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George Hunzinger’s 19th-Century ‘Patent Furniture’ is Easy to Identify

by Mike Wilcox (09/15/09).

An example of George Hunzinger's (1835-1898) "Lollypop Chair."

An example of George Hunzinger's (1835-1898) "Lollypop Chair."

The design and patent number of a Hunzinger chair.

The design and patent number of a Hunzinger chair.

This rocking chair is an example made by the factory of Hunzinger was born in Germany in 1835 to a family that had been cabinetmakers since the 17th century. He emigrated to New York at the age of 20, already trained as a furniture maker; one of many German cabinetmakers, including the Herter Brothers, who came to the United States to flee the political and economic turmoil in Germany after 1848.

Hunzinger and others used innovative techniques to make their furniture pieces, and their work came to be known as “Patent Furniture,” after the fact the mechanical fittings and designs were patented to keep competitors from using them on their own pieces. Hunzinger was one of first to utilize the very latest technology for woodworking and was awarded 21 patents between 1860 and 1898 for the various mechanisms used in the design and manufacturing of his furniture. Much of the machinery he used to construct his pieces was also built to his designs. His work was highly popular at the time and was widely copied by other furniture makers during the last quarter of the 19th century.

His name later became a generic term for similar furniture made by his competitors as “Hunzinger style.” Being such a stickler for patenting his designs, Hunzinger made his pieces quite easy for us to identify today as much of the metal fittings and the chairs themselves are stamped with his name and patent dates.

Mike Wilcox, of Wilcox & Hall Appraisers, is a Worthologist who specializes in Art Nouveau and the Arts and Craft movement.

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2 Responses to “George Hunzinger’s 19th-Century ‘Patent Furniture’ is Easy to Identify”

  1. hacksaw says:

    sir,

    can you I.D. this chair?
    i have one like it. i have been meaning to retore it as the upolstery is shot. i have had it for 25 years in the basement. it was my grandmothers. but its time to get rid of it. before i toss it in the dump, i would like to know if its worth hanging on to. it was a functioning chair, but need some real cosemetics.

    [img]http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_PJ2PBMsc8Mg/SC3E2zc_yBI/AAAAAAAAAqg/QygyEvPhdnU/s400/HZish.jpg[/img]

    thank you -hack

  2. mari says:

    where are Hunzingers trade marks found on his chairs (rockers) ??

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