George Jacob Hunzinger (German, 1835-1898, active in New York from c. 1869-1880)1869

Royal Ontario Museum

Royal Ontario Museum

George Jacob Hunzinger (1835-1898) was one of many German-born furniture-makers who settled in New York City in the middle decades of the nineteenth century. He achieved considerable success in this community; by 1872 he was employing over fifty craftsmen. He worked in the fashionable Greek-revival and Renaissance-revival styles, producing seating furniture and small tables that he sold primarily to the middle-class market. Hunzinger was one of the most innovative furniture-makers of his era. Many examples of his work incorporated design elements that capitalized on the aesthetic possibilities of machine production, as well as the use of interchangeable components. He was successful in securing 21 patents for his chair, bed and table designs. This chair incorporates a structural innovation that Hunzinger patented in 1869 (patent No. 88,297). In place of the more usual straight front legs, Hunzinger devised diagonal side braces that join the arms and the sides of the seat frame and continue to form the front legs. The front legs are joined by a turned stretcher from which upright braces support the front of the seat. Hunzinger claimed that together these structural elements made the chair design more sturdy and stable. While the button-tufted upholstery and Eastlake-style carved decoration are typical of much late nineteenth century seating furniture, the chair also embodies the latest in furniture-making technology of its period.

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  • Title: Armchair
  • Creator: George Jacob Hunzinger (German, 1835-1898, active in New York from c. 1869-1880)
  • Date: 1869
  • Location: New York, USA
  • Physical Dimensions: w71 x h118 cm
  • Provenance: Gift of Ronal McRae
  • Type: Furniture
  • Rights: Royal Ontario Museum
  • Medium: Ebonized wood with incised and gilded details and a medallion of rosewood veneer
  • Length: 69
  • Accession Number: 970.310.B


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