The Adirondack region is a vast unique wilderness that people visit to experience the centuries-old tradition of outdoor exploration and adventure. Whether you come to hike and breathe the clean mountain air, explore the lakes region or take in the many small villages each with their own unique flare you may notice a common distinctly identifiable item… Distinct Adirondack Furniture.
The story of how this iconic centuries old design came about is true Americana.
The history of the iconic Adirondack chair began with the first design by Thomas Lee in 1903 at the large summer retreat he and his family frequented each summer, a large camp located in Westport, New York, on the banks of Lake Champlain. Lee was a tinkerer. He sought to create outdoor furniture for him and his family for their retreat that was rugged yet comfortable.
All summer long he worked on the design, adjusting the angles, using his family members as his test until he was satisfied. Lee arrived at a design known as the “Westport plank chair”. It doesn’t appear that he had any intention to manufacture the design. At this point they were nothing more than homemade family chairs.
Enter Harry Bunnell a carpenter friend and hunting companion to Lee. As the legend goes, while hunting together in the Autumn of 1903 Bunnell mention that he was in need of winter income. Lee’s (condensed) reply – “Why don’t you make and sell some of those big chairs?” So Lee offered up his design to Bunnell probably thinking he had helped solve his friends’ winter income dilemma. Bunnell began building his version of Lee’s chairs out of hemlock or basswood and staining them in green or medium dark brown. The residents and visitors of Westport fell in love with the design so much that Bunnell was challenged to keep pace with the demand. In early 1904 (minus Lee’s permission) Bunnell filed for a patent (No. 794,777) on “his” chair design naming it the Westport Plank Chair.
Cliff Pierce poses at his wrought iron factory in the 80’s in Upstate New York.
Flash forward sixty years to another tinkerer, a fast-rising businessman Cliff Pierce from Walden, New York.
Pierce had made his way into the Lake George area, through a unique opportunity to purchase a portion of an unkempt lakefront neighborhood for a bargain price. Continue Reading…
This Month’s FREE Raffle Giveaway…
Youth Adirondack Chair
How do you plan on spending spring with your kids (or the kids in your life)?
As springtime comes closer we take a look towards the outdoors and the furniture we’ll use in the joy of the warmer seasons ahead. For our month of March Giveaway we’re offering our Youth Adirondack Chair FREE. The Youth Adirondack Chair is a kid’s variation (ideal for ages 3 to 8) of Manchester Wood’s Adirondack Folding Chairs.
Our Adirondack Folding Chairs are made from solid hardwood and have a very durable exterior acrylic finish. The hardware is rust-resistant to ensure easy folding for storage during winter months. These chairs are designed to last generations. Handcrafted and entirely made in the USA in the Adirondack foothills of New York.
To enter the raffle drawing for a FREE Youth Adirondack Chair email us (firstname.lastname@example.org), mention us on Twitter (@manchesterwood), or write on our Facebook wall (facebook.com/ManchesterWood) how you plan on spending spring with your kids (or the kids in your life).
The winner will be drawn at the end of the month!
Ed & Priscilla Eriksen
Manchester Wood: American Made Furniture
To view our online catalog, visit ManchesterWood.com
We were delighted to find Oprah enjoying the Adirondack chair we make right here in Upstate New York for L.L. Bean.
If you’ve followed our blog at all, you know how much we love to tell the story of how our folding Adirondack chair was started with L.L. Bean (read The Legacy of the Adirondack Chair and the Rebirth in Local Family Business).
Whenever anyone features our product like this, whether as L.L. Bean, Manchester Wood, or any other company we make products for, we feel truly grateful. It provides us with acknowledgement and praise, something to tack up on the wall in the mill for all of us to get behind.
On behalf of Manchester Wood, we want to thank Oprah, L.L. Bean, and whomever else was involved in making this happen. We have many great catalog covers around our office featuring our products, and I’m sure this one will make its way as one of them.
To our customers, thank you for supporting quality, American made furniture. We enjoy everyday making products for you that are both beautiful and long lasting.