If you’re in the market for a new chair and you’re looking to add a touch of luxury, you might want to consider one that’s stuffed with horsehair. Horsehair is incredibly comfortable, and it can last for many years if well-maintained. So how old is a chair stuffed with horsehair? Let’s take a look.
When it comes to furniture, a few key factors determine its quality and lifespan. These include the type of materials used, how well it’s made, and how often it’s used. One lesser-known factor is the age of the furniture. In some cases, older furniture can be better made and more durable than newer pieces. An example of this is chairs stuffed with horsehair. Read on to know more!
10 Factors That Determine How Old Is a Chair Stuffed With Horsehair:
1. The Type of Chair:
A chair with legs and a back is called a chair. If the object of reference is not of this type, or if it does not have any chair features, then it cannot be called one. Even if it is found in the house of a person who calls it a chair, it has no structural resemblance to what people generally call a chair.
2. The Condition of the Chair:
Generally, an old chair would not be called so if it were in reasonable condition, even if all other factors for age determination are present according to the expected answer. The chair must be old enough to have lived a long life and acquire signs of age due to wear and tear; otherwise, it cannot be called an old chair.
3. The Weave Pattern on the Fabric:
The weave pattern on the fabric can determine the age of a chair filled with horsehair. This is because the transverse and longitudinal fibers in a woven fabric are intertwined to produce a ‘weave pattern.’
When the transverse and longitudinal fiber directions change at an angle, it creates an angle in the weave. The angle in a weave pattern is called a ‘twist.’ A twist is present at every intersection of transverse and longitudinal fibers.
4. The Number of Twists:
Every chair has a unique number of twists spread across its fabric. This holds especially for chairs made with horsehair because the fiber length, thickness, and the number of twists determine the lifespan of a chair stuffed with horsehair.
The more the twists, the lesser is the durability of fibers and vice versa. So, the fewer twists in a chair (if it is an old one), it has lived its life longer than chairs with more twists on their fabric.
5. Fiber Diameter:
The fabric of a horsehair chair or any fabric is constructed from long fibers. These fibers are fine in diameter and placed side by side to form a weave pattern.
The size of these fibers can be determined using an optical microscope to get the average fiber diameter. This gives the number of twists required to make a weave, and from this, the age of the chair can be determined.
6. The Number of Threads per Inch:
The number of threads per inch in a horsehair fabric is another factor that decides its lifespan. The greater the number of threads per inch, the lesser will be durability and vice versa. Therefore, if we know the number of twists and number of threads per inch, we can easily calculate the age of a horsehair chair.
7. Existence of a Label:
Any horsehair furniture with a label sewn into the fabric to show its maker and place of origin can be given an approximate age without much scientific analysis. Finding out about the chair’s age will be easy if one knows the date when the label was sewn into the fabric. The label acts as a historical document and saves the chair from extensive and unnecessary scientific analysis.
8. Determination of Fiber Color:
The color of the horsehair can be used to find out how old a chair stuffed with a horsehair is. A microscope can determine the color of a particular fiber and a numerical scale called the Lovibond scale. This system grades the ‘hue’ of color from lighter to darker shades, using numbers 1–5 to 10–15.
Although it is not possible to decide the age of a chair using fiber color, it can be used to determine the weaving technique of the fabric. For example, an aged horsehair fabric would have dark fibers because of its repeated exposure to sunlight due to fraying and wearing out through use.
9. Number of Seams That Are Sewn Together:
The number of seams that are sewn together determines the age of a chair stuffed with horsehair. Seams are visible on the fabric because they are created after two pieces of fabric are sewn together to form one piece, and this process is repeated several times over. So, the greater the number of seams, the older would be a chair stuffed with horsehair.
10. The Amount of Fraying at the Edges:
The edges of the fabric are frayed through wear and tear due to constant friction against other objects, which makes it rough in appearance. This is another aspect that can be used to determine the age of a chair because the older the chair, the greater the fraying effect.
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Some Tips and Suggestions to Identify a Chair Age:
Here are some additional tips to determine how old is a chair stuffed with horsehair.
1. If the chair has a label, check to see if it said when it was made. Many labels do not list a date of manufacture but list details about the furniture or where it was made.
2. Look at the design of the chair. Was it made mass-produced or handmade? If it was mass-produced, check to see what decade it originated from.
3. In some cases, a very old chair may have been refinished and stained to look like a different kind of wood. Again, check for signs that this has occurred, such as uneven staining or unfinished sections.
4. Look at the condition of the chair, noting whether it has been repaired in any way. If you are trying to sell furniture, repairing can be expensive and significantly decrease its resale value if done by an amateur.
5. It is rare to find chairs older than 200 years, and many are much younger than that.
6. If you think you have an antique chair in your possession, look for clues about its construction. For example, the legs should not be nailed together but instead connected by dowels or pegs, and the seat should not be nailed down or attached to a plywood body.
What Are Antique Chairs Stuffed With?
A fluffy down cushion has about as much in common with an antique chair stuffed with horsehair as a modern toilet does with a chamber pot. The earliest chairs were simple things, usually just a stool or three legs supporting a flat board. The seat was often made from woven rushes or grasses, and the stuffing was of straw, wool, moss, or horsehair.
There’s a popular belief that horsehair stuffing is somehow good for you, or at least better than synthetic stuffing. People who believe this refers to it as “natural” stuffing, though they’re talking about organic. While horsehair might be natural for a horse, or even better than synthetic stuffing because it’s made from animals rather than petrochemicals, it’s still not technically natural since animals are a human-made class of lifeforms.
How Can You Tell How Old a Chair Is?
Although a chair can be a simple design, several factors come into play when determining its exact age. A chair may not have any stamps or markings, but it can still tell you a great deal about how old it is if you know what to look for. Even the most primitive chairs usually have some key features that can give clues about their age.
Suppose a chair is functional but not necessarily considered to be an antique. In that case, it can usually be dated fairly accurately based on when the company that made the chair went out of business or when certain details were phased out of production. In addition, chairs made before certain major events in history, such as before the invention of electricity or when horsehair was used instead of foam or synthetic fibers for stuffing, can help date the chair.
Horsehair has been used in upholstery since at least the 18th century, so if you have an antique chair from this period or later, there’s a good chance some strands are still inside.
There are also other clues as to age such as wear patterns and styles, but these too depend on your unique piece of furniture! We hope this article helped clear things up on how old is a chair stuffed with horsehair. If you still have any questions or want to know more, please get in touch with us!
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