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What is meant by the terms "country made" or "provincial" is just that the furniture in question was constructed in one of the more rural areas as opposed to the large centers of manufacture. This does not imply poorer construction, for the furniture was just as well constructed; but rather more simplified forms than were being made in Philadelphia, Baltimore or Newport. The differences can be compared with French Provincial, which was the more simplified forms of Louis XV and Louis XVI.
Country furniture often includes such items as butterfly tables, gateleg tables, simple pembroke tables, etc.
In those days, as at present, there were some customers who preferred less elaborate ornamentation, less carving and no inlay, as well as the correspondingly lower prices. Some splendid examples of antique furniture fall in this category: furniture which is more in keeping with today's casual living than the more elaborate specimens with their wealth of detail and imported woods.
Simplicity of line was paramount. Fancy grained woods were often used to substitute for carving and inlay. The woods most used were pine, maple, cherry, curly maple, apple, pear and birch.
Country furniture of the simplest kinds, made with hand tools, and of native woods (usually pine, maple and cherry) with plain hardware are generally called primitives.
These pieces are often quaint, some to the point of crudity.
The rocking chair is strictly an American innovation, our own Benjamin Franklin often being credited with the invention.
The first rocking chairs were made by adding rockers to regular chairs. This has been done often since, and there are usually a few converted chairs of this type around.
Rocking chairs have been made in many styles; the most popular was the Boston rocker which was made in quantity from the 1820's to 1890. This familiar chair is characterized by its rolled and scrolled seat, its wide top rail so often decorated, and its extreme comfort.