Patent model side chair for button joint tilters
George O. Donnel (born circa 1823)
New Lebanon, New York, 1852
Birds eye maple, original resin-based finish, brass tilts, the woven woolen taped seat is a precise reproduction of the original, 15 ¼ x 11 ¼ x 8½ inches
Paper label on front of top slat inscribed in ink: “George O. Donnell”
Stenciled in black paint on rear of bottom slat: “GEORGE O. DONNELL”
“Listed in the 1850 United States census as a chair maker, George O. Donnell is one of the few Shaker chair makers whose name appears on his product, painted on the back of the bottom slat. This model-little over a foot high-was submitted to the United States Patent Office in 1852 to support his invention of a “new and improved mode of preventing the wear and tear of carpets and the marring of floors caused by the corners of the back posts of chairs…” Although the wooden tilter is common in Shaker chairs, the metal variation is rare. According to the specifications, this device consists of a separate piece combining a ferrule, ball, and foot. Applied to the back posts, it allows “the chairs (to) take their natural motion of rocking backward and forward while the metallic feet rest unmoved; flat square on the floor or carpet…” Quoted from Timothy D. Rieman and Jean M. Burks, The Encyclopedia of Shaker Furniture (Atglen, PA, 2003), p. 203.