Rhode Island Settlers

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Rhode Island- Geographical Location

This ample wooden chair is found to be originated from the Rhode Island colony (Follansbee, 2011) and was considered to be an upscale substitute to the turned chairs of that time that were more commonly seen (Ray-Degges, 2013).

During this time Rhode Island settlers and indigenous people were undergoing many conflicts, battles, and wars. The region consisted of lowlands and flat rolling hills, but it was the red clay along the shore that gave this colony its name: “Roodt Eylandt.” Later that name was changed by the British to the name the state is now known as when the colony came under their rule (Alchin, 2015a, para. #10).

There was many natural materials available here as forest
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Using items such as “gauges, tongs, punches, needles, ladles, hammers, ink balls, knives, stamps, saws, awls, bits, rules, hooks, compasses, chisels, spoke shaves, lasts, blockheads, gouges, shuttles, planes, clamps, [and] squares” (Barbour, 2008, para. #1) carpenters of this time would fashion the Wainscot Chair. Some of these tools may be seen below in Image D.

These craftsman formed new American centers for making furniture that began to establish very credible works (Ray-Degges, 2013). These colonists had to be self-supporting, and that meant they had to make, grow, or hunt for anything they would use in the construction of furniture making. When they came from Europe they took their skills with them, and the craftsman became very skilled in what they did. One way to make a living in this time was through trade; “if you master a trade you could always make a living in the colonies” (Trades and Craftsmen, 2015, para. #1).

The American craftsman felt very free to alter previous designs to be more suitable to local tastes. This also led to the very notable advances in the making of furniture itself; more liberty with line was taken, simplicity of their functional designs, and the capability of them to add ornamentation. In Rhode Island a particular a man by the name of John Goddard was growing in popularity and his pieces were sought out in high demand (Wright & Commager,
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There was some additional ornamentation that adorned the Wainscot Chair to give it a more upscale feeling from previous works that were created using pattern books. Turning techniques were implemented, as well as, many low relief carvings which could take on the forms of the Tudor rose, acanthus leaf, or even a tulip for example. The paneled construction that really sets off the design of the Wainscot Chair and displays these ornamentations so well (Ray-Degges, 2013).

The Why and How

When the colonies were being combined to form New England (Alchin, 2015b) many natural materials were heavily available in the form of densely wooded forests. In Rhode Island the settlers and indigenous people were not immune to the undergoing conflicts, battles, and wars that would continue for many years in the quest for new land. However; this region stood apart with its flat rolling hills and lowlands, but it the forests that provided wonderful opportunities in the form of timber products, firewood, and clean water to the people and creatures that were living there at the time (Dupree, 2000). Craftsman began to formed new centers for making furniture (Ray-Degges, 2013), and as these colonists had to be self-supporting it meant they became very skilled in what they
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