The Timeless Carver Chairs
A Carver chair is a dining chair with arms, also called an elbow chair. Carver chairs are usually made in pairs as a part of a suite of dining chairs. Carver chairs are popular in Colonial design traditions, and while original chairs are quite rare, reproductions are easily found. The first governor of Plymouth, John Carver, was the financial and practical manager behind the Pilgrims’ exodus to North America aboard the Mayflower. He became governor of the colony in November 1620, but died less than a year later, after the first devastating winter in the Nnew World. According to longstanding belief, the first Carver chair belonged to the governor and was brought on board the Mayflower to stand in his new home. However, some experts suggest that the chair to which this history is attributed was built using American ash wood, and was unlikely to have been constructed before Carver’s death; nevertheless, the popular chair style still bears his name.
Carver chairs are distinct from other colonial styles in a few basic design elements. The most unique feature consists of three vertical supporting spindles on the chair back. These spindles, as well as the legs and sometimes the armrests, feature a carved design called turned construction. The chair is also distinguished by a lack of vertical spindles between the armrest and the seat.