Simple, so-called “stick chairs,” were developed around 1710 in England. No one really knows who was the original designer. These chairs were and still are admired for their lightness, strength and comfort. Typical features included a solid seat carved into which back spindles and turned legs were doweled. The legs splay outward and the back reclines slightly.
American craftsmen, especially around Philadelphia, perfected the design by removing the chair’s central back splat and developing other refinements. Among the best known were Philadelphia cabinetmakers Francis Trumble, Joseph Henzey and Thomas Gilpin.
Windsor chairs, frequently called Philadelphia chairs” were soon being manufactured throughout New England and New York and in various styles – high-back, low-back, fan-back, bow-back, hoop-back or sack-back and brace-back armchairs, side chairs and rockers. American makers typically used pine or poplar for the seats and maple for the spindles. The chairs were stained or painted. Popular colors included black, green and red–which helped to disguise the mix of woods.