Though I have been actively building campaign furniture for 17 months for a forthcoming book, I felt like I was treading water – until yesterday.
I got my hands on a copy of the 1907 “Annual Price List” of The Army and Navy Co-operative Society. This incredible 1,284-page book is an illustrated compendium of all the objects sold by the co-operative to its members. In the catalog is a nice section on campaign furniture, plus some other sections that are relevant to my research.
The book cost more than my first pick-up truck, but it was well worth the price and the wait for it to arrive from England.
This book shows the breadth of portable furniture available to officers, colonists, students and urbanites at the turn of the last century. It is so staggering, it makes you want to pick up the telephone and ring them at Westminster No. 69 to order some hard goods.
I’ll be reproducing at least a hundred drawings from this book to illustrate the ingenuity and scope of this neglected style.
One of the first surprises in the book was a form of “Improved Roorkhee” chair called the Bartlett Chair. It has all the hallmarks of the standard Roorkhee – plus extendable rests for your feet, like the classic planter’s chair.
Also of note (to me) are the odd-shaped turnings shown on the standard Roorkhee. The top and bottom of each leg look more like a sphere that any Roorkhee chair I’ve seen. The drawings of the turnings of the improved Roorkhee looks more like the ones I’ve seen in the wild.
But, as Joseph Moxon knows, you can’t always trust an illustrator to draw wooden objects perfectly.
Lastly of note: These chairs were available in ash. I’ll have to make some in ash before all our country’s ash is lost to the Emerald Ash Borer.
Enough yackity yack. I’ve got to get back to scanning this book (each page takes 20 minutes) and editing chapter 14 of A.J. Roubo.
— Christopher Schwarz
18 thoughts on “The Roorkhee Chair – and the Improved Roorkhee”
Better hurry with the ash. I just lost three 40+ year old ash trees this past summer.
How exactly do the leg rests work? Are they for only one leg if you were sitting with your legs crossed or do you just throw both of them up there lounge? Can’t imagine either being very comfortable or substantial.
They work. I’ve sat on several chairs. I wouldn’t do it with a miniskirt on….
I don’t think I would ever want to see you do it with a miniskirt on!
Miniskirts: The redneck kilt.
I am glad that ash can be used correctly, now I have a reason for felling some ash trees.
Very interesting stuff Chris! Looking forward to hearing more.
Good grief. Did the top-of-the-line model come with hardwood examination stirrups?
What that chair needs to achieve perfection is a cup holder.
And a place to hang my tube top.
Well that’s a given. (I wonder if I still have that picture…)
It would make a good T-shirt. And maybe you could make enough money to quit that pesky day job.
OK, I’m dense – how did those leg rests work?
I and my neighbor have Ash trees in our front yard. I just recently had my arborist in to trim some bushes and asked him about the threat around my area. I asked him if I should take mine down. He said it shouldn’t be a problem, the trees should be fine. I see someone above posted that they lost some, so someones getting hit, but I guess so far, no one in my area is panicking.
Where are you located? You can download maps that show where the infestations are:
From personal experience in Ohio, I can say that there is hardly an ash tree left alive in the Toledo area, but where I am (Athens County), we are unaffected (yet).
A chair for field-gynecology? I did not realize the Brits were so progressive as to have female soldiers at the turn of the last century.
Those leg rests look like they’d snap right off if you put any amount of weight on them.
Also known as a ‘Drunken Lord’s chair’ in Imperial China, I suspect the idea (swing out leg rests)travelled with the British to India (as the ‘Planter’s Chair’) and then to the Army. In Australia something like a cross between an Andirondack chair and the Drunken Lord’s chair is known as a Squatter’s Chair – I think the name here comes from the 20th Century ‘antiques’ market rather than being in any way original.
Comments are closed.