This hickory chair evokes the leisure lounging of passengers on the deck of a steamship, yet it is much sturdier than traditional steamer chairs which typically had light open cane weave or flat slats on the seat and back, and thin, collapsible mahogany frames. In contrast, this chair has a sturdy hickory pole frame with solid double stretchers along its length, and a tight herringbone weave rattan cane seat and back. It does, however, have the basic shape of a steamer chair with a long leg rest and a slightly inclined back rest, as seen in this vintage photo of passengers relaxing aboard a steamship.
Photo postcard available on eBay
Despite Indiana’s proximity to the Great Lakes where passenger steamers were a popular means of transportation from the 1890s through the 1940s, these heavy hickory chairs would not have been manufactured with steamships in mind. This circa 1930 ad for an Old Hickory steamer chair indicates that a more likely target audience for these chairs was institutions such as sanitariums, hospitals, hotels and resorts.
This article is a follow-up to my previous posting on a quest for design software that could easily be used to place footprints of unique antique furniture in two-dimensional room schematics. While the previous software I reported on fell short of ideal, I have recently found a more useful tool.
It has become common for mega home furnishings stores to provide an on-line tool that allows customers to place footprints of their products in a diagram specified to the size and shape of their own rooms. But many of these tools only allow a user to insert furniture of the exact dimensions of the products the company sells, so are not adaptable for people wanting to try out unique antique furniture in a virtual room setting. One tool used by these stores, however, is much more flexible, because it provides templates of generic furnishing (sofas, chairs, tables, lamps and the like) whose exact dimensions a user can specify. It is room planner software developed by Icovia which different companies customize with their own logos and homepages, but the inner functioning across all of the stores’ applications are the same.
I tried this software as provided by Ballard Designs (download the free app at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ballard-room-planner/id504303985?mt=8) by first creating an accurate dimensional outline of a recently renovated room in our home that we are ready to furnish. Although I first tried to use the tool as an app on a mobile device (an iPad) I found that it lacked some key features that function on a standard desktop or laptop computer, which I suspect has to do with Flash not being functional on iPads.
Once I got going with this app on my pc, however, it was quick and fun to use. I created a diagram of our 34’ x 14’ library, and moved walls to create the fireplace, bow window and entry doors to their actual dimensions.