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Collectibles-General (Antiques)/Phoenix Chair Co. Model No. 1134-48


Phoenix Chair Rocker
Phoenix Chair Rocker  

Side view
Side view  
Mr. Klein:
I inherited my great-grandfather's bedside rocking chair and am conserving it. It is a sturdy farmstead type, made of very nice oak and a simple construction design. I found a barely legible paper label on the inside of the back transverse board making up the chair seat box, documenting that it was a Phoenix Chair Company product from Sheboygan, Wisc. No. 1134-48. It has 3 repairs to it, ie., 2 grain separation cracks that were repaired sometime in the past, and 1 oak rocker replaced with cherry.  The wood construction of the chair remains in an excellent condition.  It has been re-upholstered several times, with crudely cut pine boards nailed to the bottom of the seat transverse boards, spiral springs attached to these boards, then tied with furniture cords and upholstered with 2 inch foam and covered with fabric. (This work does not look remotely original to the rocker.)  All four transverse boards making up the seat box are oak, but not the same quality as the rest of the chair. The back of the chair was covered with the same cloth and a 1 inch of foam placed in between the front and back fabric.  I rather doubt that foam was available when the rocker was constructed.

I have looked through the 2 catalogs available on the History Grand Rapids. website but found no comparison or model. I would like to know what the original model looked like. I did not see any evidence that it had any cane weaving on it.  Did it most likely have leather covering the seat and back, or a brocaded fabric or something else?

My interest lies in learning how the back and seat were upholstered.  Also, if there is a catalog depiction of the chair, that may help as well. And last, the most likely year(s) it may have been constructed.

Thank you in advance,
Jerry C. Namken, Ph.D.

sorry you felt that the response was worthless.  First of all I requested multiple pictures that were in focus in order to help determine exactly what I am trying to assess.  Perhaps that was too much to ask.

I am sure you are good at what you do but judging from what you have started on your chair, you should have someone that is competent in that area do your work in this area.

the reason i gave some instruction on what you call conserving is that you do not understanding conserve when related to furniture.  you have already passed that stage by using an electric sander on the front of the chair removing decades of patina and changing the profile of the wood.  For you to expect me to have catalogs of all chairs built in all years by the Phoenix company is way beyond what any reasonable and intelligent individual would expect.

no more communication is needed.  hope you have a pleasant day.

need to see multiple pictures of chair from various angles, send to email address as attachments to one email

infocus please

any catalog description you will have to find as i have limited catalogs of the company and this forum does not allow me to do extensive research.

chairs came in all sorts of fabric and leather like and real leather, that was often a choice made by the end purchaser.

if it had coil springs, and most likely it did, they would have been mounted on webbing and tied front to rear, side to side and diagonally, i am sure the boards were a later 'fix'.  the back would have not had springing.  only horse and pig hair.

just a suggestion, use chemical to remove the old degraded coating and wash with laquer thinner after all repairs are completed.  Pt the elictric sander aaway and do sanding gently by hand using 180 grit then 220 grit.  then stain and coat with shellac, rubbing between coats with 320 no fil paper.  final coat after rubbing with 320 no fil paper use #0000 steel wool then wax chair.

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robert klein


In regards to American antique, vintage and collectible furniture I can help with wood identification, styles, age, periods, historical coatings, materials, techniques, repair, restoration, refinishing, and value. I do not study mid century and later furniture nor do I deal in lamps, and other smalls. You may ask for values and I will give you current market values, I will not give you 'feel good' values. Understand that there are many factors that contribute to market value. If you want a feel good, unrealistic number, please call a local inexperienced appraiser. It is my desire to help you and in doing so I increase my knowledge as well. For that I thank you.


I have been in the antiques furniture and restoration business and in the sales of antique furniture for 40+ years and have continued my education in the trade attending workshops and seminars by various organizations, institutions, and private collectors.

Professional Refinishers Groop, Int., AIC, Antiques Dealers Association

BA Florida State University BA University of West Florida 1971

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