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Barber's Chair

Chair, Barber's. Circa 1880-1920. Wood, walnut; cloth upholstery; metal hardware [Vernacular style] Acc. No. 46482

Barber's chairDescription: This occupational chair has two separate parts, a reclining chair and a foot rest. All four legs of the chair have ogee curves and are connected by curved front-to-back stretchers. The center of the chair below the seat contains a cast iron mechanism, with teeth and a long foot pedal to manually recline the chair's seat and back and hold them in place. Arm supports each have a curved swan neck and beaked head. Wood arm rests have upholstered tops. Seat and back are similarly upholstered. Above crest is a separate head rest attached to the rear of the crest. The foot rest section has four feet with one low wide upholstered step. Stiles in front have a decorative slat and at top is an upholstered footrest. Inscription in metal assembly under seat: "E. Beringhaus / Manuf't'r / Cin'ti' O / Pride of the West" "Eugene Beringhaus / Maker Cincinnati O." Not currently on exhibit.

Discussion: The chair was donated in February 1930 from Eureka, Florida, but no information about its history was found in the files in 1997. This is unfortunate as the chair type was a very popular one in the late 20th century, and it could well have been used for a long period in Eureka or elsewhere in Florida. For museums, the history of an artifact, such as this barber chair, is every bit as important as the object itself.


Bishop, Robert C. The American Chair: Three Centuries of Style. New York: Dutton, 1972.
(See esp. pp. 368-69)