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.
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