History of Rocking Chairs
A rocking chair is appropriate for any American Girl Doll of European descent. One of the first rocking chairs ever made was in Sweden around 1740. It was called a gungstol. It had a long, curved piece of wood for the rocker and six legs. These six legged rocking chairs were made until about 1870 when four legged rocking chairs began to be made. Gungstols were often painted black and decorated with gold outlining. To make your American Girl Doll furniture look authentic for this period, you might paint it black with gold outlining.
A bow-spindle-backed rocking chair also originated in England around 1740. It was called the Windsor Rocker. It was used as a lawn chair rather than as furniture for the home. The Windsor Rocker was brought to the American Colonies around 1750 and the crafty Americans made many variations. It is the American versions of the rocking chair became famous around the world. Any type of natural-colored wood stain and finish (such as light oak, cherry or walnut) would make your American Girl Doll furniture look authentic for this period.
Many people believe that Benjamin Franklin invented the rocking chair by placing rockers on the legs of a straight chair. But this is not true. However, like so many writers, artists and politicians of the day, he did own one.
Hand-crafted furniture has been a large part of American history. I like the philosophy of the American-born Japanese woodworking designer George Nakashima. He said, "The woodworker's responsibility is to the tree itself, which has been sacrificed to live again in the woodworker's hands..." Hand-crafting American Girl Doll furniture for your loved is one of the most thoughtful and cherished gifts they will ever receive. -