Collectors of vintage baby gear and those who decorate the interior of their homes enjoy the great demand for antique high chair due to the magnificent heirloom-quality woodwork and old-fashioned details of these wooden high chairs.
These lovely items are sold by a wide number of stores, both in-person and online. They can often be purchased for price that is extremely reasonable. Even though there are certain safety issues associated with utilizing these high chairs for infants, they are nonetheless rather lovely when displayed as decorative items.
History and Evolution of Antique High Chair
In order to have a better understanding of how we fell out of love with the modern plastic child’s high chair, we need to have an appreciation of how we fell in love with the wooden antique baby high chair.
The 1950s saw the beginning of the industrial manufacture of the baby high chair. This was the most workable answer as a result of technological advancements in manufacturing and a postwar increase in the birthrate.
Wood was eventually replaced with metal frames, plastic, and other attempts at coming up with appealing designs. As the century passed, plastic became not only more widely available but also less expensive for the baby high chair.
Despite the fact that this offered some short-term advantages, the plastic frames were cumbersome to clean and were not constructed to last very long. Therefore, in order to find a solution that was more effective, we went to the designs of the past.
There is significant disagreement over where the antique high chair was first used. There are assertions that the first one dates back to the latter half of the nineteenth century and was owned by the Jacobs family. On the other hand, the existence of children’s chairs dating back to the 18th century and even earlier demonstrates that woodworkers adapted designs for younger users.
An antique high chair from the 17th century may be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, while an example from the early 18th century can be found in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.
Antique wooden high chairs dating from the early to the middle of the 20th century
The decades between the 1920s and the 1950s were the golden age of the antique wooden chair. By the time the 1920s rolled around, the seats had been given a more subdued appearance.
A wood high chair from the 1940s that meets enough of the fundamental requirements to be acceptable in a modern family home. The darker walnut and mahogany of the past have been replaced with the light oak and pine, which was a welcoming change.
It may be more challenging to track down a wooden high chair from the 1950s since many parents switched to high chairs with metal frames and cushioned seats when they were available on the mass market. These chairs do not possess the same classic allure as others.
The wooden vintage baby high chair in the 1970s was an inspiration for modern manufacturers
Designs of wooden high chairs with a classic Scandinavian aesthetic are still popular today. At the tail end of the middle century, Scandinavia’s most accomplished individuals demonstrated to us the path ahead.
We had the ability to design a rocking chair that was not only aesthetically pleasing but also functional. You are provided with a place to sit, a harness, a tray, and a footrest.
A good number of the types are adjustable, both in terms of height and design, so that they can accommodate children of varying ages. This strategy is continued with the designs of some of the most successful brands that are now available.
At this point, the world’s relationship with plastic has deteriorated past the point of no return. Wooden high chairs crafted from non-toxic, all-natural materials will be the preference of parents of millennial children. They will gravitate toward the traditional Scandinavian designs as well as the vintage wooden seats.
Bamboo will very certainly get some degree of preference as an environmentally friendly option wherever that is available. Those who do not like to spend the money necessary for the more well-known brands might look for wood high chairs that have been used online.
Parents who have the room and the financial means for it will always be drawn to the aesthetic appeal of an old wooden design for a baby high chair. With today’s emphasis on repurposing materials and creating one-of-a-kind products, there is more place in the market for chairs made by hand from wood.
We may look for a vintage baby high chair for sale and then refurbish them so they can be used by subsequent generations. A good number of people may also give some thought to constructing their own vintage high chair using woodworking techniques.
Manufacturers of Antique Wooden High Chairs
Over the course of their history, antique baby high chair versions have transitioned from being hand-crafted to being mass-produced by companies. The following is a list of the most prominent early manufacturers, organized by century.
Manufacturers of Artisan Products in the 18th Century
The late 18th century is the time period in which references to the first antique high chair were discovered. During this historical period, the vast majority of highchairs were crafted by hand, either by individuals or in modest-sized enterprises.
High chairs with designs influenced by the work of Englishman Tomas Chippendale are said to as having Chippendale designs.
While Tomas was responsible for the creation of a great number of pieces of cabinetry, during the 18th century, other businesses copied his ideas and incorporated them into products such as high chairs.
These designs are examples of Gothic, Rococo, and Chinese art and architecture.
High chairs designed in the Gothic or Chippendale style may include pointed arches or s-shaped curves. Ribbon-back chairs were among the types of Rococo high chairs that were mostly designed by William Kent.
Last but not least, antique high chair pieces of Chinese design Chippendales could have a lacquer that has an oriental-style pattern, although this is less common.
The monarch who was in power during the historical period of George II high chairs gave them their names. Mahogany, not walnut, was used to craft the high chairs of the George II period, which all had a dark, almost purplish varnishing.
Inventors and Manufacturers of the 19th Century
The advent of the industrial revolution allowed for the production of a greater variety of goods, such as chairs for children and other pieces of furniture. By the 1830s, high chairs had foot rests and trays added to them for the comfort of the youngster using them.
In the year 1818, Lambert Hitchcock established his business in the state of Connecticut. By the time he reached the year 1840, he had already sold over 200,000 of his Hitchcock chairs.
These were more reasonably priced than ones imported from England, and shortly afterward, the firm began manufacturing its very own Hitchcock antique baby high chair in an effort to boost overall revenue.
These high chairs were typically black, and they had a wooden tray in a lighter shade.
Michael Thonet created a line of furniture in Austria in the middle of the 1900s, and he soon began manufacturing high chairs under the Thonet brand. The seats and backs of these chairs are made of cane, while the frames are curved pieces of wood.
The 20th century saw the beginning of mass production, which sped up the process of manufacturing high chairs in the United States and all over the globe.
In the 1920s, David Fischel established his business in the region that is now known as the Czech Republic under the name Fischel. Bentwood furniture, very similar to Hitchcock’s designs, was produced by the firm. Their well-known baby high chair has a fairly straightforward appearance, and it has a woven seat.
In Copenhagen during the 1920s, the Nanna Ditzel firm was established, and it is still in operation today. Their historic high chairs are straightforward and unadorned, much like the ones they make now, which is to say, basic.
How to Shop For the Best Antique Wooden High Chair?
The majority of wooden high chairs seen on the antique market date back to the latter half of the 19th century and the early 20th century, which was the golden age of mass-produced furniture.
Handmade versions of several of the older models of wood high chair and even some of the current ones are possible. In later times, high chairs were often made of metal, enamel, and plastic instead of antique wood. There are wooden high chairs that have been painted or have patterns painted on them.
You should be prepared to witness high-end furniture elements like caning, spoon carving, exotic woods, twisted legs, and other attractive accents when you are shopping for a wooden high chair.
Brass or cast iron may be used for the hardware. Some chairs are equipped with wheels or casters that make it much simpler to transfer them from one room to another inside the home. The majority of chairs are equipped with trays that can either be removed entirely or lifted up and placed above the child’s head.
When searching for an antique high chair, you’ll find models in a wide variety of states of repair and wear. Make use of these pointers in order to locate a high chair that is in excellent condition:
Check that the rocking chair doesn’t wobble too much and is stable before using it. Legs that rock back and forth indicate that the furniture might need some repairing.
Look for a wood high chair that has all of its parts and the original hardware
It should be simple to raise the tray up or over the top of the chair, just as it was when youngsters were using the chair.
Check to see what kind of condition the caning is in
You may be able to locate someone who can fix it if its condition of it is not very good. The chair’s functionality and look will both improve when the caning has been restored, but the chair’s value will suffer as a result.
Check that all the wooden components are there and in good shape
Footrest, arms, and any other ornamental dowels need to be retained in their original positions. If there are any pieces that are missing, you can have a hard time acquiring replacements so that the chair can be assembled.
Before you buy a vintage high chair, examine it carefully for any major damage, like gouges, damaged dowels that have been re-glued, or mismatched hardware.
Recognizing the Replica of Antique Wooden High Chairs
Replicas of antique high chairs are popular because of the allure of the originals. Follow the rules below to differentiate between a real antique and a contemporary reproduction:
- Reproduction high chairs may only use a single species of antique wood, but antique high chairs often incorporate various types of wood in their construction. Take a look at the underside of the foot rest, metal wheels, turned legs, and the seat, as well as the tray.
- The construction of a fake or counterfeit wooden high chair is sometimes of a poorer grade than that of an authentic antique one. You should be prepared to discover staples or tacks on a replica chair, as well as fiberboard or particle board, and adhesive residue.
- It’s possible that a replica chair will look as though it’s in pristine condition. Genuine antique high chairs often feature worn places, scratches, and a patina. This is because high chairs receive a lot of usage and damage during their lifetimes.
Antique Wooden High Chair Value
There is no one rule of thumb that can be used to determine the worth of antique high chairs. Prices may vary anywhere from $50 to over $500 depending on the condition of the chair and any other unique features it may have.
The simplest approach to determine how much an antique high chair is worth is to evaluate it in relation to other items of a similar kind that have recently been put up for auction. Recent sales of high chairs include the following:
- In the year 2021, a lovely baby high chair made of white wicker that was in pristine shape brought in over $220.
- A baby high chair in poor shape made of white antique wood and dates to around 1850 brought in close to $80 at auction.
- A nearly $350 price tag was placed on a Victorian baby high chair made of wicker and antique wood by the maker Heywood Wakefield. It had a high value due to a well-known manufacturer.
Where to Shop For the Antique Wooden High Chair?
Antique Wood High Chair
This child’s high chair is in a good shape, which is a rare find. This high chair is made of wood and has a comfortable seat with a perfectly original finish. It has a sturdy appearance and allows for easy storage of child stuff.
Antique Cane Bentwood Baby High Chair
This child’s high chair has the perfect seat height and is made of wood. It is in a very good condition, and provides sufficient protection for the babies. Its tray has enough space to allow you to keep things for your children.
Antique 1934 Baby High Chair
Although not in a very good shape, this baby high chair dates back to 19th century. The wood high chair shows the wear and tear of time. However, it has the foot rest at the perfecting right position for a baby chair.
Antique Wood Baby High Chair
This vintage high chair stroller with the perfect height of tray and legs will definitely pique your attention. Make sure that the stroller chairs you get for your baby have wheels in excellent condition.
Antique Wicker Baby High Chair Stroller
This wicker chair folds present one of the best pieces of chairs you can choose for your children. It has a modern style while keeping the contemporary idea in mind. This high chair stroller presents an ideal tray height and space. The wheels are small, which might be a concern for some parents.
Vintage Wooden Bentwood High Chair with Cane Seat
Having a higher than usual tray, this wood high chair is made of bentwood, with a cane seat and back. There is a wide difference between the footrest and the tray, which might actually suit some children.
Vintage COSCO mid-century Antique Baby High Chair
This child’s high chair belongs to the mid-century and has the baby chair characteristics that you might be looking for. It has a comfortable seat, and is a different style than other counterparts.
Caned Barley Twist Oak Maker’s Tag Victorian Antique Baby High Chair
Made of antique oak, this chair does not have a tray but presents a wide base that prevents it from toppling over. Antique oak is definitely one of the best choices and might account for the high price of this baby chair. This is the reason why after many years, the original condition of this antique baby chair is still preserved. It has a cane seat, which makes it more attractive.
Antique White Wicker Child’s High Chair
This wicker chair is in a great condition, with an ideal tray height. The legs are also wide apart which makes it safe for the children. It has a caned seat in white which makes this baby chair a good choice according to your room. The details on the chair are super vivid.
Teak High Chair Designed by Nanna Ditzel
If you have a little room around, you can choose this smart baby chair for your child. It is easy to be kept with the dining table because it doesn’t have the separate tray that usually comes with the baby high chair. It is a minimal but sturdy design that lacks separate arms as well.
Mid-Century Dutch High Chair by Kibofa
This mid century high chair would definitely be a wrong choice for kids. It can be kept with tabletops, or as new items to your tea or coffee corner. Since they lack any tray and appropriately place footrest, you can’t use it for your babies.
Antique Thonet Bentwood and Wicker Caned Baby High Chair
This is another cane seat baby high chair, which doesn’t possess a tray, and might have to be kept in front of a table for a little grown up children. Its legs are wide apart, and have arms that are super thin. However, the idea of leaving your child unintended on this chair wouldn’t be a good one.
Antique Baby Rocking Chair
This is one of a kind rocking chair with the perfect tray height and excellent condition. Your child may love this style and enjoy his time while on this wood high chair. Despite many years of having it around, its original condition is still praised. The sturdy built with a comfortable footrest makes it a great choice for babies.
How Much is Your Antique Baby High Chair Worth and Where to Sell it?
There are a plethora of options available for baby high chairs made of wood, many of which have excellent workmanship and good condition. You should be able to locate at least a couple in stock at the antique store in your neighborhood.
Moreover, keeping in mind the shipping requirements is also important.
You can also look for them at estate sales, flea markets, and auctions. In addition to these local sources, you may also purchase antique wood high chairs from a number of different internet vendors, which offer them in pretty good condition.
There is a fantastic range of antique high chairs from every period available on eBay. Be careful to verify whether the chair can be delivered to your house before you place a bid on it. Check out all the shipping details that you can find online.
When considering the purchase or sale of such a huge item, it is also wise to investigate the cost of delivery options. It’s not easy to ship a heavy vintage high chair. You may want to come back at a later time in case you can’t discover the ideal antique baby high chair. There are always new goods being added to the listing.
High chairs are just one of the many types of antiques that can be found at RubyLane, which is a fantastic site to shop for practically any form of antique. You can also upload for sale any antique items on this site.
Even if the variety isn’t as extensive as what you’ll discover at other outlets, the salespeople often have extensive information about the history of the antique baby high chair as well as its current state.
Etsy is a marketplace for antique items as well as handcrafted and new items, and it includes a decent range of wooden high chairs from a variety of time periods. Shopping from etsy is easier because of the simple system that allows for easy sale and purchase of items.
Because the products that are for sale are updated on a regular basis, it is in your best interest to check back often if you are seeking a certain item and check their shipping details.
Craigslist is an excellent resource for locating antique high chairs since it has classified ad listings for practically all of the main urban locations as well as many rural places. The baby stroller chairs are heavy and shipping might be expensive. So, make sure you cover all aspects.
Search for postings that include photographs to assist you in determining whether or not it is worth your effort to follow up. Be sure to check back often in order to avoid missing out on the ideal chair.
Vatican is yet another site to sell or purchase antique wooden high chairs. It allows searching for antiques depending on their years of manufacture. You can apply filters to narrow down your search and find the perfect fit for your room. However, make sure that you have all the shipping details before you finally agree to ship it.
How Do You Clean An Old High Chair?
Store-bought or natural solutions may disinfect a high chair. Since your kid will be touching and placing their fingers in the high chair, use non-toxic disinfectants. Be cautious to use a wood-safe cleaner on antique or contemporary wooden high chairs.
Non-toxic disinfectant sprays and wipes are available to clean the baby’s high chair. You may also use mild soap and water to clean and air-dry the seat. Disinfect the chair’s tray, seat, foot rest, turned legs, tray arms, cushion, leather straps, and release or lock buttons.
Homemade disinfectants are also good for cleaning. A 1-to-1 vinegar-to-water ratio is super common as it kills bacteria without sticking. Alternatively, spray your high chair with hydrogen peroxide and wait 5 minutes. Wipe with a moist towel.
- Avoid immersing wooden or metal high chairs or their cushions in disinfectant
- Bleach damages antique wood and textiles
- Daily sanitize the tray
- Weekly, clean the high chair and seat
- Once a month, disassemble and clean the high chair’s cushions, straps, and crevices
Is there an expiration date on a wooden high chair?
The quick answer is yes, high chairs do become bad, just like any other product available for purchase. There is not, however, a specific expiry date printed on each antique wood high chair.
The guidelines for child safety have been revised, and if the child’s high chair no longer satisfies the criteria that have been set, the chair might expire and be unfit. The quality of the products is routinely examined and evaluated.
Contacting the manufacturer and asking them directly whether their child’s high chair satisfies those specifications is the only method to confirm this information.
Plastics may become brittle, antique wood can develop splinters and fractures, and metal components can begin to corrode, get worn down, or exhibit signs of metal fatigue.
There is a diverse range of aesthetics to be found in antique high chairs. If you’ve found one, it might be valued at anything from $40 to roughly $1,000 depending on its condition and rarity.
This antique, which was most likely crafted by hand from a variety of stunning woods, may be displayed as a piece of vintage decor in estate sales, flea markets, or put to its intended function, provided that you determine that it is safe for your kid to use.