A Quick History Of The Rocking Chair
Benjamin Franklin has been credited with the invention of the rocking chair, but there are suggestions that rocking furniture has been around as far back as 1710, which means Franklin would have been around four years old, possibly rocking in one with his ma’, but certainly too young to be inventing anything.
Of all the ‘famous’ chairs that have become a part of pop culture in movies, literature and art, none set the stage as well as the humble rocking chair.
With its rocking motion, this simple piece of furniture is able to transform any space into an inviting spot to relax, contemplate life, have long conversations, and even fall in love.
The creaky to and fro of a rickety rocking chair can also create the necessary tension for a suspense movie, a western or even a horror.
American Shakers, a religious group that fled to the American colonies to escape persecution in 1774, were famous for their simple but beautifully designed furniture and in their quest for perfect proportions and sturdy functionality; they were the creators of the most beautiful rocking chairs on the market.
Rocking chairs have always been distinctly American from the start and a passion for patented furniture saw some quirky inventions and designs come about.
When British travellers arrived in the States in the 1830s, their communication to those back home often included comments about the rocking chair, and the Americans’ love for them.
The rather rigid Brits thought ever present piece of furniture was indulgent and obscene, and if there was any truth that they were used in mental institutions, then it would make sense for the Brits to conclude Americans were off their rockers!
Over the years rocking chairs have become common place in most homes. There is something about them that’s romantic and nostalgic.
They hark back to a time when life was simpler, slower, and people had time for the things that mattered.
A mother sitting in the nursery rocking her baby to sleep; a grandma rocking gently as her grandchildren sit at her feet, listening to her stories or a married couple, in their golden years, with a lifetime of memories behind them, rocking on the very chair they bought when they first moved into their home.
Time spent in a rocking chair is associated with love and care and research has even shown ‘rocking chair therapy’ releases endorphins which reduce pain and increase psychological wellness.
Patients with dementia and other mental health problems in the research group have benefited from the simple motion of rocking.
These days rocking chairs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are covered in a luxurious fabric or made from recycled materials and POLYWOOD to withstand the harshest weather conditions.
There are big ones, comfy ones for mom and baby and others that are bought simply as accent chairs.
Whatever the reason, wherever you plan to use it, if you take a little bit of time, do some research and read articles and reviews you’ll find the perfect rocking chair for you.
What To Look Out For When Buying a Rocking Chair
There are many aspects that you need to take into account before you go ahead and purchase a rocking chair, here are a few of them:
To Diy Or Not To Diy
Unlike some pieces of furniture, rocking chairs rarely come fully assembled. You are going to have to do a little DIY and you need to decide just how much time and energy you want to spend putting it together, or at least finding someone who will happily do it for you, if you’re DIY-impaired.
Check whether the chair includes all the necessary tools you will need to assemble it or if you’re going to make a quick trip to the hardware store.
This isn’t a big deal, but if you’re anything like me, you want instant gratification and waiting to put it together will just cause unnecessary frustration.
Be sure to hang onto the manual and any other papers included in the box. These could be anything from the warranty to the general care of the chair as well as the contact details of the supplier, should any issues arise in the future.
Choosing Your Chair
Rocking chairs have come a long way and it’s no longer a case of choosing between a wood or upholstered piece. Current styles include:
Traditional Rocking Chairs – the classic, traditional rocking chair design of two curved bows of wood attached to either side of the bottom legs of the chair structure is the style and shape most people know.
Platform Rockers – platform rocking chairs operate from a stable platform, meaning that the base or legs of the chair remain stationary on the floor while the back and seat glide or rock backwards and forwards.
Gliders – a glider chair is another modern design that operates from a stable base with a seat and back that move smoothly back and forth rather than in a gentle arc.
Outdoor Rocking Chairs – there is nothing more relaxing than spending time outdoors on a rocking chair in the fresh air and sunshine. A quick session will have you convinced enough to purchase your very first outdoor rocking chair.
Besides the style you will need to decide how and where you want to use it, if you want it in wood or steel, is it going to be used indoors or is it for the patio.
Don’t overlook any details. They might seem insignificant in the beginning, but it could save you time, money and a whole of frustration.
To summarize quickly, think about the color, carefully. Secondly make sure it’s safe enough should there be any children in the house and check the load capacity. Last but not least, your rocking chair should be versatile enough to suit any room in your house, and preferably grow with your family.
The Great Outdoors
If you, like me, always thought rocking chairs were for inside use only you’d be sorely mistaken. With families spending more time at home and outdoors, rocking chairs are becoming a popular alternative to patio and swing sets, and there are more than enough designs for you to choose from and available in different weatherproof materials.
Whether it’s poolside or on the patio, outdoor rocking chairs are one of my favorite life hacks at the moment.
If you’re thinking about purchasing an outdoor rocking chair, consider the following few factors.
Outdoor rocking chairs need to be ‘tougher’ than one that is going to be indoors. Stay away from pressboard and plywood.
Both of these woods splinter and fall apart quickly, which isn’t only a waste of money but could be a safety issue with little ones or older people. Instead look out for chairs made from hardwood, like oak and acacia.
Unlike indoor wood furniture you need to treat your outdoor chairs, either with enamel paint or a weather-proof varnish.
Another option to protect your outdoor rocking chairs from the elements is with a waterproof and sun-resistant cover.
You can buy these from a store or have them custom made, depending on the size and style of your chair.
Depending on where you live you might need to include insect-resistant treatments but some wood, like cedar and acacia are natural insect repellents, which is one of the reasons they’re good for outdoor furniture.
Our Top Black Rocking Chair Picks
Sunny Designs Sedona Rocker with Black Seat and Back, Rustic Oak Finish
Sunny Designs has been manufacturing rocking chairs since 1980 and their commitment to quality and customer service has remained the same.
The Sedona Rocker with its black seat and back with its rustic oak finish is the perfect combination of modern and classic.
The leather-like vinyl cushion and back make this black rocking chair versatile and durable and the rustic finish is suited to a cabin in the woods or a home in suburbs.
Amazon gives it a rockin’ 4.8 out of 5 stars, with customers commenting on the easy assembly, the solid frame and the durability.
Other feedback includes the high back, which according to some buyers, allows you to rest your head against it and makes for a more comfortable chair.
POLYWOOD J147BL Jefferson Rocker
This traditional black rocking chair has a look of sophistication with a hint of contemporary because of the unique details.
Made in the USA the POLYWOOD Jefferson Rocker is made of solid recycled lumber and it comes with a 20-year warranty.
The POLYWOOD gives the black rocking chair a wood-like look but without all the upkeep. The chair won’t splinter, crack, chip, peel or rot and it’s resistant to corrosive substances, insects, fungi and salt spray.
Amazon gives it a rockin’ 4.6 out of 5 stars and customers are extremely happy with their purchase in terms of price, quality and the easy assembly.
One customer referred to it as ‘forever furniture’ and others say it’s perfect for indoors or outside, in the garden or on the patio.
Amish Heavy Duty 600 Lb Roll Back Pressure Treated Rocking Chair
The Amish Heavy Duty 600 Lb Roll Back Pressure Treated black rocking chair is made from #1 kiln-dried pressure treated pine, giving it commercial quality durability.
The rollback is ergonomically designed and follows the lines of your body, providing you with a comfortable seating option.
Proudly made in the USA the roll back pressure treated black rocking chair is perfect for resorts and condos.
Amazon gives it a rockin’ 4.6 out of 5 stars and we had to share this review with you:
“Got this for my dad as a birthday gift. He is a crotchety old dude, so he’s a tough critic. He called today and said he absolutely loves it, so there you go…”
Now if that’s not a great endorsement, we’re not sure what is.
Bellezza© Zero Gravity Orbital Lounger Rocking Chair
As far as black outdoor rocking chairs go, this is possibly one of the most stylish we’ve seen in a long time.
Clearly for use around a pool or to relax in the sun, the PVC fabric is fade and weather resistant. The adjustable headrest allows you to move the pillow up or down, providing extra comfort and support.
As the name indicates, the Bellezza© Zero Gravity Orbital Lounger’s design gives you a feeling of being weightless. Think of it as a flotation pool without getting wet.
Amazon’s ratings are high for the Bellezza© Zero Gravity Orbital Lounger Rocking Chair, with a solid 4.4 out of 5 stars.
The score is probably affected by the assembly, with a few people mentioning it’s a little harder than expected but not one faults the chair on its comfort and durability.
Rattan Rocking Chair with Breathable Headrest & Wood Grain Painted Arm
Another favorite of our black outdoor rocking chairs is the Grand Patio Rattan rocker. The lightweight and rust free aluminum frame is the reason the rattan rocking chair is perfect for outdoors, in all weather conditions.
The easy to assemble chair has a frame that can support up to 280 lbs and is virtually maintenance free. Cleaning is also super easy, using only a hose and a mild cleanser.
The general consensus is that it’s very comfortable, well designed and durable and the price is as attractive as the design.
However, looking at the reviews on Amazon, there is some feedback with regards to the assembly, from poor instructions to it being fairly difficult to put together. It gets 4.6 stars out of 5 on Amazon.
Semco Recycled Plastic Rocking Chair
Semco’s black outdoor rocking chairs are made entirely from recycled materials. The eco-friendly chair is scratch and stain resistant and has loads of seat space.
The Semco Recycled Plastic Rocking Chair is built to withstand all weather conditions as well as everyday wear and tear and because of this it’s a popular choice on Amazon, scoring 4.6 out of a possible 5 with over 300 reviews. It would seem that green is indeed the new black!