretty big in diameter and are classic double-bobbin shape.

The legs on the Samuel Wing chairs at Sturbridge were this very rare amalgam of a baluster turning at the top and a bobbin turning at the bottom. There were also bamboo turnings with three nodes, but no bobbin turnings to be found. All the turnings were significantly smaller in diameter than the ones on the Indy Hall chair.


All the spindles at Sturbridge were very simple tapers, yet the spindles on the Indy hall chair were bamboo patterned, etc. etc.  None of these things means that the Independence Hall chair could never have been made by Samuel Wing, but I was starting to get cold feet since the only thing linking the chair to him is a “WING” stamp on the chair bottom and Wing is a very common New England name. 

Last week I returned home from a second trip to Sturbridge, where I took detailed measurements of a Sack Back chair that was fairly certainly made by Samuel Wing, plus all of his unfinished loop back parts I could find.  For my book, I will make a reproduction of the Sack back, plus a set of Loop Backs that are my best guess of what Wing’s loop backs looked like.  Onwards and upwards, here I go!

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Warren Morrison
1 year ago

I first heard about Sturbridge from The new Yankee workshop In the 1990s and made a trip there. My interest then was just anything authenticity old and my memory of seeing a working water driven band saw mill is engrained in my mind. What a great place to visit, it was then a living museum. Can’t wait to see your finished book project.

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