Above all, avoid rushing.
"Is that Shaker style?" we are occasionally asked when presenting our rocking chairs. Not quite, but it's similar. But what exactly is Shaker design?
This is best understood by delving into the history of the Shakers. The Shakers emerged in the 18th century in England around Ann Lee, branching off from the Quakers. The Shakers became known for their whirling and shaking during religious experiences. Often persecuted for their behavior, Ann Lee emigrated to America in 1774 with eight followers and founded the first Shaker settlement. After initial challenging years, she gained more followers in the northern states of America, leading to the establishment of additional Shaker colonies. Over time, the Shaker principles formed: equality, humility, confession, and faith. Outside the community house and worship, there was peace and order, with each Shaker devoted to the well-being of the community.
Shaker furniture is considered true craftsmanship. Aligned with their philosophy, the furniture was made simple - without ornate details or decorations. However, they were created with perfection and the utmost care. In Shaker museums (such as Hancock Shaker Village in Massachusetts), one can admire rocking chairs, cabinets, dressers, and the extraordinary oval pantry boxes with their dovetail joints.
The Shakers' lifestyle, celibacy, and chastity had a negative impact on their continuation. The last Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake in New Gloucester, Maine, has eight members, and their museum welcomes visitors. There, a small number of Shaker originals like pantry boxes and wool can be purchased. This also explains why Shaker originals fetch a proud price in antique stores. New Shaker furniture, on the other hand, consists of reproductions crafted in the Shaker style from around the world.