Chilton Furniture, The Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community and Tappan Chairs Announce a Historic Partnership
Chilton Furniture is proud to have partnered with the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community in New Gloucester, Maine and Tappan Chairs of Sandwich, New Hampshire to re-introduce two iconic Shaker chairs. The originals — a side chair and rocking chair, both with tall, bent ladder-backs — were crafted in the Alfred, Maine Shaker Community between 1830 and 1850 (the Alfred Shakers moved to Sabbathday Lake in 1931). This partnership is unique in the history of Shaker furniture as this is the first time that the Shaker community in Maine has collaborated with an outside manufacturer to produce one of its iconic chairs.
Brother Arnold Hadd and Adam Nudd-Homeyer examine one of the original Alfred Chairs and discuss paint selection. Photo: Sean Hurley
Under the skilled craftsmanship of Adam Nudd-Homeyer of Tappan Chairs, the Alfreds are re-entering production using many of the same 19th century processes and techniques that the original Shakers used. Tappan Chairs is crafting these pieces not as copies—but rather, in the spirit of a continuation of the original production. Quality control has been supervised by the Shakers of Sabbathday Lake. Each chair will be individually numbered and stamped with the Shaker brand. Chairs will be built with the goal of meeting demand; however, because each piece is hand-made, total production at Tappan Chairs is limited to 250 pieces per year.
Tappan Chairs is a nearly 200 year old New England chair making business that began producing its own line of ladder back chairs in the same period that the original Alfred Chairs were created. Production at Tappan Chairs has continued ever since, employing a variety of equipment accumulated over two centuries of production, including a pair of 19th century lathes used by the earliest makers to turn chair posts.
Chilton is proud to have partnered with Sabbathday Lake and Tappan Chairs to reintroduce these Alfred Village Shaker Chairs to the modern world so that everyone may once again enjoy the elegance and grace of the authentic Shaker aesthetic—not in a museum, but right at home. The Alfred Chairs are available through Tappan Chairs and the Sabbathday Lake gift shop, and a portion of the proceeds from every chair sold will go to support Sabbathday Lake.
Sabbathday Lake was established in 1783 and Tappan Chairs and Chilton Furniture both have roots dating back more than a century. All three institutions share a reverence for traditional furniture-making techniques. More information about Sabbathday Lake and Tappan Chairs can be found at www.maineshakers.com and at www.tappanchairs.com.